A Baby Boomer's Scrapbook

Click on these words to return to the School Life page

Grade 5: Mills Central


When I went there, Mills Central was a new red brick school and was located on the north side of Baker Road half way between Eastman and Jefferson.  I rode the bus most of the time but, if I missed the bus or when the weather was good, it was an easy half mile walk if I took the road or a little shorter if I took a beeline through the woods.  I'm pretty sure, at the time, Mills Central had four rooms although there could have been more or it may have been expanded later.  I think we had more than one teacher because we moved between classrooms but the only one I remember is Mrs. Smith, Blanche Smith.


I don't remember much of what we did for recreation at recess and at lunch but I do remember a few things from the classroom.


Why it sticks out in the 5th grade, I have no idea, but I remember every morning, standing beside our desks, placing our hands on our chests and saying the pledge of allegiance to the flag.  It may have been because it was the first year that we had to do it, but I just don't know why it is a lasting memory. I think it was in this grade that we also did drills for a nuclear attack by crawling under our desks when a warning was sounded.


Geography must have been a 5th grade thing because I remember doing a geography workbook where we colored all the states on a US map and had to memorize every state capital, state flower, state bird and lots of other facts unique to each state.  It must have been lots of fun but today, I have no idea what the state bird of Iowa is.  Nor do I care.


Mrs. Smith was big on handwriting.  The Palmer Method.  Paper and fingers positioned just so with your wrist locked and your whole forearm moving in a smooth flowing motion, carefully keeping perfectly scribed letters at just the right angle and correctly located between exactly positioned lines for both upper and lower case letters.  Line after line, hour after hour day after day.  It may have been good for us but I sure was glad to find out that our sixth grade teachers knew or cared little or nothing about the Palmer Method.  I'm also very glad that I was not left-handed.


Mrs. Smith also taught arithmetic.  I was still pretty good at it in the 5th grade and whenever we were given a class work assignment or test, I always tried to be one of the first done.  One day I had finished early as usual and must have been looking around to see who else was done when Mrs. Smith came up from behind me.  I think I had my hands out in front of me on the desk and was fiddling with a pencil when she unexpectedly whacked me hard across the forearms with a yardstick and barked "Get back to work!"  When I told her that I was done, instead of an apology, I got a stern warning to be quiet and sit still.  I was always well behaved in the classroom and, although, at home I had been spanked often enough, I had never been disciplined at school.  I had seen Mrs. Smith do the same thing to others that she had just done to me but always assumed that they probably deserved it.  This was a lesson in fairness that I have never forgotten.


In addition to that, the sheer trauma of the event probably ended my career as a brilliant mathematician right then and there.


Judy Fick also sent a photo of the grade 5 and 6, 1956 - 1957 class and listed the following names:



Mrs. Smith, Morgan Smith, Sharon Kisser, Max Bishop , Charlene Mosher, Jim Anderick, Violet Wendell, Ken Hoot , Caroline Burlingame, John Gower, Lorrine Hardy, George Mogg, Sam Jones, Mary Yates, Howard Robertson, Harriet Whitehead, Mickey Howe, unknown, Gordon Swinson, Louise Wendell, Jim Letts, Mary Jo Jones, Bob Davis, Judy Fick, Duane Dice, Judy Jones, Don Potts, Joy Brown, Dale Laplow, Audrey Richardson, Leonard Nicholi, Lorretta Hardy, Bill Mogg, Russell Cornman, Betty Parsons, Vernon Davis, Ruth Bailey, Kathy Bozer, Henry Wendell.  



Click on these words to return to the School Life page