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Pamela Loxley Drake wishes kids a happy back-to-school. Unfortunately, her own memories of school are less fond.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeAfter Labor Day, my grandtwins begin fifth grade. A transitional year.

They love school, well, maybe not as much as summer vacation. Everything all new again. New teacher, new classroom, maybe new students.

Hopefully, they will continue to love school and not repeat shades of their MeMe's experience.

My dislike of school began in the first grade. Yep, I'm pretty sure it did. I was one of those kids who hid behind their mom when meeting new people. Oh boy, was I ever shy. And much to my dismay, Mom was not going to be in school with me when things were a bit tedious. I was on my own.

Now, Loxley girls were not allowed to get into trouble. We were, as we were told, reflections of our humble family standard, so we could have no pride in ourselves or think that we might even be nice-looking or be smart.

However, dumb and dumpy would not have been something to be proud of either, but I stray here. That's another story.

My first-grade teacher was Mrs. Delaplaine. She had the classic teacher look and was seemingly kind.

I sat in the back row across from my friend Vivian. Vivian was so much fun and was quite the giggler. We had sleepovers often.

Viv was a sleepwalker. One night, we tied our feet together with a nylon stocking, so I could see where she wandered in her sleep. The next morning, the nylon was behind the door and Vivian was clueless. The girl was great fun.

I seem to be wandering myself, so back to the story.

Well, the fact is that I ended up (by some unknown misdemeanor) standing in the corner in front of my classmates. Where was Mom when I needed her!? How did I end up in the corner!? What was my horrible infraction!? I didn't put a frog in my teacher's desk! I didn't know how to make a spit wad! I didn't say any dirty words, because I didn't know any, except for one my sisters taught me to say in front of company. Mom could have killed me.

Oops, here I go again. As you can tell, this story brings up a lot of past angst.

Being that it happened a long time ago and after years of contemplation, I believe that Vivian was to blame. Vaguely, I remember a note traveling my direction that landed on the floor. I leaned over to retrieve it. After that, the next few minutes were a blur. Leave it to Viv to get me into trouble. Leave it to me to be dumb enough to pick up the note. Leave it to the teacher to stand me in the corner. The corner of "I don't think I will ever like school again."

There was much to be said about standing in that corner next to the window. First of all, it got me out of schoolwork. Secondly, it gave me time to contemplate my future, the one from age 6 on.

Of course, there was the negative side. For someone who hid behind her mother most of her long life, I was faced, er, backsided, in front of the entire class. I knew they were all looking at me.

Was my hair messy? Was my dress wrinkled? Were my socks pulled up?

Oh, first grade, you were cruel.

There is a moral in all of this, but I have yet to discover exactly what it is. For you kids starting school this fall, good luck.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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