Third grade was really fun. The year was 1963, and I was learning all sorts of new things. We played great outdoor games, and had fun indoor activities in the classroom. Once again I was split between two different schools: Joseph Lane School then Samuel K. Barlow Elementary School. I started off at Lane School; I can't remember exactly how long I went there, but when I switched over to Barlow school, the weather was sunnier so I'm guessing it was springtime. My favorite things were all the new school supplies that mom got for us boys. Even the new notebook paper sealed in plastic seemed fun. Third grade was the first year we graduated from using the Big Chief writing tablet to standard notebook paper. Notebook paper was easier to erase.
One of my favorite memories is of a very cold morning walking to school with some friends. This memory stands out for me even to this day. We all stopped into a local neighborhood store near the school. I loaded up on a few of those giant grape gumballs. I can still taste them and see the fog of my breath as I laughed and talked with my friends. I was uniquely focused on just about everything but school. My feeling was this: if you had to be there, you might as well go prepared.
That's why I remember stopping at the corner store with the guys to load up on licorice, grape gumballs and other goodies that the school cafeteria did not stock. Remember when penny candy was still a penny? Such value was to be had for so little cash. We all ate Luden's Wild Cherry cough drops and Smith Brothers Licorice like they were candy, because basically, that's what they were.
Out of all the schools I attended, I really loved Sam Barlow Elementary. My third grade teacher's name was Mrs. Heer, and she was a great teacher. I went to Samuel K. Barlow elementary school. Barlow was one of my favorite schools, and our homeroom windows looked out to the playground and the massive baseball field where I walked home everyday.
We lived right behind the school, so it was just a matter of traversing the play field in order to get to school. It was a pretty long walk though-especially when it was really cold, or raining. This was the year I was introduced to the wonderful game of "Kickball". Kickball was just baseball using one's foot to kick the ball instead of a bat to whack the ball. Kickball guaranteed everyone a hit because it was near impossible to miss kicking a round school ball.
1963 was the year of two of America's greatest losses: President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. When President Kennedy was assassinated, many stores and most businesses shut down for an entire weekend in tribute. We wouldn't see that type of respect in today's world. Because of this, the event seemed so much more important to me-a third grade kid-than in retrospect, it probably should have. Stores closing meant something major was happening. In 1963, I was too young to truly appreciate Marilyn, but she interrupted mainstream television with the announcements of her death, and prompted a few specials. I had to assume that she was pretty darned important.
On the lighter side of the year, "Tab", the original diet cola, was introduced. Another wonderful discoverie was these delightful treats called Moon Pies. I especially the banana flavor! The summer of 1963 had me introduced to a new and different taste treat: mayonnaise sandwiches. A neighbor girl's mom told us how she would just spread mayonnaise on two slices of bread and eat it plain. We tried it, and it was great. It was around that time that I can recall having bread and sugar (buttered bread with sugar sprinkled on) and cinnamon toast. However, the mayonnaise sandwiches were indeed a work of art, and together, my friends and I had the whole neighborhood buzzing about how good mayonnaise was all by itself.