Saturday, December 8, 2007

School Days

Winter brings snow, family holidays, and memories.
With the first snows this year, I started reflecting on my days at the Wray SDA Church School. This was a one-room schoolhouse, which is something you don't find often in the United States these days. It was housed in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Wray, Colorado. I attended the school from 3rd-6th grades. One of the draw backs of attending this school was the fact that I was stuck with the same teacher for all but the last year I was there. Because of this, I was stunted in some areas of learning and advanced in others. The last year I attended, we had a different teacher, so I some of my course work was at the 6th grade level and others was 7th. I enjoyed my experiences at this school and it is probably why I am the way I am today, well one of the reasons anyway.

Snow brought all sorts of fun at the school. depending on the weather, we would either play outside in the snow or inside because it was snowing. Here are a few of the activities that went on, depending on the weather.

The Games We Played
For recess, we hardly had "open" play. For the most part, we played team games or tag type games. One game in winter was "Fox and Geese". This is a game from the age of the American Pioneer. This game is played after a snowfall. First the snow is tramped down in paths to make a big wheel with spokes and a hub in the center. One player is the Fox and the rest are the Geese. The Fox tries to catch a Goose (who then becomes the next Fox). Players must stay inside the paths. If a Goose steps off the path, that Goose is caught. The only safe place for a Goose is in the center (hub). But only one Goose is allowed to be in the center. The version we played, you played until all the geese were foxes and the last player still a goose became the fox for the next round.

When we couldn't go outside, our down time was limited to the space we had in the area of the church the school occupied. Sometimes we just asked the teacher to read from her big book of stories she had collected over the years or read another chapter or two from the book she was reading to us during lunch. While she read, we would do things quietly at our desks. One story I remember from the book was the "Precious Gift" story for Christmas. This is the story of the couple that sells something they have to buy a gift for the other. I'm sure you all know it. The items bought were a watch chain and a set of hair combs. Amazing story.

Other indoor games included parlor games, hide and go seek, boardgames, and the like. The most unusual game we played was "Black Magic." The game itself isn't u unusual, it's because we went to a church ran school. You don't expect to play a game with the word "magic" in it. Those of you who know the game, know there is no dark arts about it. I won't detail the game, because I hate to spoil things for people who have never played it.

Exit Stage Left
With winter also came time for our Holiday Plays. We put on many classic plays and some obscure ones. My first play was set in a roadside diner where the occupants had been snowed in. I was in third grade and played a chauffeur. I remember this the most because my dad had found me a cap for the role, one of those modern sea-captain hats or one you'd find in a policeman's dress uniform kit.

One year, we even did A Christmas Carol. I remember Dickens because I memorized almost the entire script, while only playing about three of the Characters, including Bob Cratchette. All the plays came out of the teacher's Big Book.

I think it was the last year we lived in Colorado that I played an Native American along with another boy and my brother. This was a Thanksgiving play, and all three of us were in blond. So, you had us on "stage" in gunny-sack costumes and with two of us carrying antique muskets. It was a pioneer Thanksgiving. I can't remember the details, save the fact that they had the blondest kids playing the Natives.

The good times, the bad times, they all make up the foundation of who we are. When we look back on our lives, it should be to the fun we had and seeing how events molded us into who we are. I can't help but think of my family when I look back to my years at the Wray SDA Church School. They were fun times and hard times. I remember my father more and more each time I think of these days.

Here's to many more memories in the making.

(Next Time I visit my School days, I'll talk about warmer activities.)

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