“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands.” Psalms 143:5
I’m not sure why…but there’s a gap. When I started school in Jacksonville, Florida there was no kindergarten. It was like one day you were at home and the then you weren’t. My first four grades of elementary school were at Wesconnect Elementary School and the last two were at a brand-new school—Jacksonville Heights Elementary School. Unlike Wesconnect that required a bus ride, the new school was only several blocks down the road from my house.
Wesconnect was an old…real old. It was all brick with no air conditioning. It was hot. That is one reason why we didn’t start school till after Labor Day. I remember it having large paned windows, oak floors and tall ceilings. Hundreds of footsteps would echo through the halls. And, to a little kid like me, it was big—like huge. It was at Wesconnect, that I met and fell in love for the first time. She was an older than me—my first-grade teacher—Mrs. Jones. And, like the song from the seventies says, “we had a thing going on” or at least I did. She was pretty (at least from my seven-year-old perspective) and she was pretty nice. I became her number one eraser cleaner. But soon, it was time to move on. So, I passed first grade and it was so long Mrs. Jones.
By second grade I was a veteran. A lot of the insecurities were gone and I met Mrs. Webb. She, like Mrs. Jones, was a kind teacher. I think, though I am not sure, that my sister and I had our tonsils out about then and she had all the kids write me get well cards. I can still remember how special it was to receive that big envelope from my classmates. Thank-you, Mrs. Webb. Third grade meant yet another teacher…this time Mrs. Wilson. Now I don’t mean this in a mean way but she kinda reminded me of one of the witches from “The Wizard of Oz.” She was an older lady, and wore her hair in a tight bun and was quite stern. I didn’t clean Mrs. Wilson’s erasers. But looking back, she was a good teacher and she helped us learn and that is what mattered. I managed to pass again, so soon it was so long Mrs. Wilson.
Fifth grade meant a new school (with air conditioning—smile) and yet another new teacher and her name was, get ready for it, Mrs. Slappy. She was rather short, had bright red hair and was rather snappy. Today I think I would use the word, “feisty.” As I remember her class, it was fun and I had a new responsibility. She selected me (and a couple of others) to be trained to run the film strip projector and the movie projector. It was a big deal. When we were going to see a film strip or movie in class, one of us would go down and check out the equipment, set it up and operate it. Wow…what responsibility and to think, she trusted me. That was a big deal. Thank you, Mrs. Slappy.
My final year in elementary school, sixth grade, was a landmark year. I had my first male teacher, Mr. Perry and was selected to be a “patrol boy.” Mr. Perry was, as you can imagine, a little different from Mrs. Jones in First grade but I remember him being imposing but fair. He was a “rules” guy but as long as you followed the rules, you did ok. That served me well then and really for the rest of my life. I know it started at home but Mr. Perry reenforced it…a lesson well learned. Well, there you go my parade of teachers. The end. Thanks for reading.
Well, not quite. You see there was a reason I walked you through all of that. Did you notice something? Well, if you noticed that there is a gap…you are right. You see, for some reason, and who knows why, there is a total gap for the fourth grade. I have absolutely no memories of my teacher, classmates, or surroundings. I know it was Wesconnect but beyond that…zero…and that intrigues me. I don’t know or believe it was anything bad…there is just a gap. In fact, it means that there was probably a really good teacher who taught me, good friends that I met and played with and a whole year of great memories that, for some reason, I have forgotten. I.Have.Forgotten.
And that made me think. How many other incredibly good things have I forgotten? It seems we have no problem remembering all the bad stuff but sometimes we tend to sometimes forget the good stuff, the great stuff that comes our way. I love writing about my days as a kid but I wonder how many good stories I could write if I remembered all the other adventures that came my way. How many more adventurous things came my way that slipped away. Hmmm.
Remembering the good always feeds gratitude and dwelling on the bad tends to feed the opposite. And, trying to filling unexplained gaps, well, can do the same. Why don’t we celebrate the good, let the hard stuff stay in the rearview mirror and those gaps…just let them be. I like what the writer of Psalms 145:3 said, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on the work of your hands.” In other words, whether it was good, whether it was difficult or whether there is a gap, we know and celebrate one constant, “He’s got that.” Bro. Dewayne