From kindergarten through high school, I went to a Christian school in Dallas. My parents, along with a number of other parents, helped begin this school just before I entered kindergarten. I have only a few, vague memories of kindergarten. I can remember Mrs. Rich, my teacher, who was a warm and lively person. For some reason, I can also remember playing outside. Our kindergarten class (the first class of this new school) met in a church building that would later become the Highland Oaks Church.
The following year as our new school building was being built, this entire new school, K through 12, met in the Pleasant Grove Church building (the home church for our family). Finally, we moved to the new school building at 6916 Lake June Road. (Why do I remember this address?) I remember a few things about these early years.
2nd grade — My teacher was Mrs. Smothers. I remember thinking that she was very "pretty." One of her special students that year was Louise. Louise had no arms. I remember watching her, amazed at what she could do with her feet.
3rd grade — My teacher was Mrs. Rinks, who also went to our church. She was a single parent who had a son named Ronnie. She was full of life and energy. She laughed a lot and had a way of making me feel good when I was around her. One evening she came to our house for dinner. I overheard her tell my parents that she needed to talk with them sometime. I imagined that she was wanting to move me up a grade. I thought that perhaps she was going to recommend that I bypass the fourth grade and begin the fifth grade right after I finished the third grade. Uh, no. I’m not sure where I got that idea but it certainly wasn’t from her. Anyway, it is a good thing I stayed in the third grade. After all, that is when Howard Jones taught me how to put peanuts in a coke (bottle), shake it up and then drink it all. At the time, that seemed quite amazing.
4th grade — Mrs. Lipscomb was my teacher. She was the oldest elementary school teacher that I had. Now this was a Christian school, so we had daily chapel. Chapel took place in the auditorium of a church building that was next door to our school building. One day we had a guest speaker. Mrs. Lipscomb told me to introduce him. He was Paul Billingsly’s dad. (Paul was another student.) As I waited for the time to do the introduction, I thought about how silly that was. "Why should I introduce him when everyone knows he is Paul’s dad?" So, I decided not to make the introduction. When the time came for the introduction, I looked at Paul’s dad and pointed to the speaker’s stand. I then looked at Mrs. Lipscomb. She was very unhappy with me.
5th grade — Mrs. Walker was my teacher. She and another teacher had come from Harding University. This may have been her first year to teach. I was in her class when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was in her class when a boy in the senior class drowned at White Rock Lake while on a senior picnic. I was also in her class when I met Pamela who sat behind me. Pamela would probably be referred to today as "a special needs child." She seemed to fall a lot. I can remember turning around in my desk to see her wiping blood off a newly skinned knee. That seemed to happen quite a bit. I remember feeling very guilty and ashamed one day because I laughed at her. I can still remember how hurt she looked. It is interesting how such a mental snapshot can stay with me all of these years.
Somewhere during these years, God was at work. How? I have no idea. I do know that when I was a child, good people such as my mom and dad prayed for me. Yet, I have no idea how to explain exactly what God was doing. I do believe that he was at work, preparing me for a future life.