Thursday, June 22, 2006

Grammar School

Butch Class of 60: Does anyone remember the little narrow playground on the south side of the Grammar School? This is where I think they first installed those swings with thick wooden seats that had bulky metal brackets on both ends. I chased one of those silly red rubber playground balls into the swing "danger zone." A kid bailed out and the empty swing seat hit me in the face with an uppercut that made me do a back-flip. I woke up in Crawley-Cogburn Clinic with Dr. Crawley shining a light in my eyes asking me what day it was.

Several years later, I think they made a parking lot for teachers out of that area. My mother went to school in that old building. She had Miss Geraldine (Moseley) as a music teacher, too. Maribeth is nine years younger and she had Miss Geraldine, too. Miss Geraldine's desk was down in the forward right corner of the auditorium with her piano. She tried mightily to get us to sing on key. Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do! She was the ramrod in a music program for parents most of the kids who could remotely sing on key. My first ever public singing "engagement" was in a barbershop quartet that had five boys. We wore red and white striped coats, those hard, flat, straw hats and little cardboard mustaches. We sang "Dark Town Strutter's Ball" and "Sweet Adeline." The only other kid I remember in that group was Danny Gestring. He moved to Cape Girardeau after the seventh or eighth grade. How about it. Anyone else remember being in that group?

How about that big, old, white, wooden, really tall, sliding board out in the main part of the playground? They must have painted it at least every three or four years, because the paint was always pealing off. The actual slide area was sheet metal nailed to the wooden structure. It was polished to a high sheen by all the butts that rocketed down it during all three recesses. I can still feel the occasional nail head that would work its way up a little. You had to be aware of where they were and dodge them. It was a lot of fun unless it rained and the landing zone became a mud pit and the teachers made it off limits while the mud dried up. That old slide got replaced by a "modern" metal slide before we got out of Grammar School. Not nearly as high or as much fun.

One of the favorite Fall pastimes during recess was tackle football. Then, two boys got broken arms in a single week. I think it was Donnie Kessinger and W. L. Laws. The order came down from Miss McDaniel, "No More TACKLE Football." That was no fun either. Slow, fat guys are at a major disadvantage playing touch football.

Can you name each of your Grammar School teachers? I can.
1st Grade: Miss Douglas
2nd Grade: Mrs. Cook
3rd Grade: Mrs. Beane
4th Grade: Mrs. Ridgeway
5th Grade: Mrs. Hudspeth
6th Grade: Mrs. Gardner

Then we got injected into seventh grade in the high school. It was seven through twelve. Thankfully, they finished enough of Sam Smith Jr. High for us to start eighth grade the next fall.

Sula: I would love to see a trivia playoff between Dora & Butch...only problem would be that no one else but them would know the answers...incredible memories!

Anonymous Class of 68: Ok Butch you are on!
1st grade-Mrs. Armstrong
2nd- Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Fogle half day Mrs. Smith was the principal. She had a son named Mark Fogle. I think he had a sister your age named Dianne.
3rd- Mrs. Blackard
4th- Mrs. Harold
5th- Mrs Hollingsworth
6th- Mrs. Henry

In the 6th grade a group of the girls had a marble co-op! we got in trouble for it and never knew why. We also got in trouble for holding our breaths for as long as we could and passing out! I wonder if our memory is a sign of age? I mean a lot of people in a nursing home can go back as far as we can Butch! One more memory. Can anyone remember sending notes that said I love you do you love me and a box with yes or no and you put an x in one of the boxes. Chinese fortune deals we made with paper? Chinese jumprope? A guy named David Hill who would turn flips all over the playground? How Janet or Sally ALWAYS got to play Mary in the Christmas plays? That we had Christmas plays???


Anonymous Sula said...

