2/23/2013

School Days

My uncle Cecil was my favorite childhood storyteller. I sat mesmerized listening to his adventures of growing up on a farm and the funny scrapes he got himself into.  One of his best tales happened at school, a one room schoolhouse just outside the Village of Castile.  It seems that he was in charge of getting the wood fire going in the morning, so he had to arrive extra early to accomplish the task. One cold winter morning, he loaded the old stove with wood and soon had the usual hot fire going. However, a delinquent type student arrived there well ahead of him one morning and  liberally smeared Limburger cheese inside the stove. As the heat increased so did the smell. The teacher was not happy and immediately punished my poor uncle. I believe school was dismissed for the day until the stove could be cleaned. Uncle Cecil also lost his early morning job, but I don't think it bothered him a whole lot. The culprit wasn't apprehended, so it remains a mystery to this day.

The real twist to the story is that we ended up living in that one room schoolhouse for 25 years before moving west.  Now, the house saw many additions over the intervening years (1920s and onward). It was always fun to think about my great aunts and uncles doing their lessons in our living room area all those years ago.

There's a always a good story from school days to laugh about and I have every confidence that my beloved readers have a few of their own.  A trip in the Way Back machine takes me to Castile Elementary School, which is sadly a ruin today. But if you did attend there, the Chicken Run will ring a bell.  We'd converge on that long hallway that sloped to the main hall and dash to our classrooms. How about lunch in the little cafeteria with Mrs. Miller serving up beef burgers? Miss Everett was our principal and you didn't want to get sent to her office. There was a paddle there. We played dodge ball, Red Rover, and other "dangerous" games in the gym. I do remember my brother getting a concussion playing Red Rover. Apparently he thought he was Superman or something and didn't apply the brakes before hitting the wall. He wasn't tagged, but he was hospitalized overnight for that particular stunt.

Riding the bus was always an adventure.  Some of the bigger boys practiced the dubious art of cussing, only impressing themselves. They were also experts at teasing girls and bullying. I rode Bus #75 and our driver, Mr. Ayers didn't hesitate to haul a few of the offenders to the front of bus for the duration of the trip when they were especially offensive.  Then there was squirt gun season. Those same boys would declare war sometime right before the end of school in June and everyone would be packing more than a lunch when they stepped onto the bus.  Of course, I was not allowed to carry a weapon until my mother got tired of me coming home wet. She, herself loaded an empty dish soap bottle with water and sent me out the door with a concealed weapon. I must have looked guilty because the bus driver (now Mrs. Washburn) asked me to hand it over before I made it up the steps.  It was terribly disappointing not to have the opportunity to soak one of the back seat felons. Feeling glum about losing my defense, the day brightened when Mrs. W. demanded  that the offending boys hand over their respective squirt guns as they strutted up the steps. Victory for the little people was within sight and it was sweet. Thus, the water war ended for another year.


het

No comments:

Positively encouraging

2/23/2013

School Days

My uncle Cecil was my favorite childhood storyteller. I sat mesmerized listening to his adventures of growing up on a farm and the funny scrapes he got himself into.  One of his best tales happened at school, a one room schoolhouse just outside the Village of Castile.  It seems that he was in charge of getting the wood fire going in the morning, so he had to arrive extra early to accomplish the task. One cold winter morning, he loaded the old stove with wood and soon had the usual hot fire going. However, a delinquent type student arrived there well ahead of him one morning and  liberally smeared Limburger cheese inside the stove. As the heat increased so did the smell. The teacher was not happy and immediately punished my poor uncle. I believe school was dismissed for the day until the stove could be cleaned. Uncle Cecil also lost his early morning job, but I don't think it bothered him a whole lot. The culprit wasn't apprehended, so it remains a mystery to this day.

The real twist to the story is that we ended up living in that one room schoolhouse for 25 years before moving west.  Now, the house saw many additions over the intervening years (1920s and onward). It was always fun to think about my great aunts and uncles doing their lessons in our living room area all those years ago.

There's a always a good story from school days to laugh about and I have every confidence that my beloved readers have a few of their own.  A trip in the Way Back machine takes me to Castile Elementary School, which is sadly a ruin today. But if you did attend there, the Chicken Run will ring a bell.  We'd converge on that long hallway that sloped to the main hall and dash to our classrooms. How about lunch in the little cafeteria with Mrs. Miller serving up beef burgers? Miss Everett was our principal and you didn't want to get sent to her office. There was a paddle there. We played dodge ball, Red Rover, and other "dangerous" games in the gym. I do remember my brother getting a concussion playing Red Rover. Apparently he thought he was Superman or something and didn't apply the brakes before hitting the wall. He wasn't tagged, but he was hospitalized overnight for that particular stunt.

Riding the bus was always an adventure.  Some of the bigger boys practiced the dubious art of cussing, only impressing themselves. They were also experts at teasing girls and bullying. I rode Bus #75 and our driver, Mr. Ayers didn't hesitate to haul a few of the offenders to the front of bus for the duration of the trip when they were especially offensive.  Then there was squirt gun season. Those same boys would declare war sometime right before the end of school in June and everyone would be packing more than a lunch when they stepped onto the bus.  Of course, I was not allowed to carry a weapon until my mother got tired of me coming home wet. She, herself loaded an empty dish soap bottle with water and sent me out the door with a concealed weapon. I must have looked guilty because the bus driver (now Mrs. Washburn) asked me to hand it over before I made it up the steps.  It was terribly disappointing not to have the opportunity to soak one of the back seat felons. Feeling glum about losing my defense, the day brightened when Mrs. W. demanded  that the offending boys hand over their respective squirt guns as they strutted up the steps. Victory for the little people was within sight and it was sweet. Thus, the water war ended for another year.


het

No comments: