When James Brand started kindergarten at Lindbergh Elementary, the school had only been open for two years. That was 1930. Eighty-eight years later, James returned to his boyhood school to share stories about his time at Lindbergh.
“I remember being in the kindergarten band. We had a percussion band, and we had white uniforms with red buttons. Pretty cool,” Brand recalled during his November 7 visit to the school.
Although the school has had several additions since James attended, one part of the school has not changed.
“The kindergarten classrooms are in the same spot as when I was here,” he said. The 93 year old veteran was accompanied by his wife of 71 years and one of their daughters as two Lindbergh students gave them a tour of the school. He also spoke to students during a presentation.
“There was no auditorium or gym but plenty of space outside,” Brand recalled. The gym and auditorium were added in 1940, two years after James graduated 8th grade and moved on to Dearborn High. During its early years, Lindbergh held kindergarten through eighth grade.
Brand lived about ten miles from Lindbergh on 80 acres of land. His father owned a business in Detroit and would drive James and his siblings to school.
“My dad wasn’t a morning person, and as a result we ended up being late to school a lot,” Brand said.
Despite his late arrivals James was an outstanding student. He shared old report cards with staff members showing mostly A’s and a few B’s. The subjects were similar to current curriculum – math, English and reading. However, areas such as “penmanship” were obvious reminders of times past. Interesting to note, the report card also included an area similar to Dearborn Public Schools current Core Values. However in the 1930’s, students actually received grades in citizenship and cleanliness.
Brand’s recollection of his days at Lindbergh was incredible. He recalled the names of teachers and classmates, along with amazing details about serving on the “safety patrol”, ice-skating on the playground at recess, and the all-white uniform of the school nurse.
“Pretty good for a 93 year old,” he said with a smile.
Brand’s visit to Lindbergh proved that sometimes you can go home again, if only for a few hours.
If you know of a former Dearborn Public School student with an interesting story they are willing to share for the pages of The First Bell, please contact the Communications Office at Communications@dearbornschools.org or at (313)827-3006.
Photo caption: Students gathered in the auditorium to listen to former Lindbergh student James Brand share stories of his time at the school more than 80 years ago.