Memories Of School Days

Throughout my educational career, I always thought it was better to be tardy than absent. It is in that spirit that I am finally posting Chapter 9 of the Who I Am project.

“Who I Am” is a writing project hosted by Dana from Kiss My List and Bev from Linkouture.

Each month we are given a prompt regarding some aspect of our life. The goal is, at the end of the year, to have twelve chapters in the book titled Who I Am.

This month’s theme:

School Days

It occurs to me that most of what we learned in school – facts, rules, theories, skills – are deeply embedded in our brain, stored like countless library books on the shelves.

But then we also have other tales from our school days – people and experiences – which stand out in our minds as special and particularly memorable.

I may not remember the exact moment I conquered cursive writing or learned to diagram a sentence but I do remember…

“Plasmodium causes malaria.” – the mantra of my high school biology teacher, Ms. Harrell and the source of all my plasmodium themed nightmares.

“The Statute of Frauds has nothing to do with fraud.” – the mantra of my business law professor, one crotchety old Professor Eagan.

After weeks of having this drilled into our heads, the Statute of Frauds was the subject of an essay question on our first exam of the semester. That particular day was the one and only time I overslept in college, arriving at the 8am exam a half-hour late and very flustered. Eyeing the exam question, my mind instantly went blank. I proceeded to write paragraph upon paragraph about fraud – as in “The Statute of Frauds has EVERYTHING to do with FRAUD!”. Needless to say, I got zero points for that question.

The silver lining was that I had made a bet on the results of that exam with a cute guy in my class. I lost the bet and he took me out to dinner and now we have been married for 36 years.

By the way, because I know you are dying to know…

Statute of Frauds

As you can see, the word “fraud” appears nowhere in the definition. My bad.

Being a Milk Monitor – The responsibility of delivering just the right number of individual cartons of milk to each classroom is serious stuff. This job had all the prestige of being a crossing guard without the uncomfortable worry of protecting fellow students’ lives.

Stopping off for candy before school  – My sister and I used to stop at Mr. Patrick’s Store, a little, old-time general store on the way to school. We would pick out five or ten cents worth of penny candy to have as our treat after school. (OMG I really sound old.)

This lovely tradition was revived when I was in high school and my pals and I would stop at 7-11 for candy as we drove to school. Ellie and I, in particular, favored Atomic Fireballs.

Atomic Fireballs

The SRA Reading Comprehension Program – Does anyone else remember this? It came in a big box full of color coded cards. Students would pull out a card, read the passage and then answer questions about what they read. A passing score on enough cards in one level would allow the student to progress to the next color. A reading race through the rainbow!

My fabulous high school French teacher, Madame Bayer. It wasn’t until years later that we realized Madame Bayer and her husband, Coach Bayer, as brand new teachers, were only a few years older than us. Prime evidence of how much one matures between high school and college.

My not-so-great, “he who shall not be named”, high school history teacher. I remember nothing from that class other than how terrible it was.

It is no surprise that throughout my adult life I’ve had much more of a passion for the French language and culture than I have had for history. Teachers can make all the difference, right?

State Capitals – I don’t necessarily remember all of the state capitals but I do remember the contest to master the entire list thereby getting your name on the State Capital Honor Roll and earning a candy bar.

It seems that candy is a recurring theme throughout my school days memories.

US Capital Map

Getting off at the wrong bus stop  – Mostly what I learned from that experience was that it is much more terrifying for the mom than it is for the wayward child.

Home Economics Class – I vividly remember the taste of the first tuna noodle casserole (with potato chip topping, of course) made in the cooking rotation and the immense feeling of accomplishment as I completed my multi-color, floral romper in the sewing rotation.

If only Top Chef and Project Runway had been around then I could have been a reality star rather than an accountant.

Tuck-Aways – Invented by my mom, tuck-aways are kisses tucked into one’s pockets or under a collar, carried through the school days to be pulled out for comfort as needed to fend off sadness, loneliness, or fear.

They help a lot when you get off at the wrong bus stop. Or oversleep your alarm on exam day.

I could go on and on but now I’m interested in hearing from you.

What memorable people or experiences stand out from your school days?

