Here is my trip down memory lane for this week;
The First Day Of School. Words which still cause me to tremble.
The fears seemed endless; what to wear, who to walk to school with, what would the new teacher be like, how will I know where to go, and on and on. Being a girl, what to wear was always at the top of the worry list. Do they still sell Saddle Shoes?? I hope not. I hated my saddle shoes. My mother was convinced that our feet would be deformed if we wore any other kind of school shoe. I was, and still am, equally convinced that saddle shoes were the invention of the Devil. I wanted shoes that were supple, pliable, and pretty. Preferably a black Mary Jane style, but I’d have liked Converse All-Stars better than those blasted saddle shoes. The only good thing about them was the trip to Adamores Shoe Store to buy them. The store was divided into children and adult sections, with children getting to sit in really cute little decorated wood seats. The salesman was a cheerful red haired man who seemed to love every child who walked through the door. But then the dreaded saddle shoes came out of the box. I was doomed to another year of ugly footwear. You couldn’t wear those shoes out. And once they got scuffed and dirty, no amount of cleaning and polishing ever brought them back to their original state.
Of course, back then little girls wore dresses to school. This severely restricted our options at recess. It also made for many chilly and wet walks to school. We wore plastic galoshes over those precious saddle shoes to keep them from getting soaking wet, and the cloakroom at the old Lincoln Elementary School should have come equipped with a drain. The water run-off from our heavy yellow rubber raincoats with the black toggle snaps, and all those rows of boys boots and girls galoshes made it treacherous and slippery as we jostled to suit up for recess and going home.
But the First Day of School was always bathed in warm sunshine. The rainy days were at least a month away, and the torture of having to sit still in class wearing saddle shoes and a starched slip was punishment. Things actually got better when the rains came, because then I wasn’t longing to be outside.
Lunchtime was divided into those who brought sack lunches from home and those who bought lunch from the cafeteria. I was a sack lunch kid. My mother was either way ahead of her time or hopelessly old-fashioned depending upon your viewpoint. She had strong ideas about healthy food and kept close track of what went into our bodies. Only in times of family crisis did I ever eat a cafeteria lunch. Compared to my mother’s lovingly prepared sack lunches they came as quite a shock. The only white bread I had ever eaten was rustic homemade bread. I saw the Wonder Bread sandwiches that other kids were eating and felt so lucky. My sandwiches were stuffed with dinner leftovers, chunks of deer meat, fish- the other kids were eating bologna, and cheese that didn’t look like real cheese. Candy and soda pop? Hah! We had one soda pop a year- I always chose Orange Crush. Candy bars? We made fudge at home most Friday nights, why would I need a candy bar?
When you think about it, it isn’t so odd that I would become a Farmers Market manager. My parents instilled in me all the values of a thrifty, healthy lifestyle . My mother made good use of whatever bit of food or fabric that came her way. The food on our table was seasonal, much of it from the garden. Home canned fruits and vegetables lined the shelves in the basement, and she kept a locker at The Ice Palace for the grain fed beef, fish, and deer meat. She sewed most of the family clothes, even my fathers shirts. I loved my homemade clothes- but-
No one can make me wear saddle shoes ever again!
Barbara Bennett Parsons, born to be the manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market and Deidra’s Deli in Hoquiam! 538-9747 and the deli is 538-5880
Open 7 days a week now, at 1958 Riverside
Grays Harbor Public Market