FIRST GRADE ANTICIPATION AND EXPECTATIONS
By Orv Alveshere
GREAT DEPRESSION AND DUSTY ‘30’S HEATS UP
On a very dry August day the scorching harvest sun bore down through cloudless skies,
The prairie family shocked grain bundles, sweat streaming down their eyes.
The large family was unaware they may be threshing their last crop.
The youngest, a five-year old was dragging bundles to her mother nonstop.
“I’m helping Momma, I’m helping,” she sighed, but her mother did not reply.
Pint-sized Pearl thought she saw a tear fall from her widowed mother’s eye.
They propped wheat and oats bundles in pyramid shapes to repel rain, so it dries.
But she could not forget the despair and downcast look in her mother’s eyes.
WELLS COUNTY ND WAS DRY, SCORCHED AND DUSTY
The horses were harnessed and hitched to bring the girls to country school.
Little Pearl sat dejected alone in the sunshine in the vestibule.
She would sorely miss her sister, her playmate, and she did agonize.
Six-year old Fern would begin school that day. Tears fell from Pearl’s forlorn eyes.
Hawks soared, eyes searched for food. Pearl’s mother called. The team whinnied and neighed.
In her handmade dress Pearl climbed into the wagon and checked her braids.
At school with half-gallon Karo syrup pails, her sisters said goodbyes.
The young teacher stood and looked into the departing five-year old’s eyes.
CRESTFALLEN EYES/THE AYES HAVE IT
Those eyes, those sad eyes, those longing eyes, those lonesome eyes,
Made a lasting impression on the teacher. She counted her class size;
The eight grades had nine students, some grades had none, two in first grade.
She looked into Pearl’s sad, disappointed eyes, wearing a dress her mother made.
Those expressive eyes, eyes so full of envy, as next year Pearl could start school.
The country school teacher pondered. She knew she must respect the rule.
In an act of kindness or leniency, she saw in Pearl’s hopeful eyes,
A spark as she invited five-year old Pearl to join, as a surprise.
SPELLDOWN AT WHITBY ONE-ROOM COUNTRY SCHOOL
A gift of human kindness and perhaps illegal to break the rule
By allowing a five-year old to join her sister in first grade in school.
Pearl’s mother would drive the team and wagon home and return as needs arise,
With a noon lunch for Pearl. She now saw sunshine in her daughter’s eyes.
Later, a spelldown used spelling words consistent for each of the grades,
One by one they faltered and sat down, except the little girl in braids.
With pride Aunt Pearl told of winning the spelldown with successful tries.
We revisited her early school days, as seen through a five-year olds eyes.
BIDING HIS TIME IN SMALL TOWN MN WITH WISTFUL EYES
Decades later, we heard of a six-year old boy waiting for the first grade.
Anticipation, yearning for learning, in that account portrayed.
Up before dawn, breakfast inhaled, expectations seemed to energize
As the lad clutched his Roy Rogers and Trigger lunch pail. With anxious eyes,
He boarded the yellow bus, said goodbye, smiling wide. On his return,
He tearfully explained his disappointment, as he had gone to learn.
On that rural farm, to his understanding mother, he did vocalize,
“They didn’t teach me to read,” he sobbed with tears falling from his eyes.
© copyright, all rights reserved, by Orv Alveshere, 2008