My memories of kindergarten days are at best a little fuzzy. My sisters and I each attended kindergarten at a local Presbyterian Church which was about a three-minute drive from our house. Years later, I would attend Brownie and Girl Scout meetings at the same church.
The year was 1964/65. Kindergarten was not mandatory back in those days nor was it near as structured as it is today. We only attended from 8 am (or maybe 9 am) until noon.
My vague kindergarten memories include:
- My mother taking me in the morning and driving under the sheltered drop off. There was a hill (or maybe a bump actually) in the drop-off lane and it always made my stomach do a little flip. To me, driving over the little bump was every bit as good as riding a roller coaster and I loved it (it was to the right in the above photo).
- Putting on a plastic crinkling apron and painting with vivid primary colors on a big easel with large sheets of smooth white paper
- Nap time on the old blue and red Kindermats
- Sitting around a table reading weekly readers or listening to a story
- Standing around a piano, as the music teacher, Mrs. McNish, led us in songs like the Eensy Weensy Spider or This Old Man
- Snack time and drinking Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch
- Lining up for bathroom breaks
- Craft time
- Going outside for recess and playing on the swing sets
- Charlie the Crow coming to visit the kids on the playground
- The two plays we performed at the end of the year— Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Chicken Little
I attended Kindergarten with my friend, Abby, who lived just down the street from where I lived. We were inseparable and all of my kindergarten memories have Abby in them.
I clearly remember the day Abby and I were swinging in a long wooden swing at her house. It was in May and Abby had just had her 6th birthday. My sixth birthday was still two months away in July. Abby looked at me as we sat in that swing and said, “Gail, aren’t you tired of being five?” I think I experienced my first pangs of jealousy that day. We joke about that just about every year around Abby’s birthday. “Gail, aren’t you tired of being 25?” “Gail aren’t you tired of being 56?”
Abby and I were also occasionally known to be partners in crime during our kindergarten days and we used to sneak away to the little bathroom (which actually wasn’t far at all— just around the corner from the kindergarten room). This little bathroom was designed just for kids and had low sitting toilets and sinks for small children. On each sink was a large bar of white soap (I think it was Ivory Soap). And boy did that soap leather well on little hands.
Abby and I would sneak off to that bathroom, turn the water on in those little sinks, grab that bar of soap and lather up our hands until they were pure white and creamy smooth. After just a few minutes, the kindergarten teachers would find us (they knew to head straight for the bathroom when we’d disappear and they’d find us there every time, hands white and fragrant with creamy thick soap). They’d rinse our soapy hands off, apply some hand lotion and take us back to class. This whole scenario would be repeated in a few days. And that folks, is my most vivid memory of my kindergarten days.
I’m still friends with Abby to this day and at age 58 we still laugh at those times remembering them vividly like they were yesterday. Neither of us are sure of just WHY we liked sneaking off to go wash our hands so much—it was some sort of sensory experience that for some reason appealed to us both. But we both distinctly remember saying to each other, “You want to go wash our hands?” And off we’d eagerly run to do just that.