I can only remember two things about school for the first and second grades: the playground and the assembly auditorium. I have class pictures with the teachers standing with us. I can pick out my image, but everyone else is a stranger. Which I suppose makes sense as we moved to Spokane after the second grade.
The playground was a beehive of activity. I spent a lot of time on the merry go round – two parallel circular bars attached to spokes radiating from the central spin point. If I wasn’t running beside it to start it up and keep it spinning, I was hanging upside down by all fours from the two bars, riding it. With my long legs I could get it going at a good clip and was popular on that account, so I did more running than riding. No one ever got hurt on or off it to my recollection; though I’m sure that it would be banned in this day and age. Of course there was that one incident…but what happened on the merry go round, stayed on the merry go round.
The assembly auditorium was a huge hall with a very tall ceiling. It seemed out of proportion as it was taller than it was wide. We were gathered here on occasion for films, usually educational. We were shown how to take care of our teeth, those castle walls in our mouths under siege to evil tooth decay. It made you want to go home and brush your teeth, which after all was the point.
But there were other occasions when entertainment films were projected, like during the holidays, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Then we were treated to comedy shorts, silent or talky. Years later in a moment akin to déjà vu, I recognized that the chase scene from The Bank Dick was one of the clips unspooled for our pleasure.
I guess that W. C. Fields surrounded by that many kids would not have been amused, but as Egbert Souse (accent grave) he was amusing.