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School Days – Memories

School Days, Memories

This was a special project conceived by Marty Crull. Marty sent out the following to the Jersey County and nearby counties’ Rootsweb lists: “A couple of weeks ago, Ronda and I went to my grandson s primary school in Carlinville, IL for a program called Grandparents day. It was really an enjoyable couple of hours but anyway, in his first grade classroom they had a questionnaire and Ronda and I as well as his other grandparents filled out the form, I thought about for a while and then forgot it until today. What a great idea if you folks tell me a little about your primary school days. I first went to a one room school in Rosedale township, called Teneriffe and my teacher was Mrs. Eagleton and I’d have to say she was my favorite teacher of them all. Not the one I learned the most from, that would have to have been Mrs. Krueger at Fieldon. . . . But what I want from you folks if you are willing, and I’ll post these on the website as well as put them in the newsletters, are the following . . .” (questions Marty asked are at the bottom of this page).

I went to Prairie Union one room School in Jersey County in the thirties. This school was east of Jerseyville about 7 miles then we went south at what was called the Tuetken corner. The School was about a mile south of State Rt. 16. I don’t think any of the Tuekens are living anymore. The last Tuetken who lived there I think was Laverne Tuetken.

Some of the other people who went there were Robert Phelan, who is married to lady whose last name was Griffin. I think her first name was Peggy. Also his brother Paul Phelan who lives in Jerseyville went there too. Their sister Theresa was in my class there. She married Charles Schmieder who passed away a couple of years or so ago. Sincerely, Harold Piggott

Gary Clendenny

Elm Grove School, Belleview Precinct, Calhoun County, about 14 students. I had no favorite subject but I especially liked orthography (study of spelling). I think we had that in 6th Grade. I liked reading all through school and really enjoyed the times our teacher read the classic novels to us (Tom Sawyer, etc.). One of our teachers made vegetable soup on the hot plate during the winter. We took turns bringing ingredients as she would send a note home telling us what to bring (most had canned the stuff from summer gardens). Nothing smelled as good or tasted as good as that soup. All of us took our lunch, usually sandwiches, fruit, cookies, pie, etc. One family brought sandwiches made with biscuits. Of course everybody’s looked better than mine so there was a lot of trading going on.

My favorite game – Fox and Geese in the snow or Tag (These were games even the little ones could enjoy, too).

I walked a short distance to school as it was on our farm. My younger brother’s first day of school was interesting. As a first-grader, he lay on the floor by the door and when the teacher asked if he would like to come and join in, he replied, “No, I’ll just stay here and watch my Uncle Jim plow.”

I was fortunate that I had three wonderfully creative teachers – I could hardly wait to get to school. I believe I received a top-notch elementary education.

I went to two schools when in the first grade. The first was east of Jerseyville, (I was only 5) and it was so far away that my parents moved into Jerseyville, and lived on Giddings Ave. They tore the house down a few years ago. The school was East Elementary, which is now also among the missing and now has become a play ground for the New East Elementary. Miss Broom was my teacher. I remember coming down the fire escapes (for practice). When the school was dismantled I wanted a memento so I managed to come up with a piece of the walnut handrail of the stairs that led to the second floor. I still have it. The next school I remember White Oak which was south of Dow. My teacher there was Mrs. Pelikan. It was a lovely little country school which now has been turned into a house. The residents are Wm. and Juliet Fessler Finkes. I went to that school with both of them and their siblings. I walked through the woods or around the road, weather and mood each dictating. At 6 years old I did not think much of the surroundings. Now it is like so many other things which hindsight have made so much better. I never really had a problem but those of you with so many memories of your childhood know what I mean.

The only one of these schools that indoor plumbing was East. The rest had what was called an outhouse. No matter the matter the weather if you had to go you went out of doors. A colloquialism for these was a path and a draft. Grace Karr Gettings.

NevadaNevada Daniels

My name when I was in grade school was Nevada Daniels. I attended Kane Grade school in Kane, Illinois. The school consisted of grades 1 through 8 and we had a 3 year high school all in the same building. Before I finished grade school the school was consolidated with Jerseyville, so I had to go to Jerseyville high. My favorite subject was English. I didn’t have a favorite food to eat for lunch for I always went home for lunch and it varied each day. For recess we mostly played softball.

My first crush was on a boy in my class named Wayne Darr. I think that’s because he was always was so very nice to me. We were in the 4th grade. I didn’t realize at the time but he was nice to every one. Always walked to school for we didn’t live but a few blocks from school. Blocks in Kane aren’t very long. Sorry that I don’t have a picture of the school.

Sue Williams

The first school I attended was Mossville Grade School in Mossville, IL (a “suburb” of Peoria). Now if I can get my husband to talk – he attended Williams Hollow School up to the 5th or 6th grade (because the school closed). Then he attended Grafton schools. His name is William Lee Williams, and he lived in Williams Hollow. He says the teacher was an [unprintable word]. It seems this teacher kicked Bill’s brother, Phillip, all the way from the playground back into the school house because Phillip was pulling legs off grasshoppers. Neither one of the boys liked school. I do know that “the Williams brothers” were considered by the community to be hellions. Both of them settled down in their 20’s. Phillip died in 1986. Bill worked at Laclede Steel for 36 years, took early retirement in 1992. Sue Williams.

