Sprague Elementary School was small, with one class for each grade. Fields and hills surrounded the schoolyard. During recess little boys and girls explored the woods, and played kickball. At noon, they walked home for lunch, and then walked back to school.
Now there are three classes in each grade. Kids bring or buy lunch at school. Hills are flattened, and woods have nearly disappeared. There are walk-to-school days once a month. It is a big deal. Kids win a tiny plastic footie for each walk.
As a reward for good behavior, the schoolgirls had a field trip to the Fenway Park. Ten girls sat in a straight row on the metal seats, their skirts perfectly smooth. They looked down at the dark green grass of the baseball field, bewildered that they got to be so close to the action. The baseball players were already practicing. A player looked up, waved at the girls, signed a ball and threw it at the girls. However the girls were confused. They ducked as the baseball was flying toward them in an arc. A big man swished down from behind, grabbed the ball, and left.
A longtime resident remembered watching Father Goose at the Playhouse. They walked there from the school with the police. It was a big day for everyone.
Nowadays the town has designated crossing guards before school starts and at dismissal.
In the past, the 6th grade kids used to take on the job. It was called “safety Patrol,” and the kids considered doing it a “great honor.”
Snow days without cellphone messages?
-- No problem.
-- At 7:00am, the fire siren would sound.
The big kids woke up to the siren and fell back to sleep; the little kids woke up to the siren and went out to build a snowman.
The Wellesley Middle School used to have 7th-9th graders. Now it has 6th-8th graders.
-- A sure sign kids got more mature sooner?