A Baby Boomer's Scrapbook

Click on these words to return to the School Life page




Grade 3:


My memories about the 3rd grade ended up being somewhat more confused than I expected.


I thought I had gone through the whole third grade at Mills Center School.  At least that was what I thought until, in an email conversation, Mike Kauppi recollected that part way through the school year, some of us were transferred back to McLaren School.  Mike remembers that our class was given a scholastic aptitude test of some sort and a few kids did so well that they were going to allow us to skip the 4th grade and go right to the 5th.  Fortunately, for me at least, parents decided against it and I think we were just transferred to McLaren to have classes with older kids.  Judy Fick ( Bielby ) remembered that McLaren was K-8 at that time.  The new, multi-room school called Mills Central, was built on Baker Road somewhere around that time.  I remember riding my bicycle to the Mills Central construction site during the summer and watching them lay cement blocks and bricks.


Judy Fick's 1953-54 class photo and Mike Kauppi's memory cleared up some confusion I had about who we had for a teacher in the 3rd grade.  I know I had Mrs. Joseph for the 1st grade and Mrs. Curtis in the 4th.  Judy's 2nd grade photo showed Mrs. Herner as the teacher that year and Mike Kauppi remembered Mrs. May as our 3rd grade teacher.


Anyway, Mills Center was located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Jefferson and Shearer roads.  I think Mr. Sprague, the school janitor and bus driver lived on the southeast corner and the Town Hall was on the southwest corner of that intersection.  I don't remember how many classes were at Mills Center . It was at least 3rd and 4th grade because identical twins Lorretta and Lorrine Hardy, who were a year older than me, went there too. 


One of the first memories I have of Mills Center was when some of us were allowed to go outside on a warm fall day and study our times tables.  I have no idea why that was important enough to stick in my brain.


Another memory is of a game we used to play called "King on the Hill" or "King on the Mountain" or something like that.  Several kids would team up with one boy sitting on the shoulders of another.  By pushing or grabbing and pulling, the boys sitting on top would then try as hard as they could to topple the other teams. The winner was the only pair of boys left standing.  I was always the smallest boy in my class and Tom Boman was always the biggest.  We always teamed up together and I think we were almost unbeatable.  Tom was so strong that even if I would have preferred to fall off when someone was tugging hard on me, he wouldn't let go of my legs and we would eventually prevail.


I think that game was a good lesson that stuck with me.  In every grade through school, I was always the shortest kid.  For that reason, either consciously or unconsciously, I think I tended to be friends with the biggest or toughest boys.  I doubt if I thought about it much at the time but, this had two obvious advantages.  I was never on the opposite side of the biggest baddest dudes and if a stranger tried to pick on me, the biggest baddest dudes would be on my side and may have even com e to my defense.  I think I also learned how to be very diplomatic with big, bad dudes.


An incident that Mike Kauppi remembered but I didn't was when Lorretta Hardy accidentally hit her sister with a bat right between the eyes.  Mike said it was a pretty hard hit and that Lorrine was in significant pain as well as shortly thereafter developing two black eyes.


Mike and I also both remember one particular event in different ways and for different reasons.  Mike reminded me of an ice cream bar treasure hunt that the teacher sent us on.  He said, "...the teacher had put up clue signs leaving the building, out towards the back behind the school, a little bit through the woods, and eventually ending up back at the school."  Mike remembers that, as one of the last kids to leave the school, he noticed a strange cardboard box in the coat and boot area on a bench on the left side as you were leaving the building. He wondered at the time if that might be the ice cream.  And, sure enough, the ice cream was in that box that he spotted on his way out the door.  Mike thinks that the teacher was standing by the back exit door when we started on the "treasure hunt", and just kept everybody moving so that he didn't have time to look at what was in the box that was sitting there. Mike thinks that the person that won may have gotten 2 ice cream bars instead of one.  He also said "I could have kicked myself for not trying to look in that box as I went out the door, but then again, she probably wouldn't have let me look in it anyway."


Oddly enough, I remembered the part about the class searching through the woods for something but I didn't remember what we were searching for or why .  I think I remember this event because, during the search, Loretta Hardy started chasing me through the woods to try and get a kiss.  She eventually caught up and kissed me.  I suspect the reason that I remember that part so well is because, although I probably had fervent hopes that it would happen, no girl ever chased me for a kiss again.  Now isn't that sad?


After we were transferred to McLaren the only specific thing I remember is the drawing experience that I thought I had had in the 1st grade.  Apparently, the teacher thought I was good enough at artwork that after one assignment where we all had to draw insects or animals from pictures in the science book, the teacher gave me extra time to draw all of the critters in the book.  I think there were a dozen or so.  I didn't know it at the time, but that little task would com e back to haunt me in the 4th grade.


!954 must have been a fairly uneventful year for me because this is about all I can remember.


Like most boys of the time and their affinity for cars, I sort of remember that my dad traded in our '47 Ford for a brand new '54 Ford.  I liked the '47 better.  I don't think my mom learned to drive until we got the '54.


Click on these words to return to the School Life page