Relish grade school memories

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of eavesdropping on a very interesting conversation.
I say eavesdropping because my office is adjacent to the living room so when my husband entertains guests, I can’t entirely block out the sound.
And last Friday, he had very interesting guests: Curtis Gaylord, Toby Stucky, and Gary Lyndaker.
They all were students at Bethel College when Howard taught there. Not all three took classes from him, but they have been reading his recent books and came to discuss the concepts.
Curtis is a frequent visitor at our house while Toby has been here a time or two. But Gary was a first-time visitor. And what a pleasure to have him here because Gary grew up in Lewis County, N.Y. and is the son of my grade school friend, Pauline Lehman.
It was a very small school that Pauline and I attended–14 or 15 students–and we had the same teacher all through grade school. Amazingly, the school was housed in a beautiful New England-style church, complete with steeple and bell tower.
What fun we had in that rural setting–playing in the snow in the winter, picking beautiful wildflowers in a nearby woods in the spring, and playing “May I” in the spacious fellowship hall when it was stormy.
Not only were Pauline and I friends, but our families also were friends. I called her parents Uncle Ezra and Aunt Clara. And as we grew up, we often had neighbourhood “get-togethers.”
I remember oyster suppers, Limburger cheese parties, and one special Fourth of July picnic at Pauline’s house when I was quite young. I still remember the magic of waving our “sparklers” in the dark of the night.
Our parents warned us, “Don’t point them at anybody’s eyes,” as we waved our dangerous sparkling wands that burned at 2,000 degrees F!
As I reminisced with Gary about the fun we had, I also shed some tears as I remembered the day Aunt Clara died when Pauline and I still were in high school.
And Gary shared some of Pauline’s stories. It seems that as a girl, Pauline felt her hands were too large. So when Miss Peck asked us to trace our hands on a piece of paper, Pauline slanted her pencil, thus making a daintier picture.
But to Pauline’s dismay, the drawings were patterns for our Christmas gifts that year–mittens. I still remember the mittens but I never realized Pauline’s mittens were too small to wear.
How great to remember those few short years of growing up, and to come full circle after all these years and connect with the next generation!
That’s the way life is. There are so many pieces to our lives. Places we have lived, jobs we’ve had, people we have known.
Friendships that last over the years and friends that you haven’t seen for years but still care about.
Yes, grade school was a long time ago! What special memories do you have?
And what special “grade school” friends do you still keep up with?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at