Tuesday, June 7, 2011

RemembeRED: Things I Remember

NOTE: This week, as the school year is wrapping up and we're on the cusp of summer, we've decided to go easy on you. We want to know what, from your childhood, do you still know by heart?

Every morning at Atlas Nursery School in El Paso, Texas, all of the children in my classroom stood, faced the flag, and put our hands over our hearts. We would then, as a group, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, after which we would all sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee".

We did this every day of school that year, at least the parts I can remember.

I don't remember actually learning these two things, a pledge and a song. I just remember saying them every morning, as if they mysteriously planted themselves in my brain. Knowing what I know now about learning, I imagine that the teacher spent quite a bit of time helping us to memorize the Pledge, then the song, so we could stand there every morning. Repetition works best in these situations, and with this age group.

I imagine that we repeated the words that the teacher read to us.

Then we did it again.

And again.

And again, until we all had it.

If there were any stragglers, the rest of us likely glared at them, because that meant that we had to repeat the whole thing over yet again. EVERYONE had to be able to say these two items. I am not sure why, but this was very important to the teacher, and we all wanted to please her.

To this day, when I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I immediately want to launch into "My Country 'Tis of Thee", like someone who has been programmed. This makes it difficult for me, because the great state of Texas, not satisfied with just one pledge, mandated that all public school children must also recite the Texas pledge. It's sometimes embarrassing that I begin to sing "My..." when everyone else is saying "Honor The Texas Flag." But I've adjusted.

I wonder now if my teacher left work vowing that she NEVER wanted to hear "My Country 'Tis of Thee" again. Did that song become nails on a chalkboard for her? Was that her Kryptonite? I hope that the school changed the song the following year, for her sake.


  1. I remember singing our National Anthem every morning (Canadian anthem) and then launching into the Lord's Prayer. I never went to church so this was my only relationship with anything religious...and it always felt odd on my lips.

    However, to this day I can still recite the Lord's Prayer. Gotta love that repetition :)

    Visiting from RDC

  2. I almost wrote about the Pledge of Allegiance, too. Mostly because we stop saying it after elementary school - it's not like the National Anthem that we recite from time to time. But we all still remember it!

  3. When I moved to the US from Australia I would start the anthem with "God save our gracious queen..." Same tune. Boy did I get some looks. Thanks for a rekindled memory!

  4. Such a vivid memory I think so many of us share! I remember standing and saying the pledge every day as well. Though we didn't sing.

    I can, however, play My Country Tis of Thee on the piano. It is one of 3 songs I still remember!

  5. OMG I am embarrassed at what I can remember! At age 5 I remember the first song I learned in kindergarten about a puppy named "Spot"...I can sing it word for word....

    From about age 5 or 6 I remember the "Swing" poem from the Robert Louis Stevenson poem book. I had to learn it for a children's birthday TV show I was on in Pittsburgh.

    Last but not least. Growing up from age 2 til age 7 we lived in Pittsburgh and I can remember the song we had to sing every morning in class called "Pennsylvania"....I still know THAT word for word too!

    Can't remember what I have to do tomorrow but I can remember those things!

  6. What a great memory. And I can hear the pledge now.

    How patriotic! I love how realistic the memory is--especially the part about how frustrated the rest of the class would be with the stragglers.


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