"FAVORITE TEACHERS"

Delo Probst is definitely remembered as one of my favorite teachers.
She taught many of us during our first year of school. Miss Probst
was so tender hearted that she broke down one day when a neckless
hulk from Oglesville told her that the paddle she intended to use on
him was just like the club that his Pa used to get his horses
attention. He had been held back a few times because he spent a good
portion of the school year helping his Pa make Moonshine.

Mrs. Cora Borders was the third grade teacher for many of us. At the
beginning of the school year she instructed her students to write a
specific word on a piece of paper. Then she marched us to the
Southeast corner of the schoolyard and dug a small hole and
instructed us to place the piece of paper in the hole. We then
formed a circle around the hole and made a pledge to never use this
word on the paper in the future. After the hole was filled we
returned to the classroom. I rather doubt that the members of this
class use this word today, unless it would be used to emphasize a
point. Oh the word was "ain't" .  She also told us we should never
stick anything smaller than our right elbow in our left ear. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Woods was the teacher for the class of 1949 at the
Baptist Church. We were so isolated from the rest of the other
grades that we had to be more independent and creative. She had such
a relaxed manner that we never felt threatened as with some of the
other teachers. It was my most interesting and unusual school year. 

Roscoe Pridy was our teacher when we were in the seventh grade on
the east side of the auditorium in the old red schoolhouse. He was
as big as a bear and enjoyed rough housing with Shelby Batson and
Lefty Miller. They were almost as big as Preacher Pridy. We all got
a kick out of him spanking Lucian Talley who would jump and yell
every time he was given a swat. Even Mr. Pridy seemed to enjoy
Lucian's antics as much as the rest of the class members.

Miss Rhoda Conrad was our favorite teacher in junior high. She loved
poetry and music. One of her favorite poems was "The Owl and the
Pussy Cat". She enjoyed plunking on the old piano while we bellowed
out "Therea's a Tavern in the Town".

Mr. Gramling was our High School Science teacher. He was a great old
gentleman who loved to expound on all of the great inventions and
interesting events that had taken place during his life.

Miss Verna Georgia O'Hare was a very sweet person that we caused a
lot of grief/heartburn during our Senior English class. Students can
be so insensitive and unappreciative of a good teacher. She was our
chaperone of "Rag Day" and was never quite the same after this field
trip.

Miss "Spittin" Jennie (we never wanted this lady to get in our face
without a hanky handy) and Vandelia Snider were an interesting and
entertaining pair of sisters from Campbell.

Mr. Robert Alsup was our school superintendent and class sponsor for
two years. He was a very mellow teacher that we all loved. Dewey
Piatt and I would have done a belly dance in the lunchroom at high
noon if he had been our superintendent when we were involved in a
fight in Miss Conrad's English class. Mr. Alsup would have
escorted us to his office for a little prayer meeting. Where as Mr.
Tallent grabbed us by the scruff of the neck and drug us a kickin
and a screamin (not really or he would have slapped us silly) to
his office where he gave us holy hell. Our entire national
educational system could use a lot more like Mr. Tallent today,
although I wouldn't have agreed to this at that time.

 School Daze and Kids

The first few years of school were my most enjoyable and the  fourth  grade was my all time favorite. It must have been much like  the  rural  classes. The new high school hadn't been completed yet and the old red school  house was over crowded. So the fourth grade was moved to the Baptist church house where we had less equipment, so  we  had  to  be  more  creative  and  self sufficient. The class had contests  to  include  shooting  marbles,  flying kites and spinning tops. The teacher provided the winner with prizes. Dewey Piatt excelled in all three events. We also climbed trees, made corn  stalk cabins and tunneled under the roots of trees for our little cars. (can  you imagine 4th graders doing this today)? We performed a skit about Tom Sawyer white washing his Aunt Polly's fence and even held some of our classes  out of doors on the ground in nice weather. When one of the pupils needed to be punished the teacher assigned one of the other boys  to  do  the  spanking. This spanking took place on stage with a curtain drawn across the front  of the stage, so you can bet that we  had  a  ball  behind  the  curtain.  The spanker, whacked his own thigh or bottom, while the one that  was  to  have been punished yelled as if he was being killed. The entire class  snickered or laughed when we returned to our seats. Mrs. Woods knew how to inspire us to make good grades, while enjoying every aspect of this  school  year.  It was our most unusual school year.

Miss Woods was a mother figure to Tommy Culbertson. She took him to some of the softball games that she participated in. She was a wonderful teacher as were many of our teachers. Some of them were  Miss  Borders,  Delo  Probst, Miss O'hara, Mr. Grambling, Mr. Alsup to name a few. I shutter  to  think how Miss Conrad would grade this bio, but she  would  have  to  admit  that there is a slight improvement.

