I loved everything about Fifth Grade at Tayac Elementary School. I loved the row of windows trimmed in forest green that looked out upon the playground. I loved the flecked linoleum floor that was always shiniest on Monday mornings. I loved the big round clock above the classroom's chalkboard, and I loved my teacher, Mrs.Williams.
Mrs.Williams hair was slightly pink, and I loved this about her. She wore glasses that hung from a gold chain around her neck that were slipped on her nose when she wanted the class to come to attention. Mrs. Williams demanded excellence in her class, and we took this very seriously. We wanted to be the best class she had ever taught.
The first order of business each morning was the collection of our dimes for the Red Cross. Our dimes handed one by one to Mrs. Williams, an entry into our little log books, 10 cents paid on this day. When our books were filled, a little tin button to wear with pride.
Reading and writing, long division and fractions, history and science, we worked hard at them all. "This year will set the tone for all your school years to come." stated Mrs. Williams. "Do well here, and you will do well always."
The hours and days and months spent in Mrs. Williams classroom belonged to us alone. We were apart from our parents and strove to stand on our own. Everything seemed possible, and everything was because we were Fifth Graders at Tayac Elementary School.
School Valentines are my most favorite thing in the world. Scrawled signatures from classmates forever remembered in the heart for having shared such precious days together.
With each Valentine that I held in my hand while making these sweet ornaments, I said a prayer for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School knowing that their day began with love for their school and their teacher and their classmates; and I said a prayer that all children should be safe in their schools.