Friday, July 16, 2010

Fourth Grade

Somewhere back in May or June, we were following the Boy through school, a grade at a time.. I believe we got through third grade. Moving on, here are some reflections on fourth grade.

The little guy was still attending Washington School in Canon City. He still enjoyed recess time, with the marbles as the high point of the school day. And as we observed about his third grade teacher, the name of the fourth grade teacher is completely lost in the mists of flawed memory.

There were, though, some memorable events in the life of this nine-year old boy. It was during this year that the Boy began to take notice of girls as something other than just kids. There was one young thing in particular whom he noticed to an extreme. He sat mesmerized, mooning, one might say, over the very sight of this vision of loveliness. Her name was Betty. The conclusion of fourth grade was the end of any contact or knowledge of her whereabouts that the Boy had.

But, alas, Betty had eyes only for Jerry. Little flirt. Always... Anyway, Jerry was the son of the city's Firechief. Early training in rejection and dealing with the pain thereof.

Every Tuesday, each child brought to school a dime or dimes. Mid-morning, they all walked together in a rigid little line, two-by-two, the two blocks to the post office. There each one walked up to the counter in his turn and purchased a "war stamp." This, in its turn, was pasted into a booklet, which when filled, was turned in for a war bond. The Boy doesn't remember whether he ever completed a booklet or not. Bonds could be purchased in denominations as low as ten dollars which cost $7.50 and would be worth ten dollars at maturity.

Economic note: $7.50 in 1943 would be equivalent to about $95.00 in today's money. Which is to say, it would cost you more than a buck and a quarter to buy a '43 dime's worth of merchandise. It was, I think, in late '42 or early '43 that the price of a loaf of Wonder Bread at the corner grocery went from eight to nine cents. When I was sent to the store with a dime to fetch that loaf of bread, I would ask Mama if I could "spend the pennies." Often the answer was "No".


Secondary Roads said...

Few memories of 1943 remain. I would start kindergarten two years later. Your stories of school years are very interesting.

Vee said...

I remember the dimes for war stamps and wonder now how the folks afforded sending dimes to school with each of us. I also remember losing the "token" when I was sent to the store for bread and the ensuing search by the family between home and the store. We never found it. Quite a trama to lose one of those tokens and I felt appropiately guilty.

vanilla said...

That's okay, Chuck. We older guys will guide you through it.

Vee, that token was worth one mill, which means in today's money a bit over 1.25 cents. I think you can drop your load of guilt now. Thanks for the reminder, though. I had forgotten the tax token. I remember when they switched from aluminum to plastic coinage. War effort, you know.