Monday, February 20, 2012


Remembering scents of chalk and chewing gum and the grind of #2 Ticonderogas, the deep, almost-noon odors of snap beans and cornbread and long-boiled macaroni coming from the lunchroom, mingled with the rubber-crumb coffee-ground stuff they sprinkled down to sweep the floors, and the nearer waxy-sweet smell of Crayolas, on February mornings of Ago.   And when the teacher passed around the vinegary, iodiney  flaps of white paper with their purplish-outlined images---Heaven.   There were ALWAYS sheets to commemorate the PRESIDENTS on their birthdays, and the only two that we recognized in that way were Washington and Lincoln.

February 12 was always a BIG ax, with a rail fence, or perhaps a large top-hat, and then on the 22nd, we were handed round the sometimes-still-warm-from-the-mimeograph sheets displaying a little hatchet and a stem of cherries.

Sometimes there was a flag on each, and always their names, spelled out in outlined letters, so we could color them in, as well.

The Lincolns went up on the wall above the blackboards until they were replaced by the  Washingtons, and those fluttered merrily til Easter baskets.   Or maybe Kites.


Southern Lady said...

What memories you kindled, Rachel, except I remember celebrating only George Washington's birthday.

I used to love to smell those clean pages fresh from the mimeograph machine. They smelled almost as good as the smells wafting down the halls from the cafeteria.

jeanne said...

You made me laugh Rachel. I always have to stop and think who the fourth face is too. I have been there three times. You would think I could retain what I saw in person. I will say it is amazing to see. Anyway I looked it up. Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt (teddy) and Lincoln. in that order.

I remember Washington's picture on the classroom wall. My grandmother named one of her sons after Washington and Lincoln. (Abraham George) We called him Uncle Abe.

Hope you day was as special as you are.
Hugs, Jeanne

PS, You are right Rachel, you are my sister friend and it means a lot to me. xo

Denise :) said...

It's so try -- I miss those days! My husband resolutely refers to the two holidays as they were originally named. :)

Keetha said...

Exactly - thanks for the memories!

My son asked me what the "deal was" with Presidents Day, so I told him. Clearly, they dont color Lincoln and Washington pages anymore.

Great post!

Janie said...

Wonderful memories of school days as only you can conjure up. We were so lucky to celebrate those days each year with the cherry tree and top hat. Thanks for shaking our memory tree.

Kouign Aman said...

Now, that marvelous parable for teaching truth telling has been taken away from us. :( no more cherry tree.

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Beverly said...

I'm with you on this one, Rachel. Some presidents deserve their very own day.

Maybe it would be different if Presidents' Day was really celebrated to honor our presidents. But, instead it seems to have become another commercial reason for a sale.