Memories of childhood provide school lessons


MY MOTHER MADE perfect cinnamon toast for breakfast most mornings, so I'm not sure why my twin sister, Sarah, and I made it a tradition to wing it behind this one bush before we got to the bus stop. But we did.

Mom's cinnamon toast had just the right amount of butter (globs), sugar (tons), and cinnamon (a tad), but as a bonding ritual, we always sent it sailing behind that bush.

"I saw the strangest thing when I went out on a walk," my mother said one morning. "A big pile of cinnamon toast was under the bush behind the neighbor's house. Anyone know about that toast?"

Of course, not one of her seven toast recipients confessed. For the next few weeks, she got us up earlier to eat oatmeal, as a family, at the table.

Behind most of our childhood memories rests a sound moral. For example, from my cinnamon toast tale, I hope my children realize that it is important for children to start each day with a good meal.

An equally important lesson is that good parents eventually find out about everything, so don't be sneaky.

In celebration of the first day of school, here are memories and advice from parents, teachers and administrators throughout Central Carroll.

Principals remember

Barbara Walker, principal, Runnymede Elementary School: "When I went to school on the first day of first grade, somehow I ended up in a second-grade class for several hours. My mother, who was quite anxious, kept peeking in the door of the first-grade class to see me."

The teacher kept trying to ignore her mother.

"Finally, my mother let her know that I was missing. When they found me in the wrong class and took me back to the first grade, I thought I got a raw deal. The second-grade teacher had already distributed crayons and when I sat down in first-grade class, there were no crayons yet."

Richard Huss, principal, Charles Carroll Elementary School: "At the time, I didn't consider this a positive experience, but I had a fifth-grade teacher named Mrs. Doak, who invited me to join her (and other students) at the school on Saturdays to work on my multiplication skills.

"Looking back, I realize that by giving up her Saturdays, Mrs. Doak was making a great contribution."

Patricia Brink, principal, St. John Catholic School:

"I remember finally opening a kindergarten in one of my new schools. The first week's theme was Meeting New Friends, and as a new friend, the pastor of the parish came to visit the students.

"Then, as principal, I did. When the children lined up to go home, we both went back to say goodbye. The pastor asked the children if they remembered who we were. One child remarked, 'The prince and the princess.' "

William Pearre, principal, Winfield Elementary School:

"I remember how proud I felt when my parents came in and volunteered in school. And so my message to parents is to get involved in your children's education."

Robert Bonner, principal, Westminster Elementary School: "As a principal, I've enjoyed the interaction I have with the students through the reading-incentive programs. I have roller-skated around the school, Rollerbladed, and worn a gorilla costume.

"It helped to go into a different light with the students, to be FTC taken out of the role of the normal principal."

Jane Farver, vice principal, Friendship Elementary School: "I remember being in the first class to graduate from South Carroll High School and taking part in the selection of the school colors, the mascot, the motto and the name of the yearbook.

"My advice to students of all ages is to set goals, work hard to reach them, and learn from others."

Barbara Weber, director, Main Street Early Learning Center: "I see so many terrified parents on the first day of school. My advice to kindergarten parents is to be excited about school with your children and be positive. Don't let them see your fear. It transfers to the children."

A parent remembers

Claudia Rogers, Westminster mother:

"I remember being split up from my friends in the fourth grade. I thought I was put into a different class because I was stupid, but I was wrong.

"I ended up having a great year and making friends with people I never would have made friends with before. Also, I learned that the bookworms always make the best husbands and the best kung pao chicken."

Wine festival volunteers

About 900 volunteers will be needed to ensure that this year's Maryland Wine Festival runs smoothly.

The festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 19, and noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at Carroll County Farm Museum.

Volunteers will be needed to sell tickets, check identification and help with other duties.

Volunteers will receive a free one-day admission to the festival, a commemorative wine glass and free wine sample tickets.

Information: 410-848-7775.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 8/24/98

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