outdoors · slice of life

We walked until the sidewalk ended.

My first memories of poetry come from my second-grade teacher. This woman was meaner than mean and yelled at students regularly because she probably should’ve retired five years earlier. (Case in point: She screamed at me in front of the class because I regrouped 108-9 incorrectly at the blackboard.) She wasn’t too perceptive since she never caught on to me fake reading all year long.

But, if there’s one thing she did right, it’s that she read aloud to us regularly. I don’t remember much of what she shared with us that year, but I do remember her reading poems aloud from Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. I couldn’t rhyme like Shel Silverstein, but I LOVED it when my teacher read aloud to us from his books!

Where the Sidewalk Ends

It’s been nearly 40 years since I finished second grade. I still have an appreciation for Shel Silverstein’s books. So when Ari and I decided to go for an after dinner walk tonight, we talked about going around the block. The sun was setting and we wanted to see more so we decided to walk to the end of our neighborhood. Finally, when I realized he had enough steam, I asked Ari, “Would you like to walk to where the sidewalk ends?”

“Yes! Let’s go to where the sidewalk ends!” (He doesn’t know Silverstein’s book yet. There are some things I try to save for his future elementary school teachers to introduce to him.)

It was the sweetest little response. And even though he doesn’t realize that he recited a book title, he knew exactly where to walk to — and where to stop — before turning around and heading home.

8 thoughts on “We walked until the sidewalk ended.

  1. Oh, how precious! Indeed, I will think of Shel Silverstein the next time I walk to where the sidewalk ends. I love the specific memories of your second grade teacher. Wow. I’m glad she gave you the gift of read alouds, but that memory of the exact math problem you missed and were screamed at about just makes me so sad.

  2. This is a delightful slice, Stacey. Ari is growing up so fast. I remember when you were sharing baby photos. I think I shall remember this tale of yours when reading Shel Silverstein’s book that is sitting on the shelf next to me in my new home’s library. (At least your teacher realized the importance of reading aloud to her students.)

  3. Yes, I absolutely do think of that poem every time a sidewalk ends! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  4. Oh, Ari! This is why children loved & still love Shel Silverstein. He takes their world and puts it in words – or takes their words and honors them in poems. I love that you walked to where the sidewalk ends & I’m already anticipating the moment he learns about the poems.

  5. When I saw the title of your Slice on Twitter this morning, it reminded me of the book, of course. But, it also reminded me of the time I went for a run to where the sidewalk ends, took a selfie, posted it to social media, and ONLY my teacher-friends got the reference. LOL
    Thank for putting a smile on my face today.

  6. I loved reading this post! It made me laugh when I read your description because there is a sidewalk near us that just ends for no apparent reason and I think of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” when I go past it.

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