Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Elementary School Memories

It’s time for some more fun with Randy Seaver and his weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge on Genea-Musings.

I like this one because I absolutely loved my elementary school.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music):

1)  What elementary school memories do you have?  Share some of them – pick a year, or discuss the whole experience.  Was this one of the best times in your life?  Or not?

Roosevelt #10 School

I have so many fun memories of Theodore Roosevelt #10 School in Passaic, New Jersey. It so happens that my dad went to the same school and there were a couple of teachers still there who remembered him!

My earliest memory in May 1957 when Mom and I walked (like a big girl) the four blocks from home to register me for September kindergarten. Registration, and my first classroom, was held in the first floor right corner.

The room was double sized, so both sets of windows were in the same classroom.

I remember both Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Teninbaum sitting at the desk asking me questions like my birth date, address and phone number, all of which I proudly knew. When they asked if I had any brothers or sisters, I told them my brother was going to be born that summer! (Yes, I did have a little brother.)

I’m sure my eyes were agog at the classroom and incoming students were allowed to check out the cloak room, sitting area and the huge play area with all kinds of toys.

In first grade, Mrs. Fine, a first year teacher, had us hand stitch Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls, which we stuffed with cotton. The dolls disappeared for a long enough time that we probably forgot about them and then magically appeared with faces that had been oil painted on.

The excitement in second grade was Miss Gatto getting engaged – I think my mom told me about it after she read the announcement in the newspapers – and she became Mrs. Ferraro.

Mrs. Bremer spent the first two weeks of third grade with us and then one day when we returned from lunch, she was crying. It seems enrollment issues meant she had to transfer to another school and Mrs. Gootman came to be our teacher for the rest of the year.

We got to make hula skirts and leis out of crepe paper and danced to celebrate our new state that year – Hawaii.

Miss Guttman was our teacher in fourth grade, but what I remember most was that, as 4th graders, we were old enough to have Gym every week with Mr. Zurichin. #10 School was fortunate to have a two-story separate gym building that connected to the main school via an enclosed walkway that was accessed from the second floor.

Fifth grade with Mrs. Wallace brought a class play celebrating George Washington’s birthday. I was a sentry during the American Revolution. Mrs. Wallace will also be forever remembered for her manners books. She had a shelf of them in the back of the classroom. Whenever she had to speak to anyone for talking out of turn, not paying attention or not working when we were supposed to be, she assigned a fixed number of pages that had to be hand copied onto writing paper and turned in. The pages were usually assigned in lots of 10, 20, 30 etc. pages.

There was a class monitor job whose duty it was to record in a notebook how many times each student was assigned manners pages. I think I only had to do it once, but there was a boy named John who I think spent more of fifth grade copying those books that he did doing classwork. In fact, I don’t think he even had time to get classwork done!

Sixth grade was one of my favorite grades, but also the saddest. I really, really wanted to be in Mrs. Wachs’ class because I had heard so many great things about her. I was assigned to her class and loved it. However, my parents finally found a house they wanted to buy outside of Passaic and 6 December 1963 was my last day at #10 School. I was not a happy camper at all.

In addition to some of the memories I’ve shared, I remember fun times jumping double Dutch jump rope on the playground in between the morning and afternoon sessions, walking with my friends to and from school, twice a day because there was no cafeteria at school, heading to the basement for the Cold War air raid drills when we all sat and ducked down our heads until the all clear signal and the milk and graham crackers that were served as nutrition time snacks in the primary grades.

#10 School is still standing. Although it changed from K-6 to K-4 for a number of years. Today, my old school building still houses K-4, while the upper grades attend what used to be Holy Trinity K-8 Catholic school, which is a block almost due west of #10 and is now called the #10 School Annex.

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge!


2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Elementary School Memories”

  1. What wonderful and very detailed memories you have of your school. I always wanted to attend a multi-storied school building with inside halls. It wasn’t until college that my wish came true.

  2. You have such detailed memories of all your years in elementary school, and most of them happy ones. How wonderful that you remember so much, and even better that you have written them down now.

    Something I don’t understand is the #10 designation. Did the distrct numbers all of its schools?

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