Thursday, May 26, 2022

Friday Thoughts: On Walking to School

 


A bunny sits very still as I pass, hoping to escape notice

When I was 3-1/2 years old, and my sister just 13 months younger, my parents bought their first home. It was brand new, surrounded by other new homes along a not-yet-paved street, partially stuccoed, with wood siding painted in turquoise circling the house like a pretty ribbon.  Small by today's standards, it was a split level, with a living room and dining room with smooth hardwood floors, and a kitchen on the main floor. A short flight of stairs led upstairs to three bedrooms and a bathroom. Under the bedrooms was a full-height basement where my mother had her wringer washer, and later, automatic machines. The house was situated on a 1/3-acre lot which soon had green grass in the front and part of the back, with a large vegetable garden behind. 

Hawthorn now in bloom, perfuming the air

I started Grade One, not kindergarten, just before turning 5 years old. The school was half a mile from our home, and according to my mother, I insisted on walking without her from the very beginning. Like many children, my first grade teacher was my heroine, and could do nothing wrong. "Mrs. Cook says this," and "Mrs. Cook says that" must have been quite tiresome for my parents. 

When other children moved onto our street, we walked to school together summer and winter. My mother insisted that my sister and I wear dresses to school, even in the winter. Warm pants were worn underneath our dresses and removed in the cloakroom. 

A cluster of Camas Lilies in a Garry Oak meadow

For part of the way to and from school each day, we passed fields of asparagus. Asparagus spread and filled the roadsides with green stalks in the spring, and later, tall ferns. Oddly, no one picked the asparagus, and I wonder about that now. It wasn't as popular a vegetable for us as it is now. 

The variegated Weigela in front of the house puts on an extravagant show each May-June. The bees are very busy there just now. I prune the bush after the blooms fall off, and it grows back just as luxuriously the next spring. 

While walking one day this week, I met clusters of children en route to school, accompanied by parents. Others descended from cars or busses. Seeing them caused me to think about my own getting-to-school experiences. 

Did you walk or bus? Did your parents drive you to school? 

We have a few plans for this weekend, including dinner with friends. I'm providing dessert and have been pondering what to make. Whatever your plans, I hope they bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.

30 comments:

Rosemary said...

Enjoyed this post of your childhood memories Lorrie - I find it hard to believe that I travelled to school in the way that I did considering how children today are often dropped off by a parent and then picked up again after school. I used to catch a bus at the end of our road which took me down just a few miles to our nearest village where I then caught a trolly bus into the town centre. From the town I had a long walk to the Convent school that I attended. As a non catholic, I found the whole experience extremely strange and even mysterious - nuns were something that I had never seen or encountered before.
Love the photo of the bunny.

DUTA said...

I walked to school even in cold, rainy winters. I lived in a semi-rural area, with no buses or cars.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

My mother drove us to school and on bad days, my Daddy drove us in his pick up truck. You started school at a much younger age than I did. I was almost 7 when I went to first grade and didn't go before that. I loved school so much and still have such wonderful memories of learning to read and the school library and public library. No one else in my family read so I sat on my bed and read while they watched tv. Hugs!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I started kindergarten when I was 4. We lived about 5 miles from school. We had to walk to the school bus stop, which was about a quarter of a mile from my house. Then the bus took us to school. Have a wonderful weekend!

Jenn Jilks said...

We're still coping with the Ontario power outage.
Going from 2 - 6 people is challenging.

I walked to school in downtown, inner city Toronto! I'd go through the backyards, where there were roads behind the houses.

(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Beside a babbling brook... said...

Another beautiful post.... Had to read it to my husband, who is recuperating from a long week of infected tooth, finally taken oout yesterday. Quick post before lose!

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Beside a babbling brook... said...

I so much enjoy your posting!

Ahem... So much more than usual blog posting.<---Suhhhh, don't tell. >,-)

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Beside a babbling brook... said...

But rushing to publish my comments, is .... tiresome. and I feel I can't do your posts justice. :-) But you will understand...

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Beside a babbling brook... said...

