Letter from Udell Cunningham, November 2005 Part 9

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Back when I went to Texas schools we had “grade” school for grades 1-7. High school was 8-11. Yes, only 11 years then. Grade seven was very tough. Too many subjects were crammed in one year. There was no kindergarten in public schools. The schools also had the rule that you must be six by the 1st of September. School started on the first Monday in September, and the school term usually ended in the middle of May.

I can claim the distinction of getting a whipping on the very first day of school. Yeah, my very first day of school. Everything went great until recess. We first graders were told to play on the east side of the buildings, near the swings and see-saws. Well, Alvin [my grandfather’s older brother] was on the west side, so I went over there. The school was unloading supplies off a horse-drawn wagon. Now I thought that would be a nice place to play, so I climbed on the wagon. A mean-spirited sixth grade teacher thought otherwise. She dragged me in the building and set my ass upon a heating radiator about four feet tall and told me she was going to tell my teacher about me. She went to the corner of the hall and stepped aside in another hall. Well, I could still see her fat ass protruding — she then returned and said my teacher told me to get back where I belonged. I told her, “Don’t lie to me, I saw you down there at the corner.” Well, I got my butt warmed — and another when I got home.

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