Vicky L. Warford

School name: Fieldon Elementary
Favorite subject: English
Favorite food to eat for lunch: Beanie-weenie
Favorite game to play at recess: Jacks
First school crush (grade school): Kenny Schaaf (cook Mrs. Schaaf’s son)
Transportation: 30 minute bus ride

My favorite teacher was Mr. Smith. He was strict, but he taught us respect, manners, and how to be kind to one another. Things I don’t think our children are getting today. . . .
Thanks for bring back early memories.

Jerry Ridenour

My name is Jerry Ridenour. I went to Grade School at East Elementary in Jerseyville. I loved to read. It did not matter whether it was school books or books checked out of the library, I enjoyed reading them all. I do not really remember a favorite food. I do remember thoroughly enjoying the ice cold chocolate milk. As long as I had two pennies to rub together, I could get a milk.

My very favorite game at recess was “Chicken.” Two boys, each starting at separate ends of the monkey bars, raced towards one another to see who could use their legs to remove the other form the bars. I was one of the best at it too. At least that’s the way I remember it, and this is my story, so it must be true. Ha!

I don’t remember any early crushes. I did have a sort of a crush on Mrs. Spaulding though. She was a very good teacher, and good looking too. I just lived one block over from the school, on East Spruce St., so of course I walked to school. As the new section expanded, it moved closer and closer to my house. I cut the grass some and did dishes at home. When my mother started running her beauty shop, I had to stack baskets of clothes on my bicycle and take them to the laundry mat, where I washed, dried, and folded them before pedaling back home. When I got older, I worked during the summer for farmers putting up hay/straw, detasseling corn, cutting pigs, whatever help they needed. I graduated from JCHS in 1969.

The old East Elementary is no longer there. My old house is gone too, but the fond memories of family, friends, and lessons learned will stay with me forever.

Delores Molloy

Delores Molloy – grade school from 1934 to 1942. I started to school in St. Louis, MO for 2 years, a parochial school, St. Barbaras; then went to a country school around Wright City, MO for 2 years before coming to Jersey County where I went to “Prairie Union School” east of Jerseyville. It was a one room school and our teacher, who taught all 8 grades, was Mayme Reisner. She came out from Jerseyville a distance of about 9 to 10 miles. My favorite subject was history. We took our lunches with us and I still love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with fruit in a little jar as we, way out in the country, did not have fresh fruit as they do today so we had to take canned fruit. My favorite game was “fox and goose” which was played in the snow but we also managed to do this in grass or dirt when there was no snow. Children were very inventive back then as we did not have the money for or access to many toys. As so many others did we walked to school. There were no buses and not many cars. In very bad weather my grandfather took us in an enclosed buggy. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the school which I am sure looked like most of the one room schools with the bell tower on top, a room as you entered for holding coats, boots and lunches and the large room which held 32 students tops and that was when I was in sixth grade. At the end of the eighth grade we came into Jerseyville and took the final tests with the city students.

Cindy Lockard

School name: Dow elementary, 3rd – 6th grades
Favorite subject: social studies
Favorite food to eat for lunch: shepherd’s pie
Favorite game to play at recess: kickball & monkey bars. I also won 1st in county track meet 6th grade long jump.
First school crush (grade school): Eric Bartlett, all 4 yrs
Transportation: rode bus #46 Wilbur Wallace, then #52 Charlie Hunt
Favorite teacher: Ginny Taylor, 3rd grade, retiring this year

Rebecca Davenport

School name: Fieldon Elementary
Favorite subject: Reading
Favorite food to eat for lunch: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite game to play at recess: walking around with my best friends, Rebecca Greeling and Sharon/Debbie Cain
Transportation: Rode the bus – Gertie Rudolph was the bus driver. She was always smiling and let us play in a spring on the last day of school.

Favorite teacher(s): Mrs. Scott – Third grade. She was a precious, kind hearted, grandma-type lady. My heart was broken the day I got in trouble and had to stand in the corner for talking too much because I was so upset that I had gotten in trouble by Mrs. Scott. Miss Gardner (Jane Gardner Millsap) – she made wonderful gingerbread cookies for all the children. I just happened to be her namesake, and so spent times with her making those cookies. The time she spent decorating each one for each child now seems pretty special to me. Teacher(s) I was most afraid of – Mr. Bertman (5th grade) and Mrs. McDonald (second grade).

Although due my parents divorce after 5th grade I went to schools in southern Illinois and Jerseyville, the years at Fieldon Elementary truly typify the essence of childhood for me. Most of my memories there are of a life that is no longer possible in this day and age with its fast pace. I would like to just walk into the school one more time just to smell – I think with my eyes closed I would probably be little again in no time.