Still wonder if I am the only one, for whom this issue exists...??????????????? Can't do a normal comment, because it just might disappear.....

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Cheryl said...

This was a fun read, Lorrie! Thanks for taking us on this walk back in time.

I probably was walking to elementary school at about the same time that you were. Unless there was inclement weather, I walked to school most of my elementary years, some years directly to school, some years to the local primary school to catch the bus to another school. I enjoyed many happy days of walking to school with my sister and with my neighborhood friends. When the bus route changed, however, and the elementary children were riding with the junior and senior high school students (not always a good environment!), my mother started driving us to school and did so all the way through.

Susan said...

As a child, living in Scarborough, Ontario, attending parochial school in the 1960's, I walked to school and enjoyed walking home for lunch each day. I remember a neighbour had a wonderfully laden prune plum tree and it was with delight that my brother, sister and I filled our hats with these delectable purple-skinned, perfect plums and brought them home to enjoy. I hope he didn't mind!

Coastal Ripples said...

Such a lovely post of childhood memories. Your recall of your parents house is very clear. I wonder do they still live there today? My first school was a ‘Dame’ school run by two spinsters of elderly years. The Miss Blackburns. It was a short walk from my home to the school and at five I was allowed to do it on my own once my mother had taught me the way. I even walked home at lunchtime.
Gosh you must have been cold in your dresses in winter! Have a lovely weekend. B x

Catherine said...

I had one km to walk from home to school four times a day with a very heavy satchel!
I love the pink bush, in fact I love pink flowers.
I forgot: we were not allowed to wear trousers but with a skirt on top…

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

I sure enjoyed reading about your early childhood experiences and home life and school life. We live two miles out of town on a farm so I road the school bus. At first it was just little me climbing into that big bus filled with kids already seated when I started Grade 1 - we had no kindergarten then. Being the last child to be picked up, there was one seat left for me.

Your weigela bush is stunning. Wow! You must come out often to gaze when it's in full bloom!

Enjoy your time with friends. Happy weekend!

Granny Marigold said...

I enjoyed reading your post about your early years. It sounds like you were a very independent little girl. *smile*
I grew up on a farm a mile and a half away from the village where I went to school.I got a ride with the neighbours in the morning but had to walk home after school. Except in winter of course ( this was Manitoba so winters were ( and are) pretty haRSH.))
It's raining and chilly today and I am baking bread. My eldest daughter is coming for lunch. It's a good day. Hope yours is as well.

Elizabethd said...

Rain or shine, we walked about 2 miles to the village school, every day.
What an amazing Weigela you have, Lorrie, did you feed it?

GretchenJoanna said...

I loved the description of your childhood home. The asparagus fields! how amazing is that??

Our family lived in the country and our elementary school was also rural, three miles away. So we walked 1/4 mile to and from the bus stop. Later when we used to ride our bikes much farther than three miles all around the place, we never thought of riding to school.

My high school was eight miles away so it was to the same bus stop we would go, for that bus. In first grade I remember wearing flannel-lined jeans under my dress on school days. It was often a miserably cold fog we would wait in for up to a half hour.

QUILTING IS BLISSFUL, DI said...

I walked a mile and quarter to and from school on dirt country roads to a one room school house from 1st grade to the end of 5th grade when they closed that school and sent a big yellow bus to pick me up--it turned around in our driveway and it was a 20 mile ride everyday to the school--and I graduated from that school--my last year at the little school there was just 7 of us --all girls and a women teacher who was in a wheel chair--my first day in 6th grade there was 30 some students--half were boys and a man teacher--a big shock and it took some adjusting!!!!!
hugs, di

Rosemary B❤️ said...

I think we all came from a generation that walked to school.
My husband grew up in Michigan and walked to a school one mile each day.
It was cold, and they went to school in the snow.
I grew up in France, and Maryland, we took a bus to school in France. We walked to school in Maryland.
I also wore pants under my dresses.
Both of my daughters took buses, or I drove them. Life is crowded and different now. Everything is different
I love walking to school with myfriends. I remember in high school I missed the bus a few times, the bus driver would drive right past me because I was not at the bus stop. She was nutty. Anyway, I usually then walked to school and showed up late of course. Sometimes I would walk back home and my mom would drive me.
Your photos you shared are beautiful
Happy week-end

Ruth Hiebert said...

