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School days come for some and return for others

Aug. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

In just a few days students in our county will go to school for the very first time. Thousands will return for another year. Most will be going to public schools, some to church-related schools, others to private schools and many will be home schooled.

Years ago, I learned some words about school that were something like, "School days, school days, good old golden rule days and reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick."

I recall my first day of school 78 years ago. I would like to know about your experiences of your first day that you share with your children/grandchildren along with this column.

My teacher that first year was Mabel Cole McBrayer. Prior to her marriage, Mabel Cole and my mother, Goldie Perry, had gone to school together. Mrs. McBrayer's father was J. W. Cole, a kind and caring man who was our Sunday School superintendent. Mr. Cole had been crippled in a coal mining accident. He had a bad limp and always used his cane.

Charles "Chuck" McBrayer, my close friend during my school days, was a founder of Clingenpeel McBrayer & Associates and a long-time resident of Scott Depot with his wife, Doris. Their daughter, Renay, reminds me so much of her daddy. Mabel Cole had married Chuck's older brother, Howard.

We never worried much about new clothes except for a new pair of "bib-overalls" to go with the old ones I already had. Many of the elementary school girls in our area knew about dresses made from colorful "cow feed sacks."

I recall that first day dressed in the "bib style overalls," my best shirt and a necktie. Before I walked five minutes to school, I received final instructions from my mother about the day. They were plain to me and easy to follow. "The first time you get out of class, eat your lunch and the second time you get out, you come home." I remembered exactly what mom said. We had morning recess and I ate my lunch even though I was not very hungry. That next time we got out, I headed for home and arrived to mom's surprise. After further discussion and another sandwich, I was on my way back to school. Mom had learned that I would do exactly what she said.

Here are some tips for any student of any grade or age.

1. Follow instructions from both parents and teachers.

2. Once home, a quick snack and then get busy with homework - chores and school work.

3. Read good biographical and historical books and the Bible.

4. Eat nutritious food, drink lots of water, get plenty of exercise and sleep.

5. Keep slang, gossip and profanity out of your vocabulary.

6. Avoid drugs, alcohol and loose living. Be a disciplined person.

7. Shun sexual temptations.

My best advice to children, youth and adults of any age is in Matthew 6:33, which has Jesus saying "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Excellent advice for all of us.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist who can be reached at P.O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560; phone 304-757-6089.