I began First Grade that September. I attended Wenonah Public School, which at that time was grades K through 8. After that you would go to Woodbury High School. Because my mother had two small boys she couldn't take me to school my first day so she arranged for the daughter of one of our neighbors to take me. Her name was Peggy Sacca and her family had owned our home before we moved in. Peggy was a grown up in my eyes but actually was an eighth grader. Her father Tony owned the local meat market which was located at the back of Bowker's Grocery Store in the middle of town. Her uncle ran a fruit and vegetable truck that sold produce to stores and also door to door.
I thought Peggy was really beautiful and the walk to school seemed okay to me. We only had to walk a little over 1/2 a mile. Four blocks up to the park in the middle of town where we'd cross Mantua Ave and walk the last two blocks to school. Across the street from the park when I was growing up was Margie's Luncheonette. It would be awhile before I'd cross it's threshold but it was one of the placest I liked best in town.
First grade was taught by Mrs. Kaufman. She lived two blocks down from us on N Lincoln. She was an ancient wizened crone who'd already taught most of the people who lived in Wenonah. Throughout the school year she called Terry, Tim, who was his older brother by nearly ten years. She taught Tim. Eventually she taught my youngest sister. I don't believe she retired until the late 80's. A long time with young children. She taught us to read.
She taught us math as well; beyond that subject matter was kind of vague. But I remember reading as being magical. It was something I could do and do well. She taught us to write.
I had the same children in my classes for nearly six more years. Tomorrow we shall meet them. Preferably at recess.