As seniors we have a lot of memories stored away in the recesses of our brains. Some of the things we've retained are unreal and yet others that we thought we'd remember forever are gone. How does our brain decide which items it will keep and then those that it will erase?

I remember those wooden desks at school and they had a hole in the upper right hand corner for ink. No ballpoint pens back then, we used pens with a metal point to write with. The pen had to be dipped into the ink bottle often to write anything of length. Of course, nasty boys would put the pigtail of girls in the desks in front of them into the ink if they could. I never had pigtails, so I didn't have to worry about that stunt.

Slides in the playgrounds were all made of metal back then and, of course, girls had to wear skirts or dresses. That made going down the slides a painful experience for us, especially in the summertime when they got to be close to 90 degrees in the sun.

At least in the wintertime we got to wear our warm snow pants over our skirts or dresses. That was a great lifesaver when it came to falling while ice skating or even in the snow. We had to remove them in the classrooms, but were allowed to put them back on to go outside and play.

In South Dakota schools, we even outstretched our arms toward the American flag during part of the Pledge of Allegiance. That practice was quickly stopped because it resembled the Germans' outstretched arms during World War II. People that I've talked with about this being done in other states have said that they never heard of it.

Do you remember, without going to look it up, who was the vice president of the United States in 1952? Can you recall the names of any of the Olympic medal winners from the 2008 Olympic Games or where they where held? How about what movie won the Oscar for best picture in 1950? Could you name the best actor or best actress for that year as well?

One thing we can all remember for sure is the teacher who impressed us and helped us the most during our formative school days. That's a name we will never forget and we still hold them dear to our hearts. I wonder now if any of those teachers realized just how important they were to us then.

So, do teachers now leave such lasting impressions on their students? I know at least one that has retired now, but when she was still teaching her students loved her. I had a young boy visiting me one day with his dad, when they walked outside he saw my neighbor, Ann Custer, across the street. The boy's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and he yelled out to her, "Miss Ann." He looked at me and asked if he could go over and see her and of course I agreed. His feet hardly touched the ground as he happily galloped across the street yelling, "Miss Ann, Miss Ann." I hope she remembers the joy he felt that day from knowing how fondly he remember her; I will never forget it.

Teachers are very important to today's youth as well as they were to us, and I can't help but to wonder if they realize it. Bless all of them for it's their job to help shape tomorrow's leaders.

A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at carolleeolson@aol.com.

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