Pages of Life — Yesterday a baby… today a little man

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

Little Torin, our next-door neighbor, wasn't a bit nervous to begin his first day at South Callaway School. He seemed eager and ready. He already knows his ABC's, and can count, so there he stood, with no hesitation, ready with his backpack, preschool bound.

I'm not as sure about his mama Reese. She seemed to have many emotions. I said, "your baby is a big boy now." She said, "I know". Not knowing whether to smile or cry. Proud to see him take another step, but it makes a mama emotional as well, to see her baby growing so fast, as it always seems.

So many things seem to happen so fast. Torin recently got his first haircut. He had wanted his hair longer like his dad's Ryan's is. Then he decided he wanted his hair cut like his friend Dunkin, but he is now saying he wants it to grow like his dads again. Big decisions for a 4-year-old.

I thought... he couldn't be going to school, he's a baby! Then I remembered I started school in the first grade at the age of 5. I walked to our little one room country school. Herring school which was South of Fulton at the end of NN road. Times were sure different then.

Jumping ahead in thoughts I remember our first son Daniel's first day of school. He wasn't used to leaving home without Daddy and Mommy. I was a stay-at-home mama. I remember it like it was yesterday. We lived in the country and as he stood outside waiting for the bus like a little man. He was such a soft spoken, polite, little boy. I never knew then that he was feeling as emotional as I was.

He smiled and waved as the big old yellow school bus was taking him away. His brother Randy who is a year younger than Daniel, and I waved back. I prayed our baby boy would be treated well.

When he returned home that evening, he told me, "Mama my stomach was so scared that I thought I might cry." I understand, I told him. I felt the same way.

Now that same little boy, Daniel, has 3 grandchildren beginning Preschool this year. His only granddaughter, Lydia, and twin Grandsons, Dawson, and Rowan. These days kids go to preschool, we just went, after age 5, to first grade.

I have to say, I feel a bit sorry for the kids now days, not getting to share the experiences of school as we did, in those one room country school days. Everyone was like family, and most actually were. David and I talk about those times a lot. All treasured memories.

Those my age can remember how their schools looked. Although my husband David and I lived miles apart, he lived in Montgomery County, and me here in Callaway, we share the same memories. And our schools looked the same.

They had no more than 30 little desks in 1 big room, with a large desk in front for the teacher. Blackboards were on the wall behind her, also a map where you could pull down and look at different parts of the world.

Every morning we all stool with our hand on our heart and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and someone would raise the flag. Inside we would all say the 23rd Psalm together. My husband David and I both remember the words from our 8 years of saying them.

We both looked forward to going to school. Our days were full of fun and adventure. Somedays weather permitting we would go on nature hikes or even take our study books out and have class under the trees. And we all walked to school, so we shared many good memories from that. Neither one of us recall ever taking a book home. We got our work done there and home was our free time.

There was the big stove where we would sometimes each bring a fruit jar of vegetables from home and the teacher would put them together in a big pot so we could have soup for 'dinner', as we country people called it.

Otherwise, we all brought our lunch boxes to school and set them up on the shelf until noon. Sometimes I catch a smell somewhere that takes me back to those days.

David and I seem to have something to talk about from our school days every time we are on our rides. He loved his teachers, as I did too.

Hardly a day passes that he doesn't speak about Miss Penn. I wonder if she has family around here. I wish I could tell her how she influenced a shy little boy years ago. She taught him music; she would bring instruments to school and knew how to play each one. She taught him about all the stars and planets, and wildlife as well. He still receives the Missouri Conservationist Magazine that she signed him up to receive 75 years ago.

I know David and I could write a book about our school back then. And I know those our age could relate to and enjoy the memories they may have forgotten. I wish I could talk more about that, but it would be a book!

So much has changed since David and I went to school. I only hope Little Torin and our great grandchildren can make happy memories as well, about their school days.