Natha Lee Bilash

My first year in school was in a three room school house back in the woods from the main highway. I walked about a mile each day to school. Later in the year after the death of my mom, we had moved about three miles from the school. We walked each day. For play we used vines from a muscadine for jump ropes. We played chase games like Red Rover and Fox and Geese. During one of these games I collided head on with a school mate and split my forehead. No stitches, no doctor, my step grandmother crammed felt from a white hat into the gash which forced the felt out as it healed from the inside. Natha lee Bilash

Mary Ewen Wilson

Marty, My sister and brother, Virginia & Carl, and myself went to the 2-room school in Fieldon. I don’t remember the name of the school. Carl was a year older than me, so he went there from 1936 until 1941, I went from 1937 until 1941, and Virginia went from 1939 until 1941. Our teacher in the lower grades was Gladys Gledhill. We really liked her. I think she lived in Jerseyville. She had to build a fire in the pot-belly stove every morning in the winter time. The upper grades I believe were taught by Mr. Groppel. My brother was the only one of us who had him for a teacher. We always took our lunch in the old lunch pail that had the lid in the top. Our lunch consisted mostly of a jelly sandwich and may a piece of fruit. We lived on what was know as the Pregaldin Place, which was loaded with orchards. I think it was my Aunt Theresa Kamp’s farm. We lived two miles out of town, and we walked it no matter what the weather. During recess, we played jacks and hopscotch, while the boys played marbles and mumbly-peg. This was played with a knife and you had to flip it down so it stuck in the ground. I don’t remember the rules. Yo-Yo’s were also poplar back then. In 1941, my father went to work in East Alton, and we moved from Fieldon to my Grandfather Charles A. Ewen’s farm near Michael, IL and we went to St. Michael’s school for a year before moving to East Alton.

Mary Ewen Wilson

JoAnn Margeson

School: Green Summit
Favorite Subject: Arithmetic

Favorite food to eat for lunch: The one I remember and always liked was when my teacher who was Christina Carr, had each child to bring an ingredient to school, for home made vegetable soup. I always took green beans because my Mother always had lots of green beans from the garden canned. I don’t remember how Christina cooked the soup, but that day for lunch we all had homemade soup and crackers. It was delicious. Christina Carr was one of those rare persons who loved her job and all the children felt that, and also her love for them. She was a wonderful teacher. She was my teacher from the first grade through fifth grade. We always had parties or programs for every holiday, most of my classes was one on one (pupil & teacher). She made sure that you understood every problem before going on to the next, she made sure that you did learn what she was teaching. She retired from teaching when I went into the sixth grade. I then had a lady by the name of Mrs. Banghart, from Carlinville, IL. I also liked her, but no one could take the place of Christina Carr. But I was fortunate enough to have her as my Sunday School teacher at the Kane Baptist Church for many more years.

Favorite game: We always played “Dare Base”, “Handy Over”, or Soft ball. No favorite, liked it all.

First school crush (grade school): Don’t remember having any while at Green Summit School. Just a dumb country kid, didn’t know there was a difference in girls & boys!

Transportation: There were no buses or covered wagons either (just in case that is what you were thinking!) I walked from Jalappa, which wasn’t too far except on cold, snowy, or rainy days. Sometimes my big brother Darriell would take me (if it was raining) in his old car. He would run through every mud puddle in the road, and the car did not have a floor board, so when I got to school I would have to wash my feet and legs to get the mud off. He loved doing that!

One more thing about the old country school. The school year ended the last of April. We always had a big family picnic. All the students and their families would come and bring food. We even had some of the town kids that came out for the picnic. Some of the men would get ice cream from someplace and it would be packed in dry ice to keep it frozen. It was a real treat for everyone. These “last day of school picnics” were really a lot of fun for the children and the adults. I remember that there was always lots of food and a big crowd. If it had been raining that week, which in April it usually did, the old storm cellar would have water in it. The kids would sneak some of the dry ice, and throw it into the cellar to see it steam up. Well, we had to make our own entertainment, no T.V. or computers you know! There was always a ballgame too.

When I went into the seventh grade the old country schools were closed. I then rode a bus into Kane to go to school there. The Kane High School had been changed into all grade school, and the high school students went to either Jerseyville or Carrollton. I finished my grade school education at Kane Grade School. That is another story altogether. It was quite a difference from the country school. I then went to Jerseyville High School. Nothing compares to the old country schools. I am very glad that I was born when I was, so that I had the experience and opportunity to attend one of these schools.

JoAnn (Margeson) Byland

David L. Plummer

School name: Teneriffe – 1st through 3rd, Rosedale – 4th and 5th. Fieldon – 6th, 7th and 8th.
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite food to eat for lunch: Chili, when I bought my lunch
Favorite game to play at recess: Baseball or Softball
First school crush (grade school): Linda Huitt
Transportation: Rode a bus

Sylva Mae Dabbs

My name is Sylva Mae Dabbs Schallenberg and I just turned 80 years old on March the 7th. I attended Williams Hollow School 1st grade thru 8th grade. So did Herbert my brother. The last 2 years that I went there it was moved to its present location. When it sold, my Dad Bert Dabbs bought it and we have always rented it as a club house. It is just east of my house. Before it was a half mile on up the hollow east. We carried a lunch pail and there was no refrigerator or ice. The boys toilet was on the northeast & girls on the northwest. We walked to school no matter what the weather. I loved all my teachers. I guess my favorite and only man teacher was Charles Lowe. I was teachers pet with him. He always made me stand by him at his desk to read until one day he reached under my dress and patted me on the butt. From then on I stood around the corner of his desk. Favorite subject. I liked all but history. Favorite games was Hide and go seek. Sorry I don t have a picture of the school. The building is still standing. The only changes are, we built in the porch and a shed on the back of the building. Back then we didn t have cameras. This was back in the good old days. The Lone Star School at the Cheney place in Jerseyville is not the only country school left. . . . I still have the Williams Hollow School. It is on Schallenberg Lane. The road into the bottoms is Dabbs Road.

Leonard Sconce

Leonard Sconce, Grafton, IL. The first school I attended was Meadow Branch. A one room school and I walked a mile across country all eight years. In eight years I never got a ride to school and maybe 3 times a year a ride home. We had no refrigerator or ice and the school floor was a tongue in groove. The school bell could be heard 2 miles away. It meant hurry up. Softball, tag, steal sticks, handy over and hide and seek were our favorite outdoor games. Checkers, dominoes, blackboard hangman were the indoor games played in bad weather. My first crush was Fanny Scandcamper. She was 30 years old when I was born. In winter we took turns carrying in wood, water and coal; dusting erasers, washing blackboards, sweeping floors, ringing the bell. In trapping season, I and my older brother each had a trap line we walked of a morning on the way to school. My dad let me have the fur money to buy clothes or maybe a knife. One winter I caught 6 foxes and 4 possums. I was walking tall. This was during World War Two. Dad had me buy an 18 dollar government bond. In those days it seemed like a lot. Our school put on an iron drive. We all brought something to sell for old iron for the war effort. One fall our teacher took us to pick milkweed pods so Uncle Sam could have something to life jackets for the sailors in the war. Our lunches consisted of things from home. Apple butter, blackberry jelly, salt pork, country cured ham on homemade bread or biscuits. Often I and my 2 brothers took a quart jar of peaches to be divided between the 3 of us. I don t ever think we ever had a dispute over some one getting the biggest portion. Our Sheppard dog knew when school was out and he would come to meet us about 200 yards and wait for us by the old apple tree. If it was stormy, he might stay on the porch and bark at us just as soon as he could. We always brought him our leftovers. Then it seemed like the whole world fell in when the old dog, at 14 years, passed away. The new puppy just wasn t the same.

I guess all my teachers were my favorite including my mother. One teacher Howard Groppel was one that seemed like he could make a lesson more understandable. He was different! Even when we threw corn cobs at him and his house when the weather made our road bad. He took our non-sense in stride without anger.

Jimmie E. Bowman

My name is Jimmie E. Bowman and my very first school was in Cottage Hills, Madison County, Illinois. My favorite subject was science and kickball was my favorite game to play. There was nothing special about our school; just a small school but it wasn t an one-room school. When our family moved to Jerseyville, while I was in the third grade, now this was a big school. I guess Mr. M. Rull was my favorite teacher but Mr. Master was the one I learn the most from. I either rode my bicycle or walked to school. My first kiss and first crush was from or of the same girl, Martha Crabtree.

Phyllis Crull

Hello, I m Phyllis Crull, now Mrs. Robert Cunningham. I went to Rosedale, in Jersey County and I loved math and spelling. Really didn t think too much about favorite food but I did like pasta a lot and my games were cards. I really liked all my teachers about the same but Mrs. White was the one I really learned the most from. Such a patient woman. She really took time to teach. We walked from the top of the hill and depending on weather and who I was going to walk with, it would be 1/2 of mile coming down the hillside, off the road, or a mile and half following the road up Dug Hill. I don t recall the boys name that first kissed me but it took a bunch of those boys to hold me down so he could. My first real school crush was Don Bryant.

Peggy Crull

Peggy Crull Hazelwonder is my name and like almost every other Crull child born in our area, I went to Rosedale school. Like my oldest sister, Phyllis, I too like spelling and math and cards but Old Maid was my favorite game. But here s where Phyllis and I differ. I liked dill pickles and especially, now if you haven t tried it, don t wrinkle up your nose, Mustard and Sugar sandwiches. Yeah! We were poor but even if we weren’t, I’d still preferred them to anything else. Mrs. Lida Medford was my favorite teacher and the one I learned the most from. Our school was like the rest I guess, we had a large furnace that used coal, had an outdoors toilet and a large dipper on the water pump outside as well, but I guess the one thing we were different from rest was we had coal oil or kerosene lamps for lights while the others were having electric one.

Helen Ontis

The first school I, Helen Ontis, went to was the Lone Star school in 1932 and remember we had a big wood and coal burning stove and that we played in the branch that ran near by and that we played a lot of tag. My favorite game washer washers. My favorite subject in school was arithmetic and I just loved salads and chicken. Mr. Howard Groppel was my favorite teacher and Stacy Schaaf was the one who taught me the most.

