Well, the day has come. I rolled myself out early this morning, dragged down the stairs and dawdled over my fried egg and fried potato until Ma reminded me if I wanted to get on the school bus, I had to ride with them. I sat there, with the new dress and penny loafers on, wondering what on earth I was getting myself into…but I heaved a big sigh and gathered my things together.
We sat on Hank Leach’s steps..we, meaning everyone in Locke’s Mills attending Woodstock High School this year. The big ..and I mean big…yellow bus came up Route 26 and did a big swing toward the Greenwood bridge. This was no Cass Howe van. This was a huge bus and I was not sure if I wanted to get on or not. The driver opened the door and I got on, along with all the others. A girl I had never seen before climbed on the bus, looking a little scared, so I patted the seat next to me and she sat down. Hi, I said, my name is Sandra. What’s yours? She said in a very small voice, “Louise”. Well she looked as scared as me.
So here we are, pulling into the school yard after driving over the Gore Road, taking a right through Pinhook and to the top of Merryfield Hill and finally to school. It certainly was not like the crow flies, but I saw some country I hadn’t seen and it was kind of fun watching the kids get on the bus and wondering who they were.
The steps are many and they are steep. I follow along behind and hope the kids are going where I am going. Up the stairs and a long hallway..hmm, now I can go to the left or the right, but so many are going to the left and up the stairs, that is where I’ll go. Louise is hanging right beside me. I hope she isn’t trusting my judgment as I have no clue what is going on. Up one flight of stairs, turn, and up another flight of stairs and there is a long hallway with coat hooks. Hmm. Well, off with the jacket and on to the hook and I guess the lunch bag goes on the floor beneath it, if I am seeing correctly down the hallway.
Someone says “study hall” so like I am in the midst of a flock of sheep, I follow into this huge room with a kazillion windows. This is not Locke’s Mills Grammar School. We are freshman and we sit down front. Okay with me. Just give me a seat to sink into. …and that is what I do. The first one I come to, I am in it and Louise is behind me. We change our minds as she is short and I am tall, so she switches to the front seat and I sit behind her. Across from me is a gangly , big boy all stretched out reading a western paperback.
The principal is at the head of the room, Mr. Douglas Thompson and he is making announcements. He says we have 21 new freshman this year and he welcomes us. I want to be sitting on a rock, fishing, somewhere on the banks of Twitchell Pond. There are too many kids and too many things to think about.
Well, this is interesting. I am given my list of subjects and there is biology and algebra. Those are two subjects we never covered in grammar school.
At last it is almost time to go home, after going to our classes and meeting teachers. The English teacher is a Miss French, who hates me. I knew it the minute I entered the room. The other teacher is Mrs. Crockett. Now she taught Ma, and Ma said she is a very nice person and I like her soft voice and how she very seldom raised her voice. Miss French is a totally different story and she should have been married to Mr. Meserve from my 8th grade. This is going to be a long year. I have these things in little boxes in my mind to mull over once I get where it is quiet.
I am not sure I am going to like this place too well. There are some very nice kids in our class, but I am too shy to look around much. It seems as though I have been looking at the floor all day. I don’t like where our bathroom is located…a trip down two flights of stairs, a short hallway and down more stairs. On the other hand, one could take his time going there and coming back and not have to sit in the study hall looking at windows and being quiet. Everyone needs a break now and then.
I know Ma is going to ask us how we liked our first day. She graduated in 1933 and has many stories to tell. I am not sure what Rex will tell her, but I have a feeling he and I are waiting for the same thing…the announcement when sports will begin!
Thirteen years old and thrust into this big school. There must be over fifty kids in this school. I hope I make it through!
* Pictured ..the teachers, L-R, Mrs. Annie Crockett, Doug Thompson and Ruth French