There were books always – first to be read to and eventually to read by one’s self. School also added writing – first in script and later in cursive. Penmanship was a subject. Letters to Santa and diaries became part of the experience. My father had become manager of a local insurance company as its thirteenth employee – lucky for him in fact because later he became its president and chairman of a company that is now one of Canada’s larger property and casualty ones. He had befriended the local printing shop and provided a set of letterhead for six year olds who attended the local school entitled, The Suddaby Girls – designating myself as president, and classmates in traditional offices. We are naïve to think that we are not programmed for our future very early in life.
The rest of grade school is something of a blur. Even then though, one’s life was subject to social media; and the 1943 newspaper published the names of all children who had passed to the next grade in school. It shows how small the reach of the media world was, when a local paper could devote a couple of full pages to the results of every grade school classroom in a twin city market of about 60,000 people. What it may say is that local newspapers really were social media then. To this day I can put a face to about 90% of the names on this class list. It helps to have retained the earlier kindergarten picture where my father helpfully wrote the names on the kids on the back of it. I also ran into 9 of those same kids at the 125th reunion of my high school 37 years later.