Sunday, December 23, 2007

Growing Up - Ages 10-12 – Part One

Oakdale Elementary School was located about three miles east of Statesville, NC on US-64; it was a three room school until the system added on a lunch room. I was in the third grade and one of the big boys. We had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders in one room, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in another room, and the 7th graders in the third room. We had three teachers, I do not remember the first grade teacher but Mrs. Fowler was my teacher and Mrs. Evans was the seventh grade teacher and also the principal. We had some good times in the little three room school. The Bible was read the first thing in the morning, we had prayer, and we pledged allegiance to the flag. Afterwards we started our lessons.

We enjoyed outside activities: kickball, baseball, marbles, dodge ball, jump rope, racing, hopscotch, and horseshoes. Sometimes we would sneak into the woods and climb trees. If we could get any girls to come in the woods, we would scare them and make them holler, which could have gotten us into trouble. When we did get in trouble, we would get a spanking by Mrs. Evans. One time it was in the middle of the cold winter and the old wood stove was red hot, a student put some black pepper in the eye of the stove lid. Our eyes started to burn so we all had to go outside for about an hour and about froze. Mrs. Evans told us that if we could find out who did this mischievous deed, we could take care of him. See more pictures of Oakdale Elementary School.

Each year in the fall before school started we had to get vaccinated. We would walk about four miles to Beavers Store to get the shots. It sure was a long walk knowing that we were going to get a couple needles stuck in our arms and that we had to walk home with two sore arms! The needles that they used back then would be used over and over until they were flat on the end. They would use them, put them in a steamer, and use them again and again.

Franklin Roosevelt
was president in 1939 and he got a lot of things into the schools. We would get little bars of Life Buoy Soap which was good because before this time we only had the lye soap that we would make from hog fat and Red Devil Lye. Another thing we got was a small tube of Colgate Toothpaste and a tooth brush. This was the time I first used store-bought tooth paste and brush; before then we used baking soda and a little salt. We would get a small limb from a gum tree and chew on it until it could be used as a tooth brush.

This year I had my first school picture taken. I wore the best clothes that I had for the picture. Throughout my time in school, Mother did all of the sewing to make clothes for us. She could just sit down and make a shirt from a feed sack without a pattern. She would save our old worn-out overalls to use as patches for the new ones. We would get new ones in the fall when we sold our cotton and by early spring we would wear holes in the knees or somewhere else and she would have to patch them. By the time school was out for the summer our overalls had plenty of patches! Our schools had two summer breaks the first one was for planting time and working the crops and the other one was in the fall for harvest time. I was in the seventh grade before I got my first pair of dress pants which were light brownish color almost khaki. They sure went well with the big work shoes. I never minded wearing the clothes I had because most of the other kids were in about the same situation. Mother always taught us that folks really looked at what was inside a person, not just the outside. She said that if the inside was right, everyone would always respect you.

When I was ten years old in the fall after all of our bills were paid, we bought a battery powered Zenith radio. This was our entertainment for about thirty minuets to an hour each night. On Saturday evening we would gather around it to listen to the Grand Old Opera. The battery lasted until Christmas; when it finally died, we put the radio up until we could save enough money to buy a new battery. In the meantime, we would go visit friends that had a radios and sit around it to listen to everything. Sometimes we would have ten to fifteen people around one radio. My favorite thing was when Kate Smith sang "God Bless America." Some of my other favorites included: Lum and Abner, Amos and Andy, Gene Autry, and one of the best was The Lone Ranger and his Indian partner Tonto. They could solve all of the crimes in the old west. The Lone Ranger had a fan club which didn’t cost anything to join. Mark and I joined and received a membership card and a secret code so we could solve the mystery each week. Older members of the club received silver bullets. This had us listening to this show on the radio each week. We would not use the radio for just any show; we had to save the batteries for the important ones. Mother sometimes would listen to the
news but she let our programs come ahead of anything that she would have enjoyed. The radio lasted for about three years before it blew some tubes. We could not get it fixed so we threw it away.

Shortly after that, Albert bought us another one when he came home on leave. He left a couple batteries which lasted a long time until we could afford to buy our own. When our friend’s batteries would die, they would come over to our house and listen to our radio. No one ever lock their doors. When we would go visit, if the screen door was latched on the inside they were home but if it was latched on the outside they were away from the house and we could just go on in and help ourselves to some food. No one would ever think of stealing anything. Listen as I tell this story.

We had a chance to get a copy of the book of John by memorizing John 3:16 and if we learned the whole first chapter we would get a New Testament. Everyone at this school was from a Christian family even though many did not get to go to church very often. To be a Christian group we surly received a lot of spankings. I think some of us were in trouble about all of the time for talking, pulling girls hair, and shooting spit ball at each other. Sometimes one of the spit balls would hit the teacher; that is when we were in big trouble!

1 comment:

Mike said...

Looking forward for some more, thanks for writting all this down for us to enjoy