Jo Ann Isringhausen

First School was Jerseyville
Favorite subject was Reading
Favorite Food was and is Ice Cream
Favorite game was walking on tin cans
I walked to school

France Turner

1st school was Kane
Favorite subject was spelling
Favorite food was chicken noodles
Favorite game was Ring around the Rosie
Favorite teacher was May Fenity
Teacher learned the most from was Oleta Johnston
Walked to school
First school crush was on Jerry Carmondy

Lela Belle Daniels

Lela Belle Daniels. Dow Elementary in 1968 was my first school and reading was my favorite subject. Pasta was my favorite food. Dodge Ball was the game and I was deadly! I walked to school and Mrs. Hancock was my favorite teacher but learning the most came from Mrs. Ross.

Loretta Jane Daniels

School: Kane Elementary
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite food: Light Bread
Favorite game at recess: Hide & Seek
Favorite teacher: Mrs. Louise Cory for both
Transportation: Walked

Robert L. Bob Daniels

School: Fieldon, 1956
Favorite food: Fried Chicken
Favorite teacher: Mrs. Daniels
Transportation: Bus
How would I describe my school? One word. Horrible!

Edison Abbott

Kane Elem. 1959 I think.

History and fried chicken and baseball are the reasons I went to school

Mrs. Williams was my favorite teacher and Mrs. Greene was the one I learned the most from.
My first crush was Bessie Young and I hated school.

Eunice Abbott

School: Kane 1965
Reading was my favorite subject and fresh vegetables from the garden were my favorite food.
Favorite games at recess: Baseball, baseball and baseball.Favorite teacher: Miss Crum, Miss Crum
Transportation: Rode the bus from out past Lime Kiln Hollar
Lonnie Woolsey was my first kiss and first crush. We decided to skip school and were to walk home. Got caught and the principal called dad.

Donna Long

School: Kane
Favorites: All subjects all food and hop scotch.
Teachers: Mrs. Reynolds was favorite and Mr. Walk taught me the most. Rode a school bus

Clifford Daniels

School: Kane
Favorite subject: History
Favorite food for lunch: Believe it or not my favorite food and still is, GREEN BEANS
Favorite game at recess: Games were always Baseball or softball
Mr. Abbott was my favorite teacher and taught me the most. I ll never tell who my first kiss was from.

Non-Jersey County Responses

Elizabeth M. Lockler

My school memories will have to come from 3rd grade. My name was Elizabeth M. Lockler. The school was Eastwood Hills Elementary in Raytown, MO. This was my first year in that school. My teacher was Miss Voorhees and she was the worst teacher I ever had, so it made the year kinda hard. I don’t know that I had a favorite subject, but I did enjoy it when the substitute teacher read to us. I also don’t remember a favorite food to eat for lunch, except maybe once a week when we had chocolate milk because I hated white milk. My favorite game to play at recess was tetter ball. I could play that for hours if they had let me. First school crush – there were probably too many to remember. I think I rode the bus for the first time that year. I don’t remember riding it before and I sure was scared that first day.

Dolores Andrews

Marty, my first school was in Quincy, MA. A huge school. 4 stories of brick and stone. I could not tell you the name of my first grade teacher, but I can tell you she had eyes in the back of head!!! While she would stand at the blackboard with her back to the class she would know EVERY time I got up out of my seat and EVERY time I whispered. It was truly amazing!!! The lady always wore black or navy blue suits, always those “old lady shoes”

and of course glasses. I left her class with an excellent foundation to build the rest of my education upon. Later I executed the “eyes in the back of my head” trick myself!!! I was raised with a dog as one of our family members!!!! My dog would always try to sneak away from home to escort me to school. Goldie would escort me across a very busy boulevard, take me to my classroom, and sit very still by my desk. Goldie’s heart would break when mother would appear to take her home!!! Goldie thought she was my “nanny.” Precious Memories, Dolores Andrews.

Edna Lou Nickell

Edna Lou Nickell, I attended Milton Grade School from 1940 until 1946 in Alton, Illinois. My mother was a teacher at the same school, during a few of those years. Although never my teacher, we did walk 3 blocks back and forth to school. My first grade teacher was Miss Bankert who never minded taping my mouth shut when I talked too much.(imagine that today). There was one big closet that everyone put their galoshes and coats in the winter. We had morn. and afternoon recess enjoyed playing jacks or marbles, or jump rope on the playground. Once a year Drs. and nurses came to the school gym to give all the kids vaccinations and inoculations against childhood diseases. The first crush I can remember was my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Glaeser. Mother packed lunch to take to school each day. A sandwich and a cookie, We got milk at school.