I lived about two miles from school and did walk whenever I could persuade my parents to let me do so. I love your flowers. Busy weekend for me. Helping at church tomorrow and then a a soup and pie lunch at church followed by a pie auction. Should be fun.

ellen said...

What a sweet post! I love how you independent you were at such a young age. I was just the opposite. I would walk to school and then turn around and walk home and tell my mom that school was cancelled! She would then have to drive me. I so wanted to be home with my 2 younger brothers. I also remember wearing a wool snowsuit and tucking my dress into the pants. The snow would stick to it and form snowballs. I can still smell that wet wool! As I got older, my friends and I would take a short cut through a field. I remember being chased by a boy (who supposedly "liked" me) who had a snake skin on a long stick. And then he wondered why I didn't "like" him back! Your weigelia is just beautiful!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Walking to school in all sorts if weather was the norm. Every kid had a raincoat and umbrella. I shudder to think how young we were out and about with no adult. I am glad that is no longer the way to go.

Vee said...

Your childhood home sounds wonderful. Your mother must have loved it very much. Imagine your being so brave that you wanted to walk to school by yourself. I lived a mile from school yet rode the bus all over town finally arriving at school over an hour later. I hated it the bus ride. Dresses were required straight to high school when, finally in my junior year, we were allowed to wear pantsuits, which were like a tunic over slacks that matched. Remember those? For warmth, we wore snowpants over our dresses until junior high when mothers usually stopped enforcing that. Course we froze, but fashion was considered more important. Fun post!

Sylvia said...

Lorrie, For grades 1-5 me and my sisters walked the few blocks to school, came home for lunch and walked home after school. Loved it. In grade 6 we were moving at the end of October so we took the bus to the new town with the high school kids who attended there. At the new town, we could take the bus where we were the first pick up and had to go the full route around to get to school. I just walked the 1/4 mile to school summer and winter. It was nice to have the bus option when it was -40C. There were 8 of us so generally there was always some taking the bus. Sylvia D.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I walked to school and I had to wear a uniform, and in the winter, we wore pants to keep us warm until we got to school. Those were the good old days, Lorrie. Your childhood home sounds beautiful.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh, we walked! We lived only two blocks from school when I was growing up so there was no question. I remember occasionally getting to go home with a friend who lived out in the country and riding the school bus seemed so exotic.

(And today I'm sorry but can't help adding that we were never afraid to go to school which sadly is no longer necessarily the case for kids here in this country south of your border.)

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Lovely post, Lorrie and it certainly brought back memories. I began first grade also at age 5 and at the time our county did not have kindergarten. We all wore dresses or skirts to school with wool pants underneath or dresses. All the girls wore this attire all the way through high school. And, we walked to school no matter the weather. I had a good coat, boots, hats, and gloves. I have no memory of getting cold.

There were several girls in my neighborhood that made up our little group of walkers. We had good times on our walks to and from school. Only the children who lived a distance from our school rode the bus.

Isn't it amazing how the world has changed?

Margie said...

What a fun stroll down memory lane.

When my brother was in kindergarten, he walked from the bus stop to our house (500m) by himself. I think this was common in the '80s, but would be unheard of these days.

I took the bus until grade 7. Then in grad 8, a new school opened that was within a 15-minute walk from our house.

Lowcarb team member said...

Always used to walk to school.
I always remember that when in senior school once we were back home it was a glass of milk, a biscuit and then homework! The routine seemed to work well.

All the best Jan

Anneliese said...

I love reading about your childhood. You began school unusually young! And I'm sure you did well, seeing you're a teacher now.
I walked to school when we lived in South America. We moved to Canada, to the big city of Vancouver, where I took two city buses to get to school. There was a school I could have walked to, but being ten years old, I had to go to a school that offered ESL. My dad had to learn to drive and get to work and my mom didn't learn till later.

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