Back to School, Back to Memories of School Days– Mid Century!

In “the old days” school started every year the day after Labor Day.  School seems to start earlier and earlier every year recently. Parents seem to scramble to get that last beach or park day in before mid August. Summer vacations peak in July and school supplies hit the market the day after 4th of July!  The world is moving faster and faster, according to the seniors who spent some time reminiscing about school days and how it was in the 1940’s and 50’s. So much has changed. They agreed they somehow had it better than youngsters today. Perhaps, they said, because it was simpler living. You be the judge after enjoying their stories.

Earl (R) shares his Tennessee story with Dolores and Thomas who attended parochial schools in Chicago.

Residences Senior Living “Students” Attended Schools in Various Locales

Although they are presently located here, in Northwest Indiana’s premier senior living communities, many residents interviewed attended schools in the Chicago area as well as in the Hammond area. One of the most fascinating memories comes from Earl, who grew up for a while in Speedwell, Tennessee. 

“I was in the third grade and I’ll never forget seeing a tree with carving on it. It read ‘I killed a bare here’ and it was signed ‘Daniel Boone.’ It’s still there.  I knew history when I was in elementary school  because my ancestors came from Bavaria and we were related to King Ludwig II. We moved to Michigan. I attended Detroit College of Applied Industrial Engineering. I had a job that managed the A&P in Michigan.”

Many residents attended parochial schools in the Chicago area. One couple, Dolores and Thomas, started laughing good-naturedly as they recalled school life with the nuns who were in charge of their respective elementary schools. Dolores recalls the nuns waiting for the bell to ring so the students could go home. She had a story about a boy waiting in line, probably 3rd or 4th grade, who had a button come off his coat. “He put the button in his mouth and swallowed it,” she laughs.

Thomas confessed “I was in ’that room’ a lot. That’s where the nuns put you when you acted up, or ‘you got the ruler’!”  He also recalls the time in 1st or 2nd grade when a new nun came to teach at his school. “She asked the other nuns ‘How are you handling these thugs?’ and they replied ‘Oh, they’re just angels!’” Thomas got a real kick out of remembering that story!  He said he attended four different schools before going on to study at Loyola University where he achieved a Master’s Degree and became a salesman for the 3M Company where he worked for 35 years. 

Theresa’s story got a laugh from her son Patrick during a game of Bingo.

Theresa, on the other hand, must have been a dream student at St. Peter and Paul School in Chicago.  It was an all-girls school. She recalls one of the nuns liked to play a trick on the students by asking how to spell Constantinople. As she would begin to spell the word she would get to “no” and the nun would say “no, ple” to try to trip her up. Nevertheless, Theresa was in Honor Society. She recalls playing volleyball in the park.  She had another story about the nuns. The students would collect stamps, sell them for a penny, and give the money to the nuns to help them with their convent.

Phyllis enjoyed high school at Bowen in Chicago so much, she became a teacher.

Phyllis attended school in Chicago, and fondly remembers how much she loved Bowen High School and the teachers she described as being great. She enjoyed every subject. These great teachers inspired her to become a teacher. During her career she taught many subjects and felt an obligation to be part of a good support system for the students. Her high school experience was truly positive and created a desire to pay it forward.

Back to Indiana!  Peggy had a memory taking her back to 1st grade. It was on a cold day in Walkerton. Everyone ran out for recess really fast, but Peggy stopped at her locker to grab her coat. When she was outside, she realized it did not seem to fit. She couldn’t understand it; it was her red coat. Just then she saw another girl, trying to figure out what was wrong with the fit of her coat. It was also red. The two shared the same locker; each in their haste, had pulled out the wrong coat. They shared a laugh and exchanged coats.

Rosemary recalled that ‘back in the day’, her high school, Bishop Noll in Hammond, was called Catholic Central. She says there were no uniforms then and every year before school began, her mother would take her to “The Loop” to buy clothes in Chicago’s Rothschild shop. It was a trip that excited her every year. She liked school “a lot” and English was her favorite class subject.

Larry was a high school athlete at Hammond Clark; football and track memories are tops for him.

Larry also attended school in Hammond. His elementary school was St. Kasmir and he remembers how he and his friends would always be yelling outside the school. He played football for Hammond Clark High School as well as running track. He recalls the bus rides for practice because he enjoyed them.

Lettie (L) made her story of school in Columbia sound like a typical American school. Peggy didn’t hear much difference from her experience in Walkerton, Indiana.

Lettie wins the proverbial prize for her school life—the furthest away from her current home in Northwest Indiana! Lettie is from Columbia! Her description of school life is much like any of the other residents at Residences Senior Living. She says she liked the teachers, even the principal, and going to school in general. She recalled how much she enjoyed the football games—although football in other countries is soccer as compared to football in the USA.

Stories are Key to Well-Being

Sharing memories is important to seniors and their families, too.  Having that opportunity is part of the lifestyle Residences Senior Living seeks to provide on a daily basis as well as for holiday celebrations and special programs inviting family and friends.

 Every day residents enjoy each other’s company. They dine together and stay a while to share life stories, talk about local news, or families and friends. They often gather in the Bistro or other cozy settings throughout each floor. There are patios for get-togethers when it’s fine weather outdoors.  Chatting, laughing, listening to each other, whether a part of the care team or a resident, makes all the difference. “Everyone seems to care for each other here,” as a new care team member so aptly described the friendly atmosphere. “That’s why I made the decision to accept a position here,” she added.  Mission accomplished! 

Whenever it’s Back to School time, the stories and nostalgia begin as well. Everyone has school days memories. Occasionally there’s a memory that brings a cringe, but all-in-all the memories are about those “good old days” when being a kid was mostly care-free, without the responsibilities of what current generations now call “adulting.”

Of course there has been so much that has changed since residents at Residences Senior Living attended school. But it appears there will always be funny stories, recollections about being a real scamp as a kid, and a true appreciation for the teachers that made a difference and are remembered still.  Thanks to our residents for all the great stories. It’s enough to make you want to go “Back to School!”

We invite tours and will be glad to meet you any day of the week! Give us a call (800) 557-9176 or visit our website for a peek into the lifestyle or career opportunity we offer.

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