Retro First Day of School

Fair Haven Kindergarten class in 1965 walking on the rope to the Youth Center Photo/courtesy of Diane Smith Carmona
Fair Haven Kindergarten class in 1965 walking on the rope to the Youth Center
Photo/courtesy of Diane Smith Carmona

“But I don’t wanna walk on the rope next to her!” I cried from under my fresh-cut kindergarten bangs. “I wanna walk on the rope next to Pam!”

Pam was my neighbor. She was my best buddy.

It was 1965. Our Fair Haven kindergarten class was the last to have its first year of school at what was called the Youth Center, now the Fair Haven Police Station and Community Center on Fisk Street.

We kindergarteners were also the last to be tugged down the street on a rope, yes a rope, headed by an official-looking police-type lady.

I forget what her name was, but she scared the bejesus out of us, especially a determined mini me. No, not much has changed.

However, that rope would have probably somehow been considered inhumane now, I’m thinking. Hey, they needed to keep us walking in tow.

And, guess what? They did, despite the fact that this one little girl’s small world was turned topsy turvy because she couldn’t walk next to Pam.

There were loops for our little hands to grasp onto on either side of the rope.

You see, no one drove anyone to school then.

You could say that we were more environmentally conscious. Or you could just say that we were probably poorer. Simple.

No one drove kids to school, mostly because there was only one car per family. There was no Third Street congestion problem. Nope.

Granted, a lot of moms stayed home. And when the dads went to work, unless they worked close enough to come home for lunch, mom didn’t have a car until after 5 p.m.

If moms worked, dads dropped them off and picked them up or vice versa. A lucky few had two cars. So, needless to say, the transportation for kids was that rope. That lady picked us all up, as I recall, on Hance Road somewhere.

That rope — well, that was our kiddie bus. And we liked it — sorta. We just had to.

This 1965 kindergarten class in the Retro Pic of the Day was the last to take the daily rope trek to the Youth Center.

Front and center in this photo, taken by the family of Diane Smith Carmona, are Frank Buchanan and Bobby McLellan. They’re holding the loops, but not looking all too pleased about it. I’m pitching a fit somewhere in the back. School days, rope days …

Imagine that. Mommy drops you off at the rope, not the bus, and you have to walk to school next to someone you didn’t know until the first day of school?

Oh, the trauma of it all. I guess they thought we’d be trouble makers. I wasn’t even allowed to sit near Pam in class!

Whaaaaaaa! How was your child’s first day without a rope?