This school was my first school in FC. I remember debating the Nixon-Kennedy election with Tim Mize at recess and splitting my pants running after him to hit him after one of his frequent, but clever, wise cracks. I moved from Little Rock to FC in the 4th grade at age 10 under traumatic circumstances. I had visited and spent Summers there before...even went to Mrs. Hawley's kindergarten a few times. Lou took me under her wing when I moved to stay, just like a big sister. Lou & I actually met when we were only a few months old because our parents were friends before we were born. We were born 2 weeks apart. I had Mrs. Graham in the 5th grade where I got to know Dora. Dora & I both had a crush on another newcomer: Tim Mize. We vied for his attention... as different as we were, Tim liked us both. Dora was fun, engaging and precious--and Tim liked to debate with me. (Just a few years ago we found out Tim "the little man" was 2-timing both of us with each other!) "Don't cuss, Call Gus, he'll cuss for both of us" - that was one of Tim's sayings. By the end of the 5th grade I was totally hooked on and smitten with both Dora & Tim for life. I could walk to Dora's which was just down the alley from my grandmother's house. Tim later became my first love, my first kiddie kiss and a soulmate (and we both became lawyers). Tim moved from FC when we were 14. He & his wife (in Oklahoma) are my best friends to this day...a week doesn't go by that I still don't talk to Tim (or Karla) or Dora. Mrs. Graham was a saint & a Godsend to me. My father had died which is what brought me to FC (my great grandparents settled there, grandfather & mother born & raised there)...and in 5th grade,as luck of the draw went, I didn't have my guardian Lou in the same class anymore...I would seek her out at recess...but Mrs Graham discreetly watched over me, I knew why & I loved her so for that. Never told her. I think she knew it though. Tim told me in 6th grade that he moved to FC about the same time I did because his father had died too, the same year as mine. I'm sure Mrs Graham was watching him closely too.

Wed Jun 28, 08:02:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous B.J. said...

My memories of this building were of the fourth grade and Ms. Linder. She was the teacher you didn't want to get. I remember someone bringing an autograph hat to school one day and Ms. Linder getting mad because all the kids in class wanted to play with it. We would all go upstairs to wash our hands each day before lunch, and that day I was out of the room when she apparently took the hat and put it on her desk saying that the next one to touch it was getting a spanking. Guess who came right back in the room, saw the hat on her desk, and picked it up. I put it on my head and made a pose, and the next thing I knew she had me turned over her knee. Good thing was I had worn a petticoat that day, and she was too polite to pull it up in front of the class. I never felt any of the whacks she gave me with the ruler. I think she was glad, too. She knew I didn't deserve it, but she had to keep her word.

But, my favorite memories of this school are of music class in the big auditorium with Ms. Moseley, I think. We had song books, and she would take requests. My request was always Red River Valley. I loved that song. I also remember sitting at lunch one day and the talk at the table was that Clark Gable had died. I didn't know then who Clark Gable was, but someone described him as looking like the wagon master on Wagon Train. I think we also discussed the fact that there was no Santa Claus here, too. Most people didn't believe anymore, but some still weren't sure.

This was the last school where we had swings to swing on at recess. I guess one of my favorite childhood memories would have to be swings. Tall swings with flat, wooden seats. We would swing high, then bail out, hanging onto the chain on one side, and come down landing on our feet. This was fun, and it kept someone else from grabbing the swing. They eventually quit making wooden seats for the swings because too many kids got hit in the head with them. But, the newer sling type swings could never be as much fun or as comfortable as those old wooden ones. Climbing the metal support poles was fun, too.

Fri Jun 30, 09:35:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Administrator said...

I remember the high ceilings, fabulous wooden floors, and the wooden stairs polished by a few million footsteps. There are plenty of memories from the huge playground with the great swings that B.J. liked, but what made that playground so FUN for me was the creek/ditch that separated the grammar school from the primary school. Actually, I think that creek originated at Stuart Springs Park - does anyone currently in FC know about that? I spent a lot of recesses looking for frogs, tadpoles, turtles, and snakes on the banks of that creek - great shade there too on those really hot days.

I first met Jo Ed Whittenton on that playground - extremely memorable because he could hit a softball a mile further than anyone else in our grade, yet he kind of shrugged it off as no big deal. Nice guy.

