Like always, school’s starting all over the place.
Native born Kent Islander Elizabeth Reamy Haddaway, who recently passed away at age 104, once told me that when she was growing up she loved school and once even won the county-wide spelling bee. She remembered her teachers fondly, except for the one Elizabeth never thought was very good at his job.
A great educator can stick with a student forever.
A bad one maybe longer than that.
But Elizabeth gleamed when she remembered her classmate, a little Stevensville schoolgirl, saying off hand, out of nowhere one cold winter morning, “You know, we don’t have to go to school today.”
Elizabeth gave me a sly sideways grin.
“And then she took her foot and kicked the top right off that old flat (coal) stove…”
“…and yes, we had the whole day off!”
Roger Lewis, my dad’s brother, next to last of seven children and the last still with us, once told me this:
“I entered first grade at (Kent Island’s) Chester School – two rooms, first through seven grades – when I was six. First day, Momma dressed me up in short pants and stockings and a short sleeved shirt.
“Here I was, this little guy, scared anyway, and these big guys come up and are going to “initiate” me. One would get a hold of your shoulders, one gets a hold of your feet and they’d throw in you in this great big rose bush. Some of those guys in seventh grade, they were 16 years old!”
In third grade, Roger was one of four boys who got whipped by teacher Evelyn Jones for starting a fire in the boy’s outhouse.
“When I went home, I didn’t tell my mother because Momma would want to go up there and fight her. I was outside with Daddy, following him around, in his way.
“I said, “Daddy I got to tell you something. I got a whipping today in school.”
“He turned and looked down at me and said, “You got a whipping?”
“I said, “Yes, sir.”
“He said “Well, if you hadn’t needed it you wouldn’t have gotten it.” And he walked on.”
Roger and I are both tickled by my grandfather’s father’s gentle nature.
School’s starting all over the place.
Pictures: Chester School – unknown date and my third grade class w/ Mrs. Grollman