The term "hot-footin-it" surely started when we were in grade school and had to lineup on the wide sidewalk in front of the old red school house, as soon as the hand held school bell was rung, the students would then file into their respective rooms by grade and if your class was at the end of the line, believe me, we had to do a lot of hopping from one foot to the other during the summer months, when we boys all went barefoot. The fortunate ones got a new pair of shoes when school started back in the fall. The "teachers pet" always got to ring the school bell and dust the blackboard erasers on the outside of the building. All of the students used the large red covered "Big Chief" writing tablets. This was years before the ball point pen, so many of the students used the pencil or mechanical pencil (Eversharp) with the long pieces of replacement lead. I received a large Eversharp pencil with several colors of lead for perfect attendance in the fifth grade.

If a boy misbehaved, he was required to sit facing a corner.  Some  of  the teachers made the boy sit with a girl, which  caused  the  rest  of  us  to snicker, except for the poor embarrassed seatmate. Claudie  would  do  just about anything except stand on his head hoping that the teacher  would  put him in a seat with one of the cute Wright or Davis  girls  (they  were  all cuter than the dickens).

Some of the kids from the country would bring their lunches  in  the  metal pails that Rex Jelly came in, with a metal lid and a wire bail.  The  jelly was bright red in color and really tickled our palate!

During the elementary grades, we had an annual "play day", which was a  day of competition in sports with all of the one room schools within our school district. Some of these schools were so far out  in  the  boonies,  that  a person had to wonder how they ever got there. There were foot races in  all age groups, high-jump, broad-jump (which is called long-jump today)  dodge- ball, volleyball and other events.

The senior class always had the refreshment concession on play-day, to make money for their senior trip. Some of the senior classes took trips  to  New Orleans or Florida, my class didn't give a hoot for a long trip, so we went all the way to Keeners resort for the weekend, a  few  miles  northwest  of Poplar Bluff. (which contained a cave where Jesse James was alleged to have hidden from the law. This is also true of most of the caves  in  Missouri.) Most of the high school classes came here for their annual "picnic day"  at the end of the school year.

There were boat rides and swimming in a natural pool that was spring fed by an enormous spring. Only the brave ones or perhaps that should be the nutty ones swam across and back as fast as they could in this ice cold  pool.  It still gives me goose bumps just to think of it. There were also  cabins,  a dance hall, and restaurant. This is the only place in the states that  I've seen the gravity toilets. The tank is mounted high  upon  the  wall.  There were a few of them at the 97th General Hospital (in  Germany,  when  I  was stationed there). The lower grades went to the Black River Park, where  the Fourth of July picnics were always held.

More thoughts on the games we played and the clothes we wore.

In later  years  all  of  these  outlying  schools  were  united  into  one consolidated school and then were bussed in to Qulin, ending play day.

Jeans and slacks were not worn to school by the girls. None  of  the  girls would have considered and would have been expelled if  they  had  done  so. Most of the boys wore bib overalls and denim shirts until they were  twelve or so. The folks gave me my first pair of blue Jean pants when I was in the fourth grade. The pants had a zipper on one of the  front  pockets  with  a small red horseshoe attached to it. The pants and my Tom Mix  pocket  knife were my pride and joy.

At school we played red rover, red rover, send someone over,  king  of  the hill (bunkers hill), tag, dodge ball, wolf over the ridge,  take  away  (it should have been keep away), which was a lot less damaging to the  clothes, body and the teachers didn't object to keep away. Rough  house  (every  man for himself and devil for them all, was strictly forbidden,  but  difficult to enforce). The one that the larger boys enjoyed the most and was the most dangerous, was crack the whip. The smaller ones were always on the  end  of the whip and it was next to impossible for the wee ones to  hang  on,  when the whip was cracked. There were cuts and bruises, a  few  loose  teeth  (I have one discolored front tooth, the results of an elbow to the mouth)  and infrequently a broken bone. It's always a little shocking  to  see  an  arm bending between the wrist and elbow. There was a game of bounce the  board, with a kid on either end of a  low  teeter-totter  a  few  inches  off  the ground. (jumping jacks) The players continued to jump on their end  of  the board until one of them fell off or were hurt.

Softball, volleyball, swings, slides and seesaws  were  some  of  the  more civilized activities.

At our annual fall school carnival, we had penny pitch, ring toss, bean bag toss, basketball pitch, bingo, cakewalk and a box supper auction. There was a sideshow (freak show) with Glenn and I as Siamese twins with each  of  us in the leg of a pair of Pop's large pants. We were really a  freakish  pair of twins, with Glenn being a head taller.