Mrs. Rector (5th grade) was my favorite teacher. This was her first year teaching, and she was young, pretty, and fun. Okay, okay...I suppose I did have a crush on her even though I was too young for that sort of thing. I will never forget one day in class, this kid (Terry __?___) was making paper airplanes and sailing them out of the 2nd story window of the classroom when Mrs Rector wasn't looking. A few seconds later we would hear the classroom below us ERUPT in laughter! I think it was Mrs. Linder's classroom below us - and we all knew that she would be seething. Anyway, Terry did this about 5 or 6 times and pretty soon a lot of us in class were biting our cheeks to keep from laughing out loud. It took a while for Mrs Rector to catch on. But when she did, she calmly asked Terry if he had just sailed a paper airplane out of the window. He was caught and he knew it, so he admitted it. Expecting a paddling, he was startled when Mrs. Rector said, "Go down there and get it and bring it back here." So he did. After running back up the stairs and bringing it back to Mrs. Rector, she said, "Now throw it out of the window again." Terry was not sure she meant it (and neither did any of his classmates), but she repeated her command. So he did. "Now go down and get it again." He did. This cycle repeated two or three more times...until Terry was totally exhausted. That was the end of his aeronautical career - well, I never saw him throw any more paper airplanes out of Mrs. Rector's classroom!

Finally I remember our school held a mock election the year Kennedy and Nixon ran against each other for President. It was exciting, but it was the first time I was exposed to religious prejudice when some classmate told me that he wouldn't vote for Kennedy because he was Catholic!! Huh?!! *scratches head* What?! I think he tried to explain (some conspiracy theory), but even then it made no sense to me whatsoever. I think Nixon barely won our mock election - does anyone else remember this?

Fri Jun 30, 10:50:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do remember the mock election but only because you said it...that must have been why Tim & I were debating it at recess. Didn't Mrs. Linder wear "nun's shoes?"...we called them that because they were those 1940's style support shoes that looked like women's army shoes. I can recall just about everything that was said above but wouldn't have if you didn't! Definitely the baseball games...and for sure the Catholic angle about Kennedy. Question being whether his religious beliefs would trump political conflicts...that must have been brought up in a class. (Can't imagine 5th graders would come up with that). Even at 11 yrs old I was a yellow dog Dem though.

Sat Jul 01, 07:11:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sula, would tim give you chocolate covered cherries at Christmas? I would give him a bow tie! He was a two timer wasnt he! He is a big part of my memories of the 4th-7th grade.

Tue Jul 04, 02:02:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sula, would tim give you chocolate covered cherries at Christmas? I would give him a bow tie! He was a two timer wasnt he! He is a big part of my memories of the 4th-7th grade.

Tue Jul 04, 02:02:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Administrator said...

I, too, moved to FC from LR when I was 11 and entering the 6th grade. I had a mad crush on John Bratcher and consider him my "first love". Mrs. Proctor was our teacher--a wonderful lady and a very good teacher. I remember all the kids I grew to have for friends for the rest of my life. I remember the creaking wooden floors and stairs--I even remember the school nurse giving us all our "shots" for the horrid illnesses that had us holding our breath! Typhoid, Tetanus and Whooping Cough!! The dreaded TTW!!
We never went without the measels, polio, and pox vaccines--we must have been the healthiest kids that ever came thru FCHS! The playground had a ditch that ran along the northern border of the school property. My friends and I used to spend our recess digging up sassafras roots! They smelled so good!

Fri Jul 07, 05:51:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, had the DREADED Mrs. Linder! She always carried that black purse with two straps with her when she left the room, but it DID look nice with the NUN shoes! Several weeks ago I was sitting on a bench outside my old 4th grade classroom waiting to be interviewed for a different position with the FCSD, I could almost see Mrs. Linder, Mrs. Ridgeway, Mrs. Armstrong, Mrs. McDaniel, etc. in the rooms. And those well-worn stairs still have the creaks and dips on the treads from each of us who had the opportunity to attend there.

Thu Jul 13, 08:51:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous fdan said...

Butch- I think you have the right teachers, but some of the wrong grades!

1st: Ms Jones and Ms Douglas
2nd: Ms Cook
3rd: Ms. Gardner
4th: Ms. Harrel
5th: Ms. Bean
6th: Ms. Hudspeth

Check it out.

Wed Oct 31, 01:40:00 PM 2007  

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