I’m a bit nostalgic about Babu going back to school for her last year of high school. I wonder if, as she ages, her entries will remain as endearing, honest, and naive. To a certain point, I believe they will.
I’m also nostalgic about all of the nonstop going back to school talk because for the first time since before kindergarten, the coming of fall does not mean back to school for me. I don’t quite know how to feel about it yet. If I didn’t have my passion of writing to keep me blind to all else and forging ahead, I think I’d be a mess. I wrote the other day in my journal about how I had a bad day because colleagues, already back in “PD,” were texting me about stuff I left behind and I missed them terribly. I wrote about the wonder that it wasn’t my students I was missing. Then I saw a great teacher/student moment in the show “The Get Down.” and I lost my shit. I guess i miss my students, too. I care so much about my students and the kinds of students I serve, but if I’m honest, there is so much bullshit from “The System” that I am not going to miss. And for right now, I’m chasing down this dream and this is where it’s at.
Enough about me! This is what she says:
Tuesday, September 11th, 1934
I’m really afraid of school. In most of my classes I’m quaking. In Accounting I only pray Mr. Donnegan won’t find out how dumb I am. And English with Miss Short. She gave us homework. And I certainly had to dust the cobwebs off my brain. Mrs. Wheeler is very nice in Shorthand and I have Miss Harrington again this year. This time for office training. And I have W.B.Z. in my English class. All those smart college people. I’m going to be a bridesmaid.
Ha! I love the abrupt change of topic but I hate how stressed, about school and being a bridesmaid, she sounds. (She really wasn’t excited about either.)
Wednesday, September 12th, 1934
I hate to go to school this year. I don’t mind the other subjects so much but English is sure tough. I sit right in front of Miss Short. Yesterday we had to write about what we are out to get in this English class and today we have to prepare a one minute and a quarter talk. Of all the groups. She didn’t tell us what to talk about. Honestly I’m so scared I’m afraid my teeth are going to pop out. We had a hundred question test in Accounting yesterday. I did fifty.
I don’t know many people who aren’t fraught with tension and usually self doubt those first days of school. I fully believe challenges push us out of our comfort zone and then the learning can happen. But there’s just some things that do way more damage than good.
Friday, September 28th, 1934
How humiliated I was today. After Miss Short was finished with the standing ones she said the same people are always doing the good work and she said she remembers the names of the pupils who do something good. She looked at me and said she didn’t know my name and after I told her she said I was getting to be a sitter. I talked in a study with Francis Krumpzyski and asked her if she were going to the “junior prom.” She said no and said that I would get many offers and that I was a good dancer and that I have “sex appeal.”
Well, there is no other way to get over an embarrassment like that then to have someone tell you that you have sex appeal!
I said my talk today and Miss Short said it was the best work I had done so far. She offered no criticism. What a load off of my mind.
Thursday, October 11th, 1934
What a break! One day less of school this week. I don’t mind school when I’ve done my homework and know it.
Wednesday, October 17th, 1934
The teachers are quite sure we are not going to have school during November. Mr. Fitzgerald said that only if our parents rebelled it would help. If we don’t go we’ll have plenty to make up and keep us busy at home and further more no Christmas holiday no weeks off and probably school on Saturday.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 1934
My days are crammed so full now that I haven’t a minute to myself. And my homework is way behind. What with the wedding and Fleages going to start two or three times a week. And the Halloween party. And loads of other things. Teddy is going to the party but I don’t think Caveman is. In fact, I’m pretty sure. No one told me but I don’t think he’ll go. I didn’t even see him tonight. We saw Teddy but not hair nor hide of Caveman. I think I’ll get around W.B.Z.
Tuesday, November 6th, 1934
The paper says school will close tomorrow. Will it become a reality, or still something to dream about and put off doing things until it does close?
One of the strangest things about the situation of school closing is that they had no idea themselves what they were going to do. School was on and off again almost as much as Babu and Drobey.
Friday, November 9th, 1934
We went to school today and there were no lessons and there is no telling when there will be. We took our books home to study.