The school that I went to from Kindergarten to 4th grade was “Truong Tieu Hoc – Tan Thoi”, it was small and next to Catholic Church “Nha Tho Rach Cau”. I started Kindergarten at the age of 5 I think, at the time I remember my mom had to go with me learning the alphabet and numbers. I didn’t really pay attention to the teachers maybe because I have no idea what she was saying, I copy the person next to me whatever he/she written down on a small chalk board. At the time each student have a small chalk board size of a modern day clipboard, teacher would write something on the big chalk board then we either copy it or answer it on our small chalk board, we mostly sing, and memorize favorite poetry. That’s Kindergarten.
1st grade, I don’t remember much, but I remember a dark a sky outside, maybe due to the rainy stormy weather, there was no electricity, no AC or Heater, not light of any kind, matter of fact no window. The school room was basically a four walls with many big wide open windows and and main door, we had enough light sometime, but sometime when it’s stormy outside it can get dark and we can’t seem to see much on the board or write anything. I remember having my first actual pen, it call “but May” mechanical pen, basically it’s a pen that you either dip into an ink bottle or suck the ink into the pen top compartment to store the ink, it has variety of colors ink, my favorite is leafy green, the most famous color I believe is violet “muc tim”.
2nd grade, I don’t remember much either, but I remember each morning I walked to school sometime seeing other students walking along together, talking and joking around. Once we reached the school entrance, there were plenty of snacks and toys peddler to enjoy if you have the money. My parents gave me some money each morning for snack and stuff, there is no such thing as lunch when I attended school here, we go for ice cold drink or snacks. Morning, Afternoon snacks all the same, my favorite is “nem”. Second favorite “Trai Au”, this snack you can actually play (choi da au) with, get another person to hook the end and pull it, whoever end broke that person loose. My favorite drink beside the cold ice drink during the summer is “Nuoc Mia”, squuezed Vienamese sugar cane with “trai tac”, we can also chew the sugar cane by itself, good for your teeth, keep it clean, similar to bubble gum.
3rd grade at “Truong Tieu Hoc – Tan Thoi” I got suspended with among other students for singing “…co giao em la co giao dzom, ngoi chom hom rach quan …” basically the song was make up by 5th grade students and they taught us singing it so we sang it and unfortunately our teacher heard us and we all got suspended. On that day I believe the principal came and asked us to leave and ask our parents to come the next day to discuss the situation. I got wip hard in the butt and yelled at, but got over it. My mom and dad at the time was a teacher as well, teaching math in high school. It was an embarrassment for them as well.
4th grade, lots of excitements.