Memoirs » Memoirs - Thornton

Memoirs - Thornton

Sender Arline Thornton, Spanish Teacher, Corporate Landing MS
Posted On 2014-09-24
Year 1955-1956
Memoir I attended Pearl Harbor ES from 1955-56. The original school was housed in Quonset huts on Johnson Circle in navy housing. My house was across the street at 77 Johnson Circle (which is now the Package Store of the commissary). I came back to Hawai’i in 1979 to search for my past. I found the new school, but alas the housing was gone! Moana Lua Shopping Center where I spent many an hour reading comic books in the dime store was still there. Wow! It must have shrunk over the years...because I remember it much, much bigger.

Even before I was old enough to go to kindergarten I used to sit on the curb of my house and watch the kids go to school in those ancient Quonset huts. The teachers, including Mrs. Soong, took pity on me and invited me in after school hours and gave me any goodies that were enjoyed that day at a birthday party or other celebration. I shared my love of geckos with them by taking them to the teachers in my old cigar box. They, both the geckos and the teachers, were not amused.

I was thrilled when I was old enough to go to school! I learned to read about Mom and Dad; Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff and Spot with Mrs. Soong. What a rush! The kindness and creativity of the teachers at that school were outstanding and instilled in me a true love of learning.

My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Irma Soong. I remember boxing with boxing gloves; watching caterpillars turn into chrysalis, then butterflies. We had all day kindergarten and took naps on blue denim bedrolls with a little pocket on the top to one side where we put our shoes, before we shimmied into the sleeping bag. I remember during nap time I always received a “wide awake notation on my weekly “nap roll” which was shown as a wide-awake eye, complete with lashes. We used to have bomb drills when we had to take cover under our desks and cover our heads with our hands.

We moved to the new brick school in first grade, then moved back to the Quonsets, then back to the new school. My teacher then, was Miss Arakawa. I remember sitting in class while the teacher left to get lunch and a class monitor watching to make sure we all sat still and didn’t talk or even think of moving out of our chairs.! It proves that even six-year olds can control themselves and do as they are told...but that was many, many years ago.

I left mid-way through first grade and finished first through fourth grade at Woodstock ES in Alameda, California. After that my father retired from the navy and we moved back to St. Louis, Missouri, my parents’ childhood home. I finished high school there and graduated from the University of Missouri and took a master’s degree at the University of Illinois.

I have returned to Hawai’i several times to visit hanai family and friends. I hope to visit my elementary school again on my next visit.

I have nothing but happy childhood memories of my time at Pearl Harbor Elementary School, before I was an official student and during my actual academic time there. It was a wonderful place at a wonderful time and I remember it with great fondness.

Aloha. A hui hou.

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