Childhood Memories – Snowing in Memphis

4 Nov

In my younger days, I attended McClain Elementary school, the oldest and best school in town. Its faculty educated three generations of my family, and it closed after my final year. Obviously, they realized that they could have no better student than me and decided to shut the doors.

McClain was an old building with no air conditioning and plenty of asbestos. I can remember the staircases, the coat rooms, the cafeteria that doubled as the theater and the playground. There was also a huge field behind the school that was used for field day and other outdoor activities.McClain

It makes me feel old to say that it was a simpler time, but, when it came to elementary education, that is the truth. We had no computers, no iPhones, no Internet. Heck, we did not even have televisions in the rooms. We had teachers who took pieces of chalk and wrote on blackboards. We even had those old-timey desks that had holes for ink bottles. That is the definition of simple.

That is also the definition of being cut off from the rest of the world. We did not have information at our fingertips, and McClain felt like its own world. While the teachers may have known what was going on out there, we students had to make educated guesses. This was really difficult during that time of year when it was cold enough to snow and everyone wanted to be out of school.

That is when the rumors would begin. It would start simply enough. Some kid would say that he heard the teachers talking about the weather. According to them, it was snowing in Memphis. As every little kid knew, weather always hit Memphis before it hit here.

Before you knew it, the word was spreading, and everyone was hearing that it was snowing in Memphis. It was only a matter of time. It would start snowing, and we would be getting out of school. However, there was a fundamental problem. When word got out that it was snowing in Memphis, we never got out of school.

Obviously, skullduggery was afoot. Something was wrong. It took many years for me to figure out exactly what happened. First, it was probably not snowing in Memphis. Second, if it was snowing in Memphis, then it would never get here fast enough to get us out of school.

We got plenty of snow days, but the old “snowing in Memphis” rumor never did work out.

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8 Responses to “Childhood Memories – Snowing in Memphis”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong November 4, 2014 at 20:52 #

    I went to the same kind of elementary school. Same desks. Same lack of gadgets and infrastructure. It was a brick building with rooms. Blackboards. Teachers with bad attitudes and chalk. But we got an education.

    We learned useful skills like spelling and arithmetic, how to add, subtract, multiply and divide without a calculator (imagine that). Which is more than my granddaughter can do. She’s lost without a calculator and a spellchecker. Ever watched the kid clerks today? They can’t make change if the machine doesn’t tell them how. The way they teach simple arithmetic today is painful to watch … and useless in a grocery store.

    My granddaughter’s schools were MUCH nicer than mine. Better heated, air-conditioned, fancy cafeteria, and gymnasium. Pity about the whole education thing.

    I’m not one to moan about how much better everything was in The Old Days … but I think getting an education when teachers were allowed to teach and kids were encouraged to think, not just pass tests really WAS better.

    • Rick November 4, 2014 at 21:51 #

      I like messing with the cashiers by giving them something they don’t expect. If the total is $15.22, then I will give them something like $20.25. That way I don’t get a bunch of ones. Also, it is entertaining to watch them figure it out. Sometimes, they try to give the money back like I did something wrong.

      • Marilyn Armstrong November 4, 2014 at 21:57 #

        I’ve tried to round up to avoid getting a pocket full of change. They stare at me. Stare at the money, then me, then the money, then me. Poor babies. Very sad.

  2. DyingNote November 5, 2014 at 03:02 #

    I ran through 8 schools over 12 years. The first six, especially the sixth, I enjoyed…mostly and then it went downhill. Part of the reason I refused to go in for post-graduation was my later schools and college got to me with their idiotic regimentation.

    • Rick November 5, 2014 at 03:23 #

      That’s a lot of education in a lot of places.

      • DyingNote November 5, 2014 at 03:32 #

        Let’s just say a lot of places. My father was a nomad and he passed it on to me 🙂

  3. Andrew Petcher November 5, 2014 at 16:53 #

    We had to learn adding up in pounds, shillings and pence (12 pennies to a shilling, twenty shillings to a pound) – that was hard. You had it so easy with only dollars and cents!

    • Rick November 5, 2014 at 18:04 #

      That makes our metric system money look simple.

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