Ruth Booker

I went to first grade at Gregory School, a one room school, about 1 mile south of White Hall, Illinois on the hard road. The teacher’s name was Mrs. Cook. I rode a school bus to get there. We had grades 1st through 6th. There were about 6 first graders. I remember one other girl and the rest boys. I can only remember the names of four of us, I think the others moved in and out of the school. My favorite subject was reading. We spent a lot of time reading to one of the 5th or 6th graders in a small group of just 2 to 3 first graders in a back room or a cloak room. There were 2 cloak rooms, a girls and boys. We had to enter the school through the correct cloak room. I brought my lunch from home and I don’t remember anything special. As 1st graders we were sent outside to play a lot!!! We had a lot of fun playing in the leaves in the fall. We made piles and jumped into them or mazes and just had great fun with them. There were horses over the fence and we were not supposed to bother them or go into their pasture, but we did a little. We tried real hard not to get caught. As for crushes, I liked boys, they were fun to play with! Our bathrooms were outhouses. At the end of that school year, we had a great field trip to Pittsfield, Illinois to a cheese factory and a shoe factory. I don’t know if these places still exist, but it was great fun to see how cheese and shoes were made. Gregory School was torn down years ago, but it was a memorable year in first grade. Ruth Booker

Betty Ann Nickell

Milton School, Alton, Illinois. I started to Milton School approximately the year 1935 as a kindergartner. At that time our classroom was a little portable building set up on part of the playground. I stayed at Milton School until I finished 6th grade and then spent 7th and 8th grades at the new East Junior High across the track from Alton High School and then the next 4 years at Alton High School and graduated in 1947. My name was Betty Ann Nickell, one of five siblings, and we all went to Milton School and graduated from Alton High School. I walked approximately 3 blocks to school the first six years and sometimes went home for lunch but most of the time my mother wrapped 5 lunches in newspaper for each of us to take to school and it was mostly a lunch meat sandwich of some sort and maybe an apple or orange and a cookie. One day a week the room mothers served lunch at school and I think I was able to do that on occasion. We had a milk program and were able to get milk and graham crackers I think for $.25 a week. My mother did substitute teaching during the war but she had taught at Milton School during the years when Robert Wadlow was a student there and I have a picture of my mother with Robert at the school. When I started to Junior High, we bought bus tickets 10 for $.50. The principal at Milton School at the time was Dwight Horn and J.B. Johnson was principal at Alton High when I graduated. I really don’t recall a favorite subject but my favorite teacher was Miss Marian Worden. When she did recess duty, I remember always staying close to her and seeking her attention. Most of the girls would jump rope at recess of use the playground equipment. In the summer months, we went up to the school grounds for supervised crafts and summer school. There was a boy named Billy Oliver that was in my elementary school class starting with kindergarten and we graduated from high school in the same class. I would consider him my first school crush. We got a chance to visit two years ago at our 55th year class reunion. He still lives in the Alton area and I have been in California since 1965.

Gerald (Jerry) Schleeper

My name is Gerald (Jerry) Schleeper. I was born in Calhoun County, almost 84 years ago, on a farm about 8 or 9 miles south of Hardin. Since my mother had been a school teacher in Hardin before her marriage to my Dad, she “home-taught” me to read and write so that I entered school in the second grade. I attended a one-room brick school in Monterey School District, about a mile from our farm. I walked, of course, through the traditional rain, cold, and deep snow. It was a 1 through 8 grade school, but I don’t think every grade was represented while I was there because the number of students was small, maybe 10 or 12, tops. My first teacher was Miss Ethel Weiner, who was also my “first crush”. I was “In Love” at age 7 and studied hard for her to prove it. As a consequence, and because standards for promotion were very practical, with no frills, in those days, I completed the requirements for both second and third grades that year. I can truthfully say that all of my subjects were my “favorites” because there was a deep learning void yearning to be filled. Games? Hey, we’re talkin’ rural school here, so the places for hide and seek were endless, as well as whatever make-up games the natural surroundings provided. Because the “student body” was so small, group games were common. Because we were all farm kids, lunches were pretty much the same – country cured ham sandwiches, fried chicken, sandwiches made with home-made jelly and jam, etc., so your favorite lunch was whatever your Mom gave you, and it was highly recommended that it all be eaten by the time you reached home. Cold cuts, as we know them today, were unheard of.

Marty, I’ve enjoyed your “School Project” because it caused me to go back so many years and remember when life was so simple, so good, and so uncomplicated. We weren’t involved in any wars then and no prospect of any. And that little brick school house and Miss Weiner provided the base for all the years of learning and formal education that followed. Thank you.

P.S. After all the years and places, I now live on the shore in New Jersey.

Shirley Winn Williams

White Hall Elementary School, Mrs. Sylvia Smith, 1st Grade Teacher. She didn’t mind that my mother (Nelle Rhodes Winn, a former teacher in that school) had taught me to read before I went to school, and she made everything very interesting. I remember her as a warm, loving lady very important for a child’s first year in school. My brothers George and Jerry and I walked to school and went home for lunch. My father, George Elmer Winn, would give each of us 2 pennies and we could stop by the candy store on our way back to school. Believe it or not, those two cents would buy a couple of pieces of candy. My Grandmother Winn lived across the street from the school and sometimes we went there for lunch, especially in bad weather, or my dad would pick us up and drive us home. I remember stuffing my dress down into my snow pants (wrinkling it badly), wearing mittens with a string across your back and snow boots. It took forever to get in and out of the snowsuits. I don t think we had “crushes” in First Grade. I remember one of my classmates was Nancy Griswold, and we would stop by her mother Babe s restaurant sometimes and go back in the Annex and play the piano. We moved to Arizona when I was in the 4th grade. Shirley Winn Williams

