Remembering school days of years ago

Reflections - By Evelyn Long - for the Morrow County Sentinel

The opening of school for the new year always brings back some nostalgia for me – and if you told me that 70 years ago I would not have believed you. Oh, school had its fun times but like so many young people, I could hardly wait to get out of those four walls and – do what? It was a big world out there but being in school seemed so restrictive! NOW, I know better- looking back, school was fun.

Because my family lived in Marion County, I started first grade at Claridon School. It was a traumatic experience but I soon adapted UNTIL, one day not far into the month of September, Miss Roberts, a really beloved teacher, was pointing out colors on the black board using her yardstick to indicate them and she asked a student the name of that color. Well, she asked me to name this one – I was dumbstruck and could not say “Purple.” She walked gently back to me and just tapped me with the yard stick and suggested I go home and study my colors. Well, I went home and I said I was never, ever going back to school. My mother escorted me to Mr. Fetter’s bus for several days to make sure I WENT. School became fun – but those recesses – do you remember playing JACKS? All girls played JACKS on the sidewalk in front of the school. We rode down the slides, swung in the swings, played tag, run sheep run, Red Rover, jumped rope and tried to escape the boys chasing us – (Hmmm that surely changed by high school!)

Moving to Cardington to my mother’s home farm, I was in the fourth grade and this school size looked like a monster. I made it to noon on the first day and then the tears flowed. The teacher whom I will not name wore moccasins and was so quiet and suddenly would be standing beside me, observing my work. It shook me up worse than the Purple incident. The superintendent called our neighbor girl who was a high school student and she contacted our neighbor, the only one with a phone, and my mother came to get me. By the next day and for eight years afterwards I was fine and loved my school days. We played similar games on the playground which was not paved in those days and on one of my trips down the slide I landed in the gravel and laid my left knee open leaving a scar that is still visible.

Remember our little metal lunch boxes? I carried mine at both schools with the peanut butter sandwich inside. ((It was Depression time and food wasn’t real plentiful) I remember taking 2 cents to school for a little bottle of chocolate or white milk. Sometimes I had a cookie in my box or an apple.

All in all, I loved my school days and graduated in 1950 from Cardington High School.

History repeated itself in many ways when my sons went through their school years, from kindergarten to graduation; it went so rapidly. So you students, enjoy every day – whether you want to believe it, you will never be this carefree in your life. The years pass by fast, just ask those who come to our alumni party. By the way, I’m still not a fan of “purple,” just that beautiful song, “Deep Purple.”

100 years ago, September, 1915: Delmar Shaw, oldest son of Mr and Mrs. Oscar Shaw of Westfield Township, died of ptomaine poisoning, supposedly caused by eating tainted chicken. The family attended the Shaw family reunion and they had prepared some pressed chicken for that event. The family, seven children and parents, all became ill on the way home. All except Delmar were ill that night. Delmar did all the evening work and waited on them. At 9 pm he became hungry and made sandwiches of the chicken left from the dinner. He became ill in the night and died as the result of the attack. Because the others were improving, a doctor was not called for Delmar. He was 14 years old.

90 years ago, September, 1925: Bryon Steger and Ward Conaway, of Cardington; Ed Stevens of Mt Gilead and Wilbert Miley of Waldo were among those selected to play in the 300 piece high school band at the state fair the next week.

All members of the Gandee family were ill with the grippe. “The baker was down with it and their little boy was feeling badly.”

60 years ago August, 1955: The Pirate football team was changing to a “T” formation. For the first time in seven years it was changing from a single wing formation. Team members were Sam Gantz, Merle Toomey, Ronnie Pine, John Bennett, Jerry Gandee, Frank Levering, Don Coomer, Smythe VanSickle, Olen Kaelber and Larry Crum. Coaches were Dennis Bell and Gordon Shipley assisted by Don Clark, Noel Underwood and Hal Clinger. Underwood was a member of the Defiance College team and Clinger, the Capital University Team.


By Evelyn Long

for the Morrow County Sentinel