From the American Scene: We Advance, Singing
ALTHOUGH I grew up in New York and dutifully completed the prescribed stages of its public school system, much of my early education took place in other and less familiar surroundings. From nine to three I worked energetically at geography, spelling, penmanship, and whatever other enlightenment the school considered suitable to my years. At weekly assemblies I sang “The Harp That Hung in Tara’s Halls,” and several years of music appreciation classes taught me to recognize the strains of “To a Wild Rose.” I played tag in the schoolyard during recess and, safe among my friends, grumbled at the foibles of the reigning tyrants: the Miss Hughes or Miss Duff who, for the moment, held power over us.
By four o’clock, however, I had entered another world. The bright red brick of the newly built public school, with its many staircases and doorways all carefully identified by signs and arrows, its brown corridors speckled with large paintings of flowers and horses, its subterranean swimming pool and rooftop basketball court, all vanished. In their stead appeared an old two-story frame house whose upper reaches contained some battered side-arm chairs; a piano that could never, even in its best days, have produced more than tolerable sounds; a few ill-assorted bookcases and, in a back alcove, a clumsy Franklin stove that seemed to smoke even when it had no fuel.
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