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Wow…super “sweet” memories…I used to buy candy (gum) at the store with a friend on the way back from lunch at home. I went to Catholic school and you could only eat lunch at school if you lived more than six blocks from the school. A friend and I would pool our money to buy penny chewing gum…we sold it for 5 cents to a few of those unlucky enough to eat a school…I can’t believe I am not a millionaire today with all that gum I sold.
    Beemie recently posted…Nothing, but…My Profile

  2. My kids cannot believe how much penny candy we used to get for 10 cents, nevermind 25 cents. It was remarkable wasn’t it? As for age differences, I remember a grade 12 fellow was rumoured to be going out with our Home Ec teacher. Then there was the grade 12 girl who married her private school principal. Now that was something!
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Just TypiKel TestMy Profile

    • More stories of affairs between students and teachers?!?!? I’m sure there were similar shenanigans going on at my school but I was oblivious to it. Perhaps I was too focused on maximizing my candy budget…
      Mo Lux recently posted…Memories Of School DaysMy Profile

  3. I think we would have been good friends in school. We’d stress over the same things!
    Leslie Anne Tarabella recently posted…Sylvia and the Haints in the House partyMy Profile

  4. Home Ec: The maple taffy (we pulled until our skinny arms were sore) was one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted at that point in my young life. And the enviable peach jumper (with fabulous matching decorative buttons) I made was awesome. Which is why, when I declared at the dinner table that I wanted to be a Home Ec teacher, I was flabbergasted when my father replied, “Over my dead body.” Apparently he had different plans for me.

    • Perhaps your father anticipated the cuts in education which have made home ec classes (along with shop class, art and music) on the list of endangered or extinct school programs. At least you have the memories! 😉
      Mo Lux recently posted…Memories Of School DaysMy Profile

  5. I remember those SRA cards!! Forgotten until today… Also, we Glenview kids stopped for candy after school. On the way home from OLPH, you went straight to the candy aisle at Renneckars!

  6. Oh, Tuck-Aways! That’s so sweet 🙂
    I used to stop by 7-11 on my way home from middle school, where I’d treat myself to a slushy. (Now, they’re way to sweet for me, though I do have a big sweet tooth still.)
    I don’t know if I had SRA cards exactly, but your mention of it does bring back memories of something very similar, if not the same thing!
    Bev recently posted…A beautiful and seriously easy DIY necklace tutorialMy Profile

  7. I didn’t ride a bus until high school, but there were no stores along my walking route in elementary or junior high. There WAS a student who brought candy to sell (before class started) in Eighth grade science class Although it was quite unauthorized, I suspect he made a pretty penny.
    Kathy G recently posted…This Happened The Other Day….My Profile

  8. Isn’t it funny how indelibly printed on our minds certain experiences from school days are? I remember when our band director was let go after his “affair” with one of the clarinet players came to light (yep, he divorced his wife and later married the girl!). Oh, and do you remember having to shower en mass after P.E. class? I’m pretty sure there were girls on a nine-month “time of the month”!
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    • LOL this made me laugh out loud. Yes! I do remember showering after PE and the much over-used excuse to avoid the embarrassment. As if the humiliation of having to wear a gym uniform wasn’t enough… But that must have been shocking about your creepy band director!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Memories Of School DaysMy Profile

  9. I love these posts! This one took me back to my days in school – some memories better than others. I love hearing about your mom’s “tuck aways” – so sweet!! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, Mo! xoxo

  10. We love your “Who I Am” blogs & look forward to the next installment! What a lucky stroke you changed from Homemaking with casseroles or you would not have met Tom as a Accounting Major! Warms my heart that the Tuck away hug tradition is being passed on & they always seem to work at any age. OXOXs !!

  11. Tuckaways – what a great idea! Were they imaginary or actually on a piece of paper or something? Your Mom sounds like a Pinterest mom before Pinterest.

    I love how candy played a big role in your school memories. Why not? Better than broccoli I say.
    Katy recently posted…My Lazy Ways to Be a Better ParentMy Profile

  12. I’m so sorry it took me so long to get to this post, Mo! Better late than never though, right?

    OMG -SRA cards!! I haven’t thought about those in years, but I used to love racing through them! That memory makes me so happy, which I know makes me a complete dork.

    I never could suck on an atomic fireball without having to take it out of my mouth for a break…
    Dana recently posted…Traditions – The Who I Am projectMy Profile

  13. It was Boston Baked Beans and Lemonheads for me. This post has really made me think of a ton of school memories. I should post, rather than clog up your comments! I do remember Ms. Truesdale, my kindergarten teacher’s assistant. My first official crush. Not so much because she was so beautiful, but because she was so kind. Kinder, in fact, than anyone had ever been to me that wasn’t related – and kinder, even, than some who were!

    I love this post.

    • You should post!! I’d love to read more! I’ve never known anyone else who was drawn to the Boston Baked Beans. Do they still make those? And, about your first official crush, it’s as we say all the time – kindness is everything!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Napa Wineries At Harvest TimeMy Profile

  14. A little behind the game, but I remember going to daily Mass during Lent and getting to eat breakfast at school! I thought it was such a treat! Our family rarely went out to eat (hard to find a table for 13), so having my own personal milk carton and cereal was the height of haut cuisine.
    Sewing a romper must have been standard in all Home-Ec classes. I remember after we had that class, a friend asked me to make her one over the summer before we went off to different high schools. I also remember stitching right through my index finger while making it. Fortunately no permanent stains!

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