George Goodwin

Clara Barton School, Alton, IL. 1935. Raymond Goodwin. My folks called me by my middle name, Raymond, so as to not confuse me with my dad, also George Goodwin. My teacher was Miss Williamson. As I recall all the teachers were single women. The principal was J.B. Johnson. We were scared to death of him. Favorite subjects were drawing and coloring. Favorite game at recess was marbles. Favorite food in my lunch was Twinkies. I walked about three blocks to school with my older sister, Viola, who was in the third grade. Jo Ann Boots was the cutest little blonde girl in our class but I was too shy to talk to her or any girl. One day she went to the pencil sharpener and on the way back stopped at my desk and kissed me on the cheek. I almost died of embarrassment. George Goodwin, CA

Cheryl Ann Endicott

Okay Marty, my family moved around a lot, but here goes. I have 3 different schools I attended during my elementary years, so take your pick. During that time, my name was Cheryl Ann Endicott. In the mid-to-late 1960s, my pre-school and 1st grade was spent in North St. Louis County at Hudson Drive Elementary (I believe). I remember playtime – building large forts with wooden blocks, doing puppet skits with construction paper cutouts and our hands behind screens and performing as one of the little chicks in a school play. Mom took lots of pictures. At that time in my life, my dad had died. Grades 2nd through 5th were spent at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Union, MO (late 60s – early 70s). Mom had remarried and had moved. It was a small elementary school (2 or 3 stories) run by sisters mostly. At that time, a few were still wearing the old traditional habits with long skirts, and the students wore uniforms. The nuns also ran the school cafeteria and had some of the best lunches ever. My favorite meal was fried bologna sandwiches. One of my favorite times of the year was Field Day. Classes were cancelled, and a physical competition was held between the students that parents got to attend. Although I was small and a bit of a klutz, I remember beating Lisa Garvey in an obstacle race and taking 1st place one year. I was always picked on as a child, so it was one of my greatest moments. Grades 6 through 8 were spent at St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Grade School in Florissant, MO. Another parochial school, my favorite teacher was actually a lay teacher named Marilyn Dell’Orco. She taught English and boy was she tough, but she cared for each of us students like we were her own. She worked hard to help us all succeed and still to this day, keeps in touch with all her students. I have stayed in contact with her all these years, being a motherly figure in my life. In fact, she and her husband came to my wedding in 2002. It was she who inspired me to become a writer. She taught me how to use my creativity and become a success. Now, I’ll try and narrow it down to my favorites during that time and answer your other questions:

Favorite subject: Probably English because I love to read.
Favorite food to eat for lunch: At that time – fried bologna sandwiches. The nuns at Immaculate Conception were the best cooks!
Favorite game to play at recess: I just enjoyed sitting around talking to my friends.
First school crush (grade school): Bobby Lange – He was cute, nice to me and extremely smart.
Transportation: It varied at times. When I attended Hudson Elementary, I walked to school. It was only a few blocks. When I lived in Union, I rode the bus. We lived in the “boonies” in a rural part of Union. When I attended St. Thomas, my mom drove, because we lived in the suburbs.
And lastly, do you have a picture of that school and of you in the first grade, to share with everyone? I do but would have to dig for it. It’s somewhere.


Judith Ann Pilkington

Favorite teacher: First Grade Teacher Mrs. Sylvia Smith and my daughter when she was in first grade 20 years later also had her – we were both very fortunate.

School: White Hall Elementary, Greene County, White Hall, Illinois

I wasn’t a picky eater, so don’t really remember a favorite, probably whatever was left over from the night before went into my lunch. I wasn’t interested in boys in grade school – I liked dolls. I walked to school. I remember there was a dog that lived across from the school and I would walk on the opposite side, but she would chase me anyway (big black dog).

Kay Williams

Sch. name – Odell Grade School

Subject – I don’t really remember – may be some social science like geography, social studies, or history. It certainly wasn’t Spelling or Penmanship. [later when I taught school some, the kids usually said “Recess”]

Food – I don’t remember that either. I know I did not like the milk; it has set outside and was not very cold. Also, I did not like the vegetable soup, possibly because it was thin and had no meat. I may have like the canned fruit even plums.

Game – had to have been softball

“Crush” – 1st grade “Dick” later up into 4th grade “Jack” and my first male teacher I walked some leaving home shortly after the school bell rang (8:30 a.m. I think)

Transportation: For a shortcut I or we would cut across a wet area, through a fence, across a field carefully so I or we would not attract a bull, over a very small creek (ditch?), might have used the wire of a fence to do that, over another fence, and then I or we were only about halfway there, walked beside a road, over another creek, beside some very big pine trees, and up a hill to the school walkway. Total had to be less than 1 mile. About 5th or 6th grade we had a snow storm coming, and we were taken by school bus, and somehow I got off the bus one corner too soon and walked home from there. I think we were out of school about two weeks because of the snow, it was deep.

