When we were in grade school, the one thing we looked forward to was graduating from eighth grade and going to high school. You start that journey in the first grade and it builds up for the next eight years. I don’t think grade schools even have graduation from eighth grade now, but in my day, it was a very big event.
On the day of graduation, the gymnasium was all cleaned and decorated for the graduation ceremony. That job kind of fell to the seventh grade class; but, it wasn’t all bad because we got out of class for the day.
What also fell to the seventh grade was that four lucky girls would be picked as ushers for graduation. The ushers would hand out programs for the service. Now, the girls would be picked about two weeks before graduation; and naturally, I was hoping that I would be one of those lucky girls. On the day of the selection of ushers, our teacher made us wait until the last class of the day. She took small slips of paper and wrote “usher” on four of them and the rest were blank pieces of paper.
All of us girls in the class were excited and so ready to draw out those precious slips of paper. The teacher started the box around and I didn’t think it would ever get to me, but it finally did. And guess what — yep, I did get one of the lucky slips. That little piece of paper with the word usher on it was such a pretty sight to me.
Being picked usher meant that I had to have a formal gown and new shoes to wear. And since we were far from wealthy, I had to borrow one of my cousin’s many gowns. I mean she had been queen more than once and had a big selection of dresses. I tried them all on and found one that I really liked.
Mom did say that I could have a new pair of shoes. I was so excited because I wanted to get my first pair of heels and I would be so pretty. My mom, grandmother, little sister and I piled into the car and headed for the discount shoe store. Oh, they had so many pretty shoes. I started trying on some little heels but my mom wanted me to try some sandals on too. She said that I would be able to wear the sandals more than I would the heels. I was determined to get the heels; but in the end, I wasn’t given too much of a choice, so I decided on a pair of sandals. Imagine my disappointment because you see I would be the only one not wearing heels and was afraid that I would look really stupid.
On the night of graduation, my other aunt, who was a beautician, fixed my hair and I got all dressed up in my hand-me-down gown and new sandals. And you know something – I looked just fine and was actually glad I had the sandals. We were on our feet all night, and some of the girls who were wearing heels were complaining about their feet hurting before graduation was over. And, I wore those sandals all summer long. Wow, my mom was much smarter than I thought she was.
It’s funny how we fretted over things when we were kids. Things always seemed to work for the best and being an usher at eighth grade graduation was no exception. I had a ball.
See ya next Wednesday.