Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day

 First Day

I can remember my skinny, ten year old self 
sitting at the worn, wooden desk
the kind that had the chair and table as a singular unit
with a too-small drawer beneath the seat
and a long-unused inkwell

my desk was in the row 
by the old, soaring windows 
that creaked when opened and shut
les fenêtres, we would learn from our French teacher
 un pupitre, les élèves, un stylo, la craie

 the clackety-clack Venetian blinds were raised and
sunlight strode in to investigate the supplies I'd been given by my Grade 5 teacher
 notebooks that held the upcoming thrill of writing on the first page
a bubblegum pink eraser, all edges intact, no errors yet made 
  a newly sharpened pencil that said learning was the point
a wooden ruler, one foot long, dependable
 several map of Canada book covers to fold around my texts
from sea to sea to sea to 49th parallel
best of all
in their small cardboard box 
with the image of an idyllic snow-covered cabin in the mountains
a fresh packet of eight Laurentian coloured pencils

Thank you for your visit here today.

 You are welcome to add your own memory.


  1. Karen, this is a lovely post of school memories. I remember "elderly" teachers who when they wrote on the blackboard their upper arms would shake back and forth. I'm now of "that age". LOL I also remember black boards with the alphabet in proper cursive across the tops. My early desks were the kind with the seat that flipped up and had black wrought iron legs and our books slid in the opening in front, the groove to lay your pen or pencil on, ink well holes and an ink well and fountain pens. Oh so many memories. Thanks. :)

  2. Well and beautifully written. I remember sitting in hot class rooms, in the Deep South, and taking notes with one hand and swatting gnats with the other.

  3. Just lovely. I remember sorting through my school supplies before the first day, organizing them all. I could hardly wait to start each September. The Laurentian colored pencils were my favorites.

  4. A new set of crayons, and later a new set of Laurentian coloured pencils - they were so special! I also remember the first year we were allowed to use pens instead of only pencil. I felt so very grown up!

  5. hello
    c'est plutôt des souvenirs d'odeur qui me restent de la rentrée scolaire
    l'odeur du cuir du cartable , de l'encre
    et puis ce bruit horrible de la craie qui frotte le grand tableau
    et tout ces cris ,dans la cour de récréation
    des institutrice à l'air sévère
    j'avais très mal au ventre ::::::
    bonne journée
    edith (iris) France

  6. Wonderful post Karen. I remember the desks all joined in a row with seats that flipped up. I remember putting on a new outfit and wearing it proudly. So many memories from long ago.
    I also my very first day as a teacher, waiting nervously for a room full of children that were entrusted to my care ... close to 40 of them!!
    Enjoy September

  7. I notice today that they put four desks together so that two kids are head to head and no one sits behind them. Perhaps that is to stop the bully from pulling hair or poking a pencil in your back.

  8. I enjoyed reading about your memories from school days. Have a blessed day!

  9. This is such a beautifully written post, I enjoyed reading about your memories. We had similar desks at the small school I attended here in the UK, with the lift up lid and long unused inkwells!
    Helen x

  10. Karen,

    This is THE perfect post for the month of September, so eloquently written and recounted. You know, when I was a little girl, I always thought that the new year began in September, with the new school year, not in January! Yes, my memories are very similar to your, but for some reason, I remember that we had to purchase OUR Laurentians. The smell of new textbooks, the cloudy blackboards, wall-to-wall windows, with views of the school yard, and in the fall, lined by leafy tree tops that looked like peaks of coppery decoupage mountain tops, cubby holes and milk and cookie time, with cartons of Sealtest delivered on brown plastic trays, plates of cookies to complement. Ah, those were the days, carefree and colourful; another lifetime, another world!

    Thanks for rekindling some of the best years of my life!




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