Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Golden Rule

Me. Far right, second row. Renee, directly behind me.
One of us was perfectly dressed.
It wasn't me.

I'm a horrible person.
I mocked/made-fun-of someone.
I have repented.

It was my first day of school.
I was breathlessly, happily, finally in grade one.
I had just enjoyed my first bus ride.
It was bumpy and dusty.
But magical.
I had been duly delivered to the sidewalk outside my brand new school.
Where I stood in indecision.
Okay. The other kids were lining up at the doors.
I followed.
A tall, slender woman was calling for all of the "Grade Ones!"
I saw several kids about my size line up beside her.
I followed.
The bell rang and Miss Warnoski turned and went into the school.
We all followed.
In Miss Warnoski's room, we toted our book bags (mine was homemade by my Mom) to our first desk.
I was in the second row.
Second seat back.
It had my name pasted onto it.
D-i-a-n-e S-t-r-i-n-g-a-m. I spelled it out by tracing with a finger.
Yep. That's me!
I watched to see what the other kids were doing.
Okay. I could do that.
I began to pull out thick, red pencils and half-lined scribblers.
Cool. There was a cubbyhole under the desktop that could hold a mountain of stuff.
Soon it was home to my stuff.
I hung my bag over the seat back, sat down at my desk, folded my hands together on top, and let my legs swing.
School was a breeze.
Miss Warnoski began to teach.
Okay, not such a breeze.
Then, it was time to line up for Recess.
Capital 'R'.
The great unknown.
I followed.
We filed back outside. And kids began to run and play.
This was Recess?
Pffff. What was I worried about?
This was just like playing with kids at home.
In fact, I recognized some of the kids from playing at home.
Suddenly I was in my element.
And that's when the trouble started.
I should point out, here, that I didn't always get into trouble during recess.
It just seems like it.
Moving on . . .
There was a tall, very slender girl in my new class.
She had long, silky, platinum-blond hair, perfectly groomed.
And she was dressed in the very pinnacle of fashion.
Something that would remain a trademark with her throughout our school years.
And something that would pass me by throughout . . . you get the picture.
Today, she had on a poofy pink dress.
Which I secretly thought was very pretty.
And of which two or three of the other kids were making fun.
They called out jeers and snide remarks.
A five-year-old's version of insulting.
And none of which I can remember.
Probably a good thing.
But it looked like fun!
I would join in.
"Renee, you look like a big, poofy candy floss!"
Renee just smiled. As she had been doing all along.
And suddenly, I didn't feel all that clever.
In fact, I felt stupid.
I had made fun of someone.
And I didn't like it.
I handled my new feelings of embarrassment and chagrin with aplomb and maturity.
I went and hid.
Till the bell rang and Miss Warnoski came to gather all of us.
I've forgotten much of what I was taught in grade one, I'm sure, but one thing stayed with me.
Don't say anything you wouldn't want said to you.
Okay, I never had to worry about anyone teasing me about my 'candy floss' dress. Or any dress for that matter.
But you get the point.


  1. Oh, to be our 1st grade selves again! It's funny how you almost feel like you are there re-living the event all over again when you think about it, don't you think? I always feel like I'm right back there all over again. As I read this post it made me remember what my six year old self felt like - just like it was yesterday. It sounds like you were just as tenderhearted at that age as I was!

  2. What a mature young lady to just smile at your taunts. Always the best response.

  3. I wish everyone would have learned that lesson in 1st grade!

  4. Diane, if I could have a conversation with my six year old self, I'd tell her to be more like Renee and wear pink, poufy dresses. I spent all grade school, middle school and most of high school in a school uniform and now it's too late to wear pink, poufy dresses. Well, I could, but I'm sure many women would tell me I look like big, poofy candy floss. And at this stage in my life, I might fight them instead of smiling like Renee! hee hee! I absolutely loved this post, lady! You had me giggling, pondering, and thinking. A winning combination if you ask me! :)

  5. I have tagged you for the 7x7 links challenge if you would like to participate. Info on my blog.

  6. Wow! What a great lesson to learn so young ....

  7. A lesson many adults still have yet to learn!

    Thanks for linking up with NOBH!


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