Back To School: A Tale of Old by Darlene Beck jacobson

 In keeping with our September theme of favorite teachers and funny stories about school, and because historical fiction is one of my genres, I thought I'd take you on a trip in the time machine. Back to the days of my own school beginnings. 

Growing up during the depression, my mom, like many of her generation, saved everything. When I say  everything, I mean, she even saved my report cards! Here's the one from Kindergarten 1957-58:

Before you pass judgement on my appalling attendance (I was mom's first born and every time I had a sniffle or suspicious ailment, she kept me home. YES... I was sick a lot). Notice instead the things we got graded on.

- using a hanky properly

- keeping ones hands to oneself

- taking responsibility

- speaking clearly in a pleasing voice

- obeying quickly and cheerfully

- enjoying stories, books, and poetry

- working and playing well with others

Of course life was a lot less complicated then. But doesn't it seem that these simple actions still have value? I will leave it up to you to decide whether or not these "old-fashioned" values have any use in today's world. Maybe we don't have time to teach such mundane things anymore. Too many other things are far more important. 

Some things were scary for kids back then as they can sometimes be today.




"Duck and Cover" drills were a part of everyday life thanks to the COLD WAR. Stocking up on basics in case...of what? I remember being scared every time the air raid siren went off (practice drills). Wondering if this was when the bomb would drop. 

Hardly simple and no less scary than the active shooter drills school kids face today.

We worried about whether or not we should have our kids vaccinated (against polio instead of Covid).

It's tempting to think things were better back in the "good old days". Things were different; but we have always faced uncertainty, scary threats from unknown sources, and constant change. 

 In the old days, learning to read and write was taught with the help of Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, and Puff, the Scott Forsman Readers that taught my generation how to be literate. Books were portals to untold adventures then and they are the same now, providing not only education, enlighentment, but also comfort and reassurance that we are not alone in our fears or anxieties.


While much about school has changed, for many kids it is still a welcome and nurturing place where they can learn all the basics...and maybe some of the other stuff too.

For me, school was a safe and caring place to be. I hope that it is for today's generation of children.

 May the blessings of a new school year be with you all!

Darlene Beck Jacobson learned to like school so much, she became a teacher. Now retired, she still gets excited wandering around Staples or Target, looking for back to School supplies. 


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