Friday, September 5, 2008

The ultimate school day seasoned with comfort food

When I was in elementary school, I lived close enough to the school that I could walk home for lunch. I think it usually took me about ten to fifteen minutes to get home. I'm not sure if this was special treatment. I can't imagine any elementary school would allow that today. We must have had an extra long lunch period. I remember my teacher was never too concerned when I strolled in a little late.

The school had suggested that I skip 5th grade, but my parents felt it would be too hard on me socially... since I was one of the youngest in the class . This wouldn't have been the case... since I never had much in common with most of the girls that age anyway. As a result, I think the school gave me a free pass on regular work. I don't remember ever sitting at my desk doing regular class work. I do remember going through all the colored-coded SRA cards in the boxes while the other kids were working on something else. It was a self-paced color-coded program for all different subjects and I LOVED it. I was allowed to do this whenever I wanted to and I quickly finished the entire system.

I remember spending most of the upper elementary school years helping my teacher grade papers, decorating bulletin boards, assisting in the Kindergarten class, working in the library and participating in lots of art projects. I even helped test a new learning system. It was so exciting because it was station based...and that was new back then.

I remember the librarian telling me what an honor it was to be able to help her in the library . She made me feel so special. I was so proud. She taught me the Dewey Decimal System, introduced me to cool books and let me borrow all the new titles before the other kids did. I listened to her read a little bit of A Wrinkle In Time each week to the younger classes as I put the books away. She nurtured my love of reading and books.

I would spend an hour plus each day doing embroidery on drapes for the Principal's office. Those drapes were covered in amazing, colorful embroidered flowers. I remember they hung in the windows long after I left the school. The art teacher always gave me a fudge Popsicle after our sewing session in the teacher's lounge. During that project, she taught me all the stitches. I remember her commenting how I was really good at french knots.

I doubt any public elementary school would allow this kind of school day, but it was exactly what I needed. I'm so thankful that I wasn't forced to sit at my desk ...bored out of mind because of "procedures." When I think about it now, I realize these teachers went out of their way to create opportunity for me. What a gift they gave me!

So, everyday ...mid-day... I got to go home for lunch.

One of my favorite lunches that my mom would have waiting for me was...Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

It wasn't until many years later that I added a little twist..

I dip my grilled cheese in Worcestershire Sauce...yum.

Every time I bite into this warm melted masterpiece, I'm that elementary school kid again...sitting at my kitchen table...home for lunch.

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