Fourth Grade Letters


I have a rare treasure.  Something, I bet, none of you reading this has.  I have a personal letter from every one of my fellow students in 4th grade; 32 letters in all.  We were actually a divided class; half 4th grade and half 6th grade.  The tiny little nun, Sister Nicoletta, would run back and forth across the room trying to keep each class working on their own studies.  In my opinion, it was an absolute disaster.

What prompted the combined letter writing extravaganza was my after-school playground accident. It happened in May of 1952.  I was in 4th grade and just one day from getting the gold band removed from my Bucky Beaver front teeth.  A bat flew out of a kid’s hands and knocked both of my teeth out. One was actually knocked up into my sinus cavity and required 4 hours of dental surgery. I had to spend some time at home with my swollen face.

The kindly nun thought the whole class should write me a get-well letter.  My mom saved them in one of many family scrapbooks and I dug them out recently.  What a hoot! I only chose a few that wrote one page.  Most of the letters were two pages. One had two pages of jokes. ( all “moron” jokes)

Before I share a few letters with you, I want to set the stage in the classroom during this get-well writing period. While the kids were writing, the nun was passing out test results and returning drawings the class had made. Also I never received a letter from my friend, Steve, because 10 minutes into the letter writing, Steve hurled.  This will become evident in the letters.  Also, being a Catholic school, you will see lots of prayers being offered up for yours truly.  I thank all my classmates for that. Some other Catholic clues; the word “serving,” refers to being an altar boy and serving at mass. You will notice that even though there is the normal amount of 4th grade miss-spelling, all of us learned our penmanship well, back in 1952.  Another clue about the letters.  Each one gets better and funnier.  Enjoy!

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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4 Responses to Fourth Grade Letters

  1. Joe Schrader says:

    Wow, what a trip down memory lane! Leave it to Vin to claim taking two tests was really fun, not to mention the colorful play by play on the hurling. I had a similar experience, receiving letters from the 4th grade class when I broke my neck jumping off the bed and somersaulting onto the old mattresses Mom and Dad had just replaced. I think they are still here somewhere, but then again, things disappear amid deaths and divorces. I’ll have to go hunting. Great story Dan.

  2. God… I remember that so vividly. I was in a perfect position to see the bat slip and fly, not tumble, but fly like an arrow, heavy end first, straight into your mouth. It was totally bizarre. And then you looked up, felt your mouth, realized that your newly brace-liberated teeth had been knocked out, and said… Oh, No! My mom’s gonna kill me! Then the old-brain emotional response kicked in and you started crying, and off you went…. what a moment.

    The letters are great. Remarkably fluent for a bunch of German-Irish Catholic kids, and a nun who was being driven crazy doing two grades at once.

    Don’t know if you were here when it happened or not, but Indiana just removed the requirement to teach kids to write cursively. A lot of people are hot about it. Here we were in the fourth grade doing really rather well, I would say.

    The hurling component of the day was fabulous in retrospect. The girls shrieked, people had stuff all over them, and Steve Ryan’s dash for the door really spread around the misery. I forgot the part about Hubertz having to help clean up. VOM SORB has certainly been a boon to the custodial staffs across the nation

    And you are right. I almost fell on the floor laughing. My granddaughter was reading over my shoulder and as she saw what was on the screen, and said “Papa, what’s that?” I responded that it was a letter I wrote you when in the fourth grade (she just started fifth.) Of course, the puke part really grossed her out.

    Joe’s right, too. What a pretentious little bastard I must have been. Of course, I didn’t know it. I DID like school. Still do…. my heroes have always been teachers… although as I remember Sister Nicoletta might not number among them. When I was finishing my PhD, I did send a letter to Sister Bertha who was living out her last days in a retirement home for nuns. One of my dad’s cousins, also a nun, was in the same home, but ambulatory, and carried it to her. THEN I got a batch of thank-you letters from the nuns who were living with her, telling me how much it made her day. And she wrote back, too. The letter started “My Sweet Vincent.” Wow. She’s the one who picked us to wear the “Angel” suits for the second grader first communion. Possibly because she liked us, but more likely because we were the right size.

    Thanks for the blog post… made my day. I’m still sorry about your teeth!

    • bakoheat says:

      Thanks for another great “letter” 60 years later. Can you believe it. I notice this time it wasn’t in cursive. I doubt that I could write a cursive letter that was readable. I wish I had the space to post the other 24 letters. Many of them were from the 6th grade students and were perfectly written. Some of the other names(from the past) that wrote are: Sonia Rund, Don Dyhuizen, Virginia Oswald, Mary Ann Gravelle, Dennis Knoth, Laurlene McCoy, Judy Yanner, Joe Metzinger, Kay Thoennes, Robert Schichtel, Bonnie Neal, Luanne ?, Jeanne Steill, Harles Halsema, Mary Elizabeth ?, James DeHahn, Bob Stauffer, Micky Wolf, Tom Neilan, Judy Steill, Judy Hughes, Eddie Eberle.
      I listed all the names so that magic thing can happen. You read the name..you see the face…you smile.

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