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Monday, November 14, 2011

Memories From Oviedo Grammar School

In Oviedo, Florida I attended grades 1-4.  Several memories from then include a mysterious swamp not far from school.  There was a secluded pond there with water hyacinths so thick a child my age could walk on them—and a few of my friends and I did, surely a thing which would have been considered dangerous by our parents.  On another occasion on the school grounds a man killed a rattle snake.  One afternoon I attended a movie in the school auditorium—of course not air conditioned.  The monochrome movie pictured a few men who survived after a plane crash on a small raft the middle of the ocean.  I got seasick watching the movie and in the hot, crowded auditorium projectile vomited at my seat.  Once during recreation, I found a gold watch on the ground.  I exclaimed, “Look what I found.”  That afternoon we were waiting outside on the sidewalk for final dismissal for the day.  Someone who had seen me find it exclaimed to the teacher that I had found a watch.  The teacher had me reluctantly produce it and turn it in to lost and found.  The owner of the watch was identified—a boy a few years older than me.  He gave me an undeserved reward—a sundae at the local drug store.  When we kids were just learning to spell, a teacher challenged us to come up with longer words.  I learned to spell “banana” and “bicycle” (practicing over breakfast at home) an accomplishment of which I was immensely proud.  I learned my first lesson that authority could be wrong in the first grade.  I wore that day a white dress shirt.  The class was a scene of bustling activity as we prepared for an outdoor May Day celebration.  The teacher was preparing a poster on which she applied light green colored chalk.  She accidently brushed the poster against my white shirt which immediately showed the transferred chalk.  In exasperation she blamed me.  On some evenings I saw adults go crazy at high school basketball games (all grades attended one school).  It made a lasting impression on me that adults could give over to passionate, boisterous enthusiasm.  These school memories constitute only a few of the lasting assets I obtained while living in Oviedo.   

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