Remembering school in the old days

Published 11:19 pm Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back in September of 1933 some 27 of us youngsters started school in the old Superior Avenue School. It was an old wooden building with big wide steps in front and a lot of trees in the eastern part of the schoolyard. There were no air conditioners so the windows were open a big part of the time and there was very little heat, but we didn’t mind because that was the way we all lived.

It was a scary time for kids in those days, but we all soon became used to not having mom and dad around for guidance. There were only four grades at that school, with some very good teachers, all very dedicated to teaching the basics. There was no such thing as tenure for teachers. The pay was very low so the job was more or less a calling. At that time, the superintendent had an office in the high school building with one secretary and an occasional temporary clerk.

We brought our lunches in small brown paper bags, a lunch that usually consisted of a sandwich, an apple or orange and maybe a cookie or two. Lunchtime was a time when we made lifelong friends while we sat around under the trees and ate our little lunches. Those friendships followed us through the so-called grammar school into high school, which ended at 11th grade. Almost the entire 27 of us graduated at the same time, some going on to college while many started a work career.

We learned a lot of things back then but nothing to compare with the subjects our modern school children are exposed to. Calculators were unheard of but we did have flash cards to learn the multiplication tables back when arithmetic was one of the major obstacles young students encountered.

The teachers not only taught us, they also protected the students. One morning we saw two men asleep under the pine trees and the teachers took turns, two at a time, keeping us away from them. We were all interested in what was happening and much later we learned they were intoxicated. The teachers knew we had no business being in their presence so we were kept away.

The memories we have of those early days are priceless and when any of us meet we can always come up with something we may have forgotten. We owe a lot of respect to those who chose to be teachers when it may not have been the best kind of employment. The teachers today deserve the same respect and honor for a lot tougher job. Thank God for our school system and those who have chosen to be teachers.

We all finally graduated from high school knowing how to do math, read English and remember some history. We had a great science class in the ninth grade under Mr. Gley Jones and most of us still remember some of the things he taught us.

One thing he told us that stuck for a lot of us who are left from that class is the time he told us that when you sneezed you were as close to death as you would ever be, because during a sneeze your heart stopped beating. All these years later we have never forgotten that and never have we heard any such thing from all the medical shows on television or the medical magazines. Maybe he was right and maybe not but when we sneeze we certainly remember that.

Another great part of our high school years was the band under the direction of Professor Fendlason. He was a great leader who required accuracy in our music playing back then.

We all had a good time in our school years and remember them well. May the good Lord continue to bless us all today.