Tender Teacher

Sharing stories about my personal and professional life as a teacher.

Archive for August 2010

The Forties: Neighborhood Stores

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Corner grocery store, Pensacola, Florida.

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Our family never owned a car.  Most people really didn’t NEED a car in our neighborhood.  Mom walked to work at the drugstore, and dad got a ride with his boss to the lumberyard where he graded lumber.  AND within two blocks of our home there were four grocery stores, Tilton’s,  Morris’, Apple’s, and Wilhelm’s, and one newsstand, Jackson’s.  People stood around in the grocery stores and talked for a bit.  So, besides providing access to food stores were for socializing, too.  I liked to eavesdrop, while I took my time to choose penny candy from the candy case.

I learned to “remember” by going to the store for mom.  She would send me to the store for milk, and I would come home with bread.  She’d send me for sausage, and I’d get hamburger.  It was frustrating for her, because I would also forget to hurry home, and then to boot, I’d arrive home with the wrong thing.  Her frustration led to my learning to “keep my mind on what I was doing”, but it didn’t happen over night.

The little old ladies and gents were always sitting on their porches, and would usually invite me to talk with them.  Mr. and Miss McDermott, brother and sister, who lived near Tilton’s Store, would always want me to sit between them (so they could both sit beside me) on their swing.  It was so cozy and they’d really listen to everything I had to say.  I sure wish I had a recording of even just one of those conversations.  Mrs. Bear who lived on the way to Morris’ Store gave me a barrette for my hair one day.  She had made many comments about my beautiful straight black hair, that hung down in my eyes.  I loved that barrette.

Some days I’d make two or three trips to the store for groceries, and occasionally mom would give me a few pennies, and I’d take my little brother and sister to the store for penny candy, and then we would go to the playground on Flander’s Field.  It was good exercise, socialization, and I learned to count change before I started to school.  By the way, Morris’ Store had the best price for candy, and Jackson’s Newsstand had comic books for ten cents each.  Jackson’s was the only store open on Sunday.

Mutt and Jeff as reprinted in All-American Com...

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Written by kjskjp

August 31, 2010 at 3:27 pm

First Story of the Forties

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Clothespin in place. Oregon, USA

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Kids were skinny, by today’s standards, in the forties.  It was no wonder.  Most of the time they got up at dawn, ate a bowl of cornflakes and milk, or oatmeal, and then they were sent outside to play, and the screen door was often hooked behind them.  “Don’t go any farther than my voice”, moms would say.  This meant “If I call you you had better come home promptly!”   Don’t go in anyone’s house, and STAY OUT OF TROUBLE.

We were pretty safe out there in the real world.  Many of the front porches were graced by little old ladies sitting in their porch swings, who would call your mother in a minute if they saw anything suspicious going on.  Some moms sat out there talking with neighbors, while working on a basket of mending.  And of course, on Monday everyone was hanging out laundry, or taking it down, folding it , and putting it in the big wicker laundry baskets.  OH yes, and there were those sneaky, nosy ones peeking out their windows from behind their curtains, watching our every move.  NOPE you couldn’t get away with much, if anything!  We knew who to stay away from, like Bugs Callahan, who looked up little girls dresses every chance he got, and Dink Pitts, who was drunk most of the time, and sat in his swing and sang while his dog, Buster, howled along with him.

So, we played, and played, and usually got along with each other.  The older kids made sure the younger ones were safe by watching out for them, and the younger kids respected the older kids.  It was expected of them.  And we knew everyone, and about everyone.  If someone new moved into the neighborhood, they were a curiosity, and were suspect until proven otherwise.  Parents sat on the newcomer’s front porch hours at a time “getting to know” them.

OH NO, things weren’t perfect.  When we were allowed “inside” for lunch often times it was a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Soup, and a half a sandwich, because “That’s all there is,” or “That’s all you need.”  However, we ran and played ourselves skinny, and healthy.  It was glorious fun!

Written by kjskjp

August 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm

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School has begun, or is about to.

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Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.

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Excitement is in the air whether you are a mother, a father, a new student, a teacher, or a former student!  That’s probably about everyone.  I bet when you went to your favorite store you bought something new from the school supplies department.  Didn’t it feel good?

Don’t forget those nutritious lunch snacks!  They are fun, and something to look forward to at school.  OH, and the after school treats, low calorie, but they are special for boys and girls with good school reports.  This is just the beginning of making school enjoyable.

Written by kjskjp

August 28, 2010 at 5:46 am

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