Sunday, November 19, 2006
Through my fourth grade year, my family lived in LaFayette, Ohio. LaFayette was / is a small village with about 300 people. It sits in eastern Allen County and, hence, the school I attended was called Allen East. Most things in town revolved around the school or the local Methodist Church (which is not where we attended.)

My school always had two classes for each grade. Very few students actually lived "in town" like we did. Most students lived on farms in the surrounding area. Generally, I was with the same kids every year but there was a little bit of mixing each year. I suspect that the teachers cast lots over which students they had in their class each year. I am sure that some students were sought after and others, well, not so much. I won't say which camp I was probably in. :-) I like Evan's school because there is only one grade for each class. The kids really become very close to one another. That is fun to watch.

My third grade teacher was Miss Guthrie. She lived in town, next door to my grandparents in fact. She was the quintessential 1950s elementary teacher. Nevermind the fact that I had her in 1972. She had taught for about 30 years before I had her and I know she taught for quite a number of years after as well. We didn't damage her too much I guess.

Each day in Miss Guthrie's class would start with two things. The Pledge of Allegiance and The Lord's Prayer. Yes, The Lord's Prayer. In a public school. That was a pretty neat way to start each day and, no, the ACLU wasn't pounding on the door demanding that Miss Guthrie be burned at the stake. During the course of the year, each student had one week during which they led the Pledge and the Prayer.

My week was when I had stage fright. For the life of me, on Monday of my week, I could not remember how to start The Lord's Prayer. There I stood at the front of the class, all of my classmates facing me. Miss Guthrie, too, in the back of the room. I stalled. I waited for all of the kids to be quiet and very still, attempting to appear like I was trying to strike up a certain reverence for the moment. Fact is, I was speechless. I knew how The Lord's Prayer started but darned if it was coming to me. I debated whether, if I just made some indistinct guttural sound, everyone wouldn't start praying and then I'd be just fine. But I stood there in silence. Finally, realizing my apparent predicament, Miss Guthrie started the prayer and we all followed. I didn't have any problems the rest of the week.

I guess that's my third grade story. Sort of meaningful as I think of Evan being in third grade and in a school where formal group prayer is a regular part of their day. I like that. Someday I will reminisce about the "poofy shirts" I wore in second grade. Yes, I think Jerry Seinfeld stole the idea from me. And, maybe next year, I will talk about my fourth grade disaster with basketball. Good stuff.

  posted at 10:35 AM  


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Todd M


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