Besides skip-day during our senior year. We had what was called Rag-day  on the first part of April. Some of the other schools called it "kids-day"  or "fools-day." They were all appropriate for this occasion. We  were  all  of these and some of our local merchants had some less complimentary terms for us. It was a day in which all of the seniors dressed  in  old  clothes  and went to all of the class rooms,  to  sing  our  special  song.  Which  went something like, "Hallelujah, I'm a bum, Hallelujah, bum  again,  Hallelujah give us a handout and revive us again."

Most of the merchants gave us candy, potato chips, cookies, money  or  some form of a treat (just  about  anything,  to  get  rid  of  that  God  awful singing). Some of the boys were hoping that Pop would give us some spirits, but one look told pop that we were having enough fun without  his  spirits. So we settled for some candy and gum and headed for  the  Bluff,  where  we toured the courthouse, Pepsi bottling plant and other  points  of  interest before returning home tired, happy and full of junk food.

Away from school we played Annie, Annie over, hide and seek, kick the  can, drop the handkerchief and make believe/pretend (which we called play-like). Parlor games were: pleased or displeased, musical chairs, teddly  winks,  I spy, monopoly, spin the  bottle,  post-office  and  Simon  Said.  (a  Drill Sergeant at Ft. Lawton, Washington obtained his  work  details  with  Simon said and it didn't take long) there was always someone who wanted  to  tell ghost stories. Some of the kids at home roller-skated with just one  skate, it was rare to see them with two on, sort of a mini-scotter.

The younger girls played  jacks  (ball  and  jacks)  hopscotch,  jump-rope, dress-up, playhouse and they all loved to cut out and  dress  paper  dolls. The girls that couldn't afford to buy the paper dolls would cut them out of the Sears catalogue, by locating a model and clothes in the same  position. (standing, sitting, etc.) Return to TOC Styles Back Then

Some of the girls wore dresses that were made from the print material  that flour, sugar and feed sacks were made of. The girls wore  a  taffeta  dress when they wanted to get all silked-up for a special social  function.  Most of the girls wore their hair in  pigtails  or  the  very  kinky  permanent. (rollers were not used at this time) a few of the mothers used rags for the long Shirley Temple curls. Most of the ladies wore their hair in a  shingle bob, club cut or finger waves. Earrings were called ear bobs at this  time. All the girls wore anklets and some of the older girls wore them over their hose. (all of the hose had seams) This looked a  little  strange,  but  was very sexy. Very few of the ladies wore garter belts. Most of them wore  the simple garter band. Female panties were called step-ins. Some of the  older girls carried their mad money (a dollar bill) tucked under the top of their hose. None of the girls ever left home without a  few  coins  tied  in  one corner of a ladies handkerchief. One of the girls carried her mad money and lipstick in her well endowed bosom, which made for hot money and darn  near melted her lipstick. A number of the girls wore ankle chains. The girls and their mothers would shine their patent leather  shoes  with  a  half  of  a biscuit.

All of the boys used Brilliantine hair-oil in their youth. Wild rose  hair- oil had the consistency of a very fine mineral oil and was  bright  red  in color. Years later we used Brylcream, Vitalis hair  tonic,  Wildroot  cream oil, and Old Spice made a thick hair dressing for flat-tops and crew cuts.

Pet expressions & Interesting characters
    Most people at home would have had a difficult time communicating,  without
    their down-home expressions. Instead of thank you  they  would  say,  "much
    obliged." Some of their parting shots were, "I'll see  you  later,  if  the
    lord is willing and the creek don't rise, see  you  in  the  funny  papers,
    don't take any wooden nickels or see you in the zoo." Claudie  McClure,  (4
    April, 1934-23 Feb. 1999) has a current one that I really like it's,  "Keep
    your plow in the ground." Pop had a few hundred of them and  some  of  them
    would part your hair. One of his  pet  expressions  was  bull-corn,  if  he
    disagreed with someone A couple of Pop's expression I got  a  kick  out  of
    were, "He's about half goofy" for someone that wasn't very swift and  "He's
    drunker than Cooter Brown" for someone drunker than a hoot owl. The  ethnic
    jokes were Irish (Pat and  Mike),  little  moron,  little  Johnny  and  the
    farmers daughter, during my youth. There were hundreds of them.
 Return to TOC

(c) Taken from: "My Memories," written to my children, nieces & nephews. Charles McClure in Owasso, Oklahoma
(c) and Contributed by: Charles McClure


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