I was a first grader in 1979. I can picture my classroom, with its wooden desks strictly lined in rows and columns. I remember what my reader looked like, as well as my workbooks where I lovingly wrote word after word neatly on the line. I remember my classmates and how we clapped erasers, hung upside down from the monkey bars, and skipped rope at recess. I remember that year well.
At least, I think I do.
As people talk more and more about the upcoming solar eclipse, it brings to mind a vague memory I have of being in first grade and being told that something special was going to happen with the sun. I remember we were told quite sternly that it was extremely dangerous to look at what was about to happen–so sternly that I did not dare even sneak a peek. I didn’t want my eyeballs to be burned out! In my memories, we used a piece of paper or maybe cardboard and a pinhole to somehow watch the eclipse happen in our hands. I can even remember being outside with my classmates, excited and nervous that I might accidentally have a wild impulse to look upwards and lose my eyeballs altogether.
I wasn’t sure if any of this really happened, or if I was confusing my memories with another story about classrooms of children going out to see the sun. But today I saw a short video of a newscast about the last solar eclipse we had–in 1979! The dates match up with my first grade year, so I have a little more faith in my memory of experiencing the solar eclipse with my classmates.
Now if I can just figure out that cardboard–pinhole–thing…