Tuesday, February 08, 2011


My first school in Boston was the Frank V.Thompson School which had
originally been a high school and was massive. It’s front entrance was
on Maxwell Street and the back fence bordered on Selden St. Basically
the school was only one block from our home which was only one house
away from the corner of Capen and Selden Sts. The Thompson was
very different from the Linden School in Malden.  It was old with huge
windows and old radiators that creaked. The desks were the old fashioned
kind with wrought iron legs and inkwells. There was no cafeteria and we
brought milk money to pay for our milk.

My first teacher there was Miss May, who was the vice principal and third
grade teacher. I’ve never forgotten the first day in class there. In Malden
they had been teaching us math in a new fashion, teaching us the
multiplication tables and long division at the same time. My first day there
I came into class in the middle of the math lesson. Miss May introduced
me to the class. Then she asked what number I was up to on the tables.

“We were up to doing the 4’s, Miss May.” The other kids laughed.

“”Only 4’s? What number are we up to, class? “

“8’s, Miss May!”

Of course, none of them could divide by 4, but it didn’t matter. Miss May
told my mother I’d need to catch up, and Mom took that seriously.
Unfortunately, our kitchen table math sessions didn’t go very well and
from that point on Math was my worst subject in school.

Miss May also has the dubious distinction of being the first teacher to
give me the rattan, which was administered on my open palm with a
ruler. I don’t remember the reason why I got it, just that it hurt like
hell. I made it my business to not get another one and managed to
avoid them for the rest of my years at the Thompson.

I should mention that while I can remember Miss May vividly I can’t
recall the name of my fourth grade teacher although I can see her face.
I had Miss Montesari in the fifth but don’t remember much about her,
either, but I recall my sixth grade teacher Mr Mombardi for reasons
I’ll discuss later. 

((388 Words))

Written for the Family History Writing Challenge.

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

I love your reminiscing, Bill. I also love your running totals of the words on the bottom of the post. This reminds me of my daughter in primary school, who when asked to write 250 words for school would put a period at the end of the 250th word- she was finished even if it was mid-sentence!