The unique think about that school building was 1) cement, two story, with plain cross marking way up high. Later those crosses were “doctored” so they looked more like pluses. It had 6 classrooms (5 upstairs & 1 downstairs), a gym, and a lunchroom. When I first started to school there, it had 8 grades, before I got to the six grade, it only had six grades.

Kay C.

Linda Jones

School name: Patterson Grade School

Favorite subject: Reading – or maybe music. I still love both!

Favorite teacher: Mrs. Lela Hubbard, first/second grade

Favorite food to eat for lunch: they had the best chocolate cake with a caramel sauce. The cooks were great! Like extra grandmas.

Favorite game to play at recess: Softball. Only problem was when the ball went down the vent at the back of the outhouse that was still located at the back of the school! We also played a lot of Red Rover and dodge ball.

First school crush (grade school): Gary Lemons. We both lived in the country and he would ride over to my house on his little scooter!

Transportation: I rode the bus with my 6 siblings. We were the first ones on and the first ones off, but the whole route took about 45 minutes. I saw my old bus driver “Tuffy McEvers” last summer!

The school building is still there (it was consolidated into North Greene District when I started 6th grade) and is used for the Patterson Opry almost every week.

Another favorite memory: Patterson Picnic the 2nd Thursday of each August. It was a fund-raiser for Pine Tree Cemetery but the thing I remember is getting to help my Dad set-up, select prizes and run the Bingo stand. Also serving all those fish dinners in the gym. Great memories!

Glenn Dunavan

School: Rose Hill, a one room country school establish in 1889 in Norton County KS

Favorite subject: Sciene/Math

Favorite food at lunch: Peanut Butter sandwiches

Favorite game at recess: Tag

First crush: Elsie Carr

Transportation: I walked one mile to school, carrying my lunch bucket and a one gallon pail (with lid) of water as there was no water at the school. First grade was 1939/40 school year.

Melissa Kellstadt, 1974

School name: Lincoln Grade School, Wood River

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite food to eat for lunch: Pizza

Favorite game to play at recess: Dodge Ball

First school crush (grade school): Never! Boys had cooties. Still do.

Transportation: Walked

Lois Cawkins

School: 1st school was Fosterburg Grade school in Madison County, IL 1951

Favorite subject was Science and my favorite food was bananas.

Favorite game at recess: I just loved to play hopscotch.

My favorite teacher was Mr. Woodson but I learned the most from Mrs. Hardbeck.

Transportation: I was driven by car to school.

First school crush: My first kiss was from Russell Davis and my first school crush was on Aubrey Moore.

My school was a one room school with the 1st thru the 9th together.

Kim Daniels

School: 1st school was Carrollton Grade school

Favorite subject was reading and my favorite game at recess was Red Rover.

Mom s homemade cinnamon rolls was my favorite food.

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Ferguson and Mrs. Price was the one who taught me the most.

We rode the school bus from out on Stanley Frech s farm on Bear Run and my first kiss came from my first school girl crush and it was John Camera.

John Daniels

First school was the old Irving school in Madison County, Illinois. I had no favorite subject. I liked baseball and franks and beans. My favorite teacher was Helen Richards and Mr. Tomas Roady was a great teacher teaching me the most. I walked two miles to school and the first school girl I fell in love with was Norma Jean Helwig.



Marilyn Jane Berry

School: Friends School in Vermilion County, Illinois in 1945.

English was the subject and PIE was the favorite food.

Hop scotch was my game and teacher wise it was Mrs. Cary as favorite and Irene Schmidt as to teaching me the most. Paul Devening was the first boy to kiss me and my first crush was Johnny Ingram. I walked to a one room school and the cloak room was smelly. We had a coal stove.

Leo Dale Woody Daniels

It was 1948 and in Greene County somewhere. Spelling was the favorite subject. Chicken was the food and softball, baseball, were the games. Mrs. Freezemeyer was my favorite and the one I learned the most from. Walked to school.



Sharon Faye Daniels

School: Carrollton Elem.
Favorite subject: History.
Favorite food at lunch: STEAK & Salad
Favorite game at recess: Pinocle and Hands & Feet

Favorite teacher was Mrs. Carey and Mr. Dunham for learning the most. Rode a bus and my kiss came from Steve Karrick and Billy Green was my boy.

Richard Daniels

My favorite teacher was Miss Daniels. I rode the bus. I like chili and the school was bad. That s about all I remember about school. OH! Girl watching was my favorite subject.



August Norman Daniels.

School: Irving School in Madison County

Favorite Subject, food, game: Math and all foods and baseball.

Mr. Boatman was the favorite of all my teachers and I walked to school.

Questions Marty asked:

  1. Your name at the time
  2. Your school s name
  3. Your favorite subject
  4. Your favorite food to eat for lunch
  5. Your favorite game to play at recess
  6. Your first school crush (we re talking grade school here)
  7. Did you walk, ride a bus or as I told my grandson, Jonah, I drove my car to the first grade; of course he didn t believe.
  8. What sort of chores did you have before or after school?
  9. And lastly, do you have a picture of that school to share with everyone?