Monday, July 30, 2007

Washington School memories

Although the picture is stamped HIGH SCHOOL, this is about the building as Washington Grade School and early high school grades.
For those of you who attended the school as K-6, you will remember the first floor was K-3 and 4-6 was upstairs along with the library and the principals office. In the basement was the boiler room, the lunch room, and the boy's and girl's bathrooms.
I remember going to kindergarten there, after a switch from Northrop. The floor was tile; near the edge were tiles which said one, two, three, A,B, C. The Dairy Queen opened that year. That tile was still there when Mr. Folger had his math class there later.
The first grade room, where we learned to count and read was on the corner. Roger Aaker counted to 100; I counted to 200. The teacher slapped my hands with a ruler because I didn't have a handkerchief, I had tissue. Although Kleenex brand was basically still advertised as facial tissue, our family had switched away from handkerchiefs because of the germs they harbored. It became the Latin room later; the teacher wore a black skirt and tapped the board with her chalk and wiped her hands on her clothes.
The second grade room had a teacher named Miss Norell. She was a wonderful teacher. A classmate failed the class but said, "I want to have her again so I am staying in her class." I went home in a funk, I wanted to have her again too, and asked if I could stay also. Obviously I had taken him at his word. Weekly Readers were the thing; we were supposed to know what was happening in the world. One day, we were a Reader short, one of the cute guys didn't have one. He was to buddy up. Two of us had a crush on him. She had a big desk and I had a little one. BUT HE CHOOSE ME! This room later became an eighth grade math room, the walls were bright orange. The teacher worked most of the year trying to get us to spell angle instead of angel.
The last room on the first floor was the third grade room. Since smacking kid's with a ruler was still punishment, once again I got smacked, this time for not doing my handwriting skills in the standards of the day. Filling one's Christmas seal book was the goal. I LIKE IKE was the slogan. Later, the room became the Algebra room.
I remember the library upstairs more than anything as a child. That is where they gave the TB prick tests. I kept telling them I wasn't supposed to have one but they insisted. When I was next in line, I told the doctor who I was and he set me aside and told the teacher I was not to have the test. WHEW!
Grades four through six were upstairs. I did not attend Washington at this time. Later, I would have ninth grade English with Miss Johnson in one of the rooms. Miss Clark, who taught seventh grade English, had moved to one of the rooms. I am thinking Mr. Boyer taught Social Studies in the remodeled Washington.
If you look at the picture again, you can see there is an outcrop above the door, this was the principals office, later it was the copy room. Actually, it was where the ditto machine was.
In the basement, in the lunch room, we sat at desks and ate out lunch out of tin boxes or paper bags. The room smelled of waxed paper and stale bread. As a third grader, I was to walk to Lincoln and have hot lunch. I didn't like that very much because none of my friends did it. I suppose I had complained about the odor and my parents found a solution. It also was more to carry to school, as we had moved and I was to finish third grade at Washington.
I may have had a say in where I wanted to go after we moved in the fall of third grade. I may have decided I didn't want to leave the brownie troop I was in. She was the best, even if we did meet in the state bread room.
The move to north Arnold meant a 10 block walk to and from school. Parents didn't take kids to school then, nor did they pick them up. I would stop at Jeannie Sandvig's house at 503 Duluth to pick her up for school in the morning. Mrs. Sandvig called me the 'weatherman' and gave me sliced oranges with powdered sugar on them. On a few very cold days, Mr. Wilson would pick us up in his old green Studebaker pick up and take us to school; he worked downtown and was going anyway.
Later, the basement would be the locker area. How could the locker room still smell like stale bread OR was it something else all along?
When they added the new lunchroom and kitchen to the high school it was attached to old Washington. I think the old building was demolished and a new library and additional class rooms were added.
What do you remember about your school? Can you close your eyes and remember the faces of favorite teachers? Teachers that frightened you? Ones that had the gift to make you want to learn? Subjects that were fun? Or, when you had several teachers, is there someone you truly respected as either a person or a teacher?
ABC 123

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