My grandson, Robert, is graduating from sixth grade this year. It’s a big deal to him and his buds because they will be scattering to go to different schools, different sports teams, and probably different social activities, ones that include girls.
A couple of years ago, I tackled the task of sorting through reams of memorabilia from my parents house, and uncovered a number of things that I hadn’t even remembered existing. This picture of my sixth grade class was among the debris. My mother saved everything, but preserved almost nothing, but this reminder of my prepubescent self survived.
Graduation from sixth grade didn’t involve a major change for my class; I don’t even think there was any kind of celebration. We would move into the newly opened Bellingrath High School, but it was simply an extension of the building where most of us had attended elementary school. There were lockers and we changed classes, something Robert’s class has probably been doing since kindergarten, but it was more of the same. We had always been schooled with both sexes, something that began to cause chaos about sixth grade.
Miss Hunnicutt was a stern taskmaster, and our interests and libidos were beginning to run rampant by Spring of sixth grade. That was the year we discovered….fireballs! One classmate’s father owned a drug store, and Seabie had a small enterprise bringing candy to school and selling it to the rest of the class. Miss Hunnicutt definitely did not approve.
I was not a frequent customer of Seabie’s, but fireballs were very cool, and if you had a stash, you had friends. One day I placed an order for fifty fireballs and gave Seabie my dollar in payment. The next morning Miss Hunnicutt was on a rampage. There would be no more candy of any kind allowed at school. Oops…I had just tucked the crumpled paper bag with my treasure under my desk. I had visions of friends gathering round me on the playground to share, and I wasn’t giving those visions up easily.
As we flowed out of the classroom for recess, Miss Hunnicutt caught me red handed with the fireballs. I probably gave a smart reply, and the double whammy earned me a great big U in conduct for the term. My mother was not pleased either with the U or my smart mouth or my social interests. Back then, we got in much more trouble at home than ever at school.
I know Robert is a much better student than I ever dreamed of being, because I actually never dreamed about being a good student and he does. He will receive some honors at graduation as he does every year because he’s truly a wonderful young man. I hope he doesn’t discover temptations out there more dangerous than fireballs, and if he does, I hope his parents will give him more trouble than the school does.