To Know Me Is To Know My Family: (35) School Days in Washington for Alanna, Henry and Janice

This entry will be about various experiences my siblings had while attending school in Olympia, Washington. I am not sure of the sequence of their stories, so forgive me if they are not exactly in canonical order.

When my siblings started school there was not a Kindergarten class available. Alanna attended first grade without her siblings. She was about 6 years old. It was a bit of adjustment. She was used to having our brother and sister to keep her company. The farm was not like the track houses we are use to, the farms in the area being farther apart. For the most part, the only other children my siblings were around were their cousins. When she started school she would take the school bus to Roosevelt Elementary in Olympia, Washington each morning, returning the same way later in the afternoon. The school seemed like a very big place where a lot of children gathered. Much more than she was used to seeing. Alanna’s first grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Keitmann. There were approximately 28 children in her class. It wasn’t long before Alanna’s teacher got in contact with our parents. She was concerned because Alanna was not eating her lunch and seemed lonely. Upon learning of this, my Dad started going to school to eat lunch with Alanna. She remembers this time fondly, as it was her special time with Dad. They had little conversations that made her happy, breaking up the day and making it more tolerable for her. Alanna soon adjusted to all of her new companions, so much so she developed a crush on a little boy in her class named Frank. He wore suspenders and she thought that was very stylish. When she told me about this story I thought, I wonder what his last name was so that we could look him up. Her class actually got to go on a field trip to the Fire Department where she remembers being allowed to slide down the pole. That was a high light of her school days. When the bus would bring her home, she would run in the house putting down her books, so she could quickly get back out to the front yard where she would hang from her Cherry Tree and wave goodbye to the bus driver. In her 1st grade picture shown here, she is the little girl in the first row, second from the right. She is squinting her eyes and has a hole in her sweater. We couldn’t tell which little boy was the one she had a crush on as several of the little guys wore suspenders.

Henry and Janice started school a year later enrolled in the first grade too. They were about 5 years old, almost 6. Because our Mom worked at the State Capitol, she got permission to start Henry and Janice in school early. They also took the bus to and from school with Alanna. Again, like her sister, Janice found the school very large and was over whelmed with all of the children in attendance. She felt like she was out of her element. But her saving grace was her twin brother Henry. As long as he was close by, she felt safe. Luckily the twins were able to be in the same class together. On their very first day, during recess Henry told Janice that he had to use the restroom. To stay right where she was and that he would be right back to be by her side. Waiting for about 2 minutes which seemed like an eternity for little Janice, she started to have difficulty breathing, having a panic attack. The teacher on yard duty came over to her and asked what was wrong. Between having breathing problems and crying Janice was unable to get any words out. Just about that time Henry came to his sister, letting her know that he was there and that she was now safe. Janice wiped away her tears and once again knew that she could continue her day being with her twin brother. Henry, her hero, was always by her side each day forward at Roosevelt Elementary School.

As usual the siblings were taking the bus home from school. As they drove up to their home on Bay Harbor Drive, they headed for the bus door to exit to go home. They said their goodbyes to the bus driver and started to walk up the long driveway. Mom came out of the house to meet her children with me, as a baby on her hip. There walked up Alanna, followed by Janice, stretching her neck she did not see her son Henry. She quickly asked the girls where their brother was as she hurriedly walked toward the bus. Alanna and Janice told her that they thought he was right behind them. By this time the bus was starting down the road. Mom took off running after the bus with me going along for the ride. She caught the attention of the bus driver in the rear-view mirror. He stopped, Mom out of breath boarded the bus and sure enough there was Henry sound to sleep in his seat. She collects her number one son, and started walking hand in hand back to the house. It was a fright for sure for our Mom and the kids and Henry, he was just still trying to wake up and wasn’t quite sure what the fuss was about. Be rest assured that never happened again.

Next week Mom’s time working at the State Capitol.

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