Tuesday, August 31, 2004

M.E. School

Do they sell snow pants any more?

I'm talking about a second pair of pants worn over the regular ones in snowy weather, with straps on the feet and possibly suspenders at the waist.  In my memory, they were sometimes just an extra pair of stretch pants.  At Manlius Elementary, kids wearing snow pants were allowed to slide down the steep hill behind the school without skis or sled or flying saucer.  Without the extra layer, no dice.  I'm sure Mrs. Clayton, the principal, didn't want kids in school all afternoon with snowy pants!

Which one is Jean? I don't remember! Which one is me? Guess!

Behind school was a small blacktop, and then the hill, and then a flat area with swingsets and monkey bars and open space.  I remember ten members of our class (which grade was that?) spreading out on the grass to demonstrate the sun and the nine planets that orbit it.  Beyond that was a  stream that fed Manlius' Swan Pond. And on the other size of the stream was a set of apartments. 

One day in winter when I was in second or third grade,  one of the two-story apartment buildings caught fire.  When the alarm at the school went off, we knew just what do do.  Duck and cover!  Okay, so it wasn't the correct response, but it was winter!  They didn't mean us to go outside on a fire drill in winter, did they? I think we probably did go outside briefly, but after that we lined up inside at the classroom windows, watching the fire.  One classmate, Nancy I think, lived in those apartments, but not, fortunately, in that particular building.

My second grade teacher was Mrs. Nevin.  She told us the first day of school that was strict, but that we would like her, and predicted we would say just that to members of the succeeding class who might ask about her.  I did, too.

My third grade teacher, Miss Olds, was flat-out wonderful.  She used to travel in the summer whenever she could, and bring back artifacts to show to students.  I remember she had a cricket bat from Australia, but I don't recall what she had from Alaska and Hawaii.  The last time I saw her was the same day as my last meeting with Mrs. Livingston: the day before high school graduation. The two teachers were hanging out together in the empty school at the end of a half-day due to teachers' meetings.  After a pleasant conversation with both of them, I went on to Carroll's (or was it Burger King bythen?). Miss Olds turned up next to me in line. "Synchronicity!" she said to me with a laugh.  I had to go look up the word.  After all those years, my third grade teacher was still capable of teaching me something.

Across the street from Manlius Elementary (which was later turned into village offices because of the baby boom going bust  - I think it's the police station now) was Temple Dairy Store,  better known as Temple's. It was halfway between an old general store and a 7-11, both in time and in substance.  People could get doughnuts there (headlights, taillights and bear claws), and milk, Twinkles and other cereals, comic books (a small selection), and, most important to Manlius Elementary students, candy for a penny or two cents or a nickel.  The wonderful crossing guard stationed in front of Manlius Elementary after school would help us get across the street.  Even kids who normally took the bus would sometimes walk home instead, just to get to the candy.

Next door to Temple's was Stone Machinery Co.  It took me years to figure out that the factory didn't make machines out of rock, Fred Flintstone style. The factory's noon whistle could be heard for a mile in each direction.  Depending on which noon hour we had, it served to send us to lunch or back from it, outside to slide in our snow pants, or back inside when we were done.



ryanagi said...

Yep they still make snow pants. I've bought them for Tyler for the past 2 winters, so far. :-) Your school was in a much more interesting area than mine. Mine was just smack dab in the middle of a very residential area. Houses. That was it. LOL

daephene said...

But which one in the picture is you?