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June 17, 2021

Kindergarten – from the German word meaning literally “children’s garden,” is a preschool approach to education traditionally based around playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction. The first such institutions were created in the late eighteenth century in Bavaria to serve children both of whose parents worked outside of the home. This was especially common in farming communities.

Most of us in the United States have been to Kindergarten to initiate our elementary school journey. It is the one place that most of us have in common as an experience and is the very foundation of our education and socialization. But how many of you have been in contact with your Kindergarten alumni?

I asked myself the same question several years ago and embarked on a long trip down memory lane to find the people I went to school with when I was just a small child. Fortunately, I had a vintage class photo of my Kindergarten class from 1954 to help me. Mrs. Rodriguez’s class had only twenty of us little cherubs so I started doing a little digging. After a few months I had located 11 of the 19 of my other classmates. Why all the effort? No particular reason, just that I felt it was important to locate a few of these folks and see how we all turned out.

On further examination, I found that of my meager class of twenty, three have passed away and the rest of us are out there running around somewhere in the world. I have contacted most of them but some have eluded my grasp. One in particular dropped out many years ago. His cousin told me he just doesn’t want to interact with anyone from his past. Hey, that’s fine. The others were happy to hear from me as we exchanged notes on our work histories, spouses and lives. While we didn’t know it at the time, we all were bound to be diverse, accomplished and interesting people. Sadly, I was not able to find what became of our teacher Mrs. Rodriguez, who would be about ninety today. As she was the one who set the educational foundation for most of us, I especially wanted to locate her. Thank you Mrs. Rodriguez, wherever you are.

Of my Kindergarten class, I have only a few vague memories. I remember getting in trouble because I spilled soap on a little girl’s dress over 60 years ago. Sandy was her name. I also recall we learned a horrible song about a mockingbird singing “Los Angeles, Los Angeles” all night long. I was an unwilling participant in rest time, as I was a bit hyperactive. I can recall lots of tempera paint, a long row of windows with blinds and a beautiful piano. Lastly, I recall that Mrs. Rodriguez played that piano very well and usually wore colorful petticoats. The rest is a blur of tetherball and hot Southern California playground asphalt. It’s funny how our minds work….

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you get in touch with your past. Kindergarten is a great place to start. You would be surprised that knowing what became of your past has so much to say in guiding your future.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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  1. Allen this is totally fascinating and I applaud your efforts. What a precious thing to do. How interesting that you found so many of your school mates. I also enjoyed learning about “children’s gardens” how sweet that is to know. I smiled about nap time because my daughter hated to take a nap and would complain to me because she said, “It is too hard to wake up, as soon as I am sleeping I have to get up.” I wrote a letter for her teacher and she was allowed to lay on her mat and day dream while the other children napped. I really enjoyed this post, thank you my friend. Hugs to you and your family. Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just what I need – another research project!😉 I think I do have a photo from kindergarten, but I don’t believe it has any names on it. Your experience is fascinating, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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