Mommy’s Piggy Tales: First Grade, a New Addition, and the Bicentennial

Janna of Mommy’s Piggy Tales began a project to share our youth with our children. Every Thursday, I will tell a story about my childhood as if I were telling it to my children. At the end of this project, I’ll have a collection of stories about my childhood for my children to keep, and hopefully treasure.

* * * * * 
I have been paging through my baby book often as I try to remember my youth. I love to read Grandma Loreeta’s graceful handwriting on each page. I miss Grandma so very much.
Aunt Meredith’s first day of Kindergarten, and Mommy’s first day of First Grade
We are standing by the front door of the parsonage where we lived in our small town.
My first grade teacher was also the organ player at our church, and so I knew her very well. Grandma Loreeta sang solos at weddings and funerals, and we were always going up to the balcony so that Grandma could practice her singing with the church organist. Once I tripped up the steps and hit my head on the old, metal radiator. Mrs. Jansen drove us to the hospital 35 miles away while Grandma held my head in her lap with a damp washcloth on the cut. I had to get a few stitches that day.

Mrs. Jansen lived on a dairy farm. Once she brought a jar of cream to our classroom, straight from a cow. My classmates and I all took turns shaking the jar. When we opened it, there was a lump of creamy butter. We spread the butter on crackers and ate it. It tasted so fresh and delicious!

Early one morning, I woke up and saw an unfamiliar figure walk by my room. It didn’t look like Grandma or Grandpa — who could it be? I wasn’t scared; I knew that it had to be a neighbor who came over to watch us. Grandma was having a baby. Uncle Jamie was born that January morning. Our old playroom became his bedroom, but your Aunt Meredith and I didn’t care. We were so excited to have a new baby brother!
The year I was in first grade was such an exciting year for our small town, and for the whole country. We were celebrating the Bicentennial of the United States of America! Our country was 200 years old. I played the part of Betsy Ross in a play at school.  I even got to reprise my role as Betsy Ross that summer. I sat on a float and pretended to sew a flag during the Fourth of July parade. Grandma sewed herself, Aunt Meredith and me matching colonial dresses, complete with mop caps, for all of us to wear during that year-long celebration.

There were Bicentennial quarters, half-dollars and dollars. There were Bicentennial Ball jars. Here are a couple of reproductions I bought somewhere a few years ago:

On Saturday mornings, Schoolhouse Rock had a series of segments created especially for the Bicentennial. My favorite (along with everyone else!) was called “I’m Just a Bill”.

1976 is a great year to remember! Do you remember 1976 and the Bicentennial?


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10 Responses to Mommy’s Piggy Tales: First Grade, a New Addition, and the Bicentennial

  1. I made butter by shaking a jar of cream with my middle school students when I was teaching about colonial America! They were super-impressed!

  2. I love this series. It's like looking through a photo album…

    I was only one during the bicentennial, so there's little there for me. But I was a huge fan of the Schoolhouse Rock series. I bought a DVD of all the episodes for the kids, even now, those educational songs are just too catchy to resist. Unforgettable.

  3. I definitely do not remember the Bicentennial since I was born that year, but my dad held onto some memorabilia from the time. Lots of disco… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great pictures and the story about the cream? No one could ever get away with that these days! I miss the good ole days.

  4. Well I was -1 for the Bicentennial but I do remember Schoolhouse Rock and the Bill cartoon, wonder where I saw that at?I love reading your old stories….

  5. I don't really remember doing anything special for the Bicentennial, but we still have a collection of the quarters and half dollars.I remember School House Rock coming on during the commercial during the after school special when I was a kid. My kids still enjoy watching it & I think "I'm just a Bill" is all of our favorite too.The picture from your baby book is adorable, you are so lucky to have that.

  6. I think I remember that Schoolhouse Rock show but admittedly I don't remember the Bicentennial. What fun memories of everything! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Oh love this…of course my husband graduated from college in 1976!!! I graduated from high school in 1979! I remember the Bicentennial, and school house rock.Love the pictures…love your baby book, I have been going through mine, few words, but I didn't do baby books for my children…guilt trip!Enjoying this journey with you…great post,Janette

  8. I remember the Bicentennial! I was 10 years ago and we traveled to Tulsa, OK to see the special Freedom Train that was passing through. I don't remember the jars, but always loved Schoolhouse Rock. Have even used it with my kids when they were younger. Great memories today!

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