A Baby Boomer's Scrapbook

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Grade 7; Cady School


I think my time at Cady school turned into a year full of life changing experiences for me.  Again, as in the 4th grade, the baby boom effect must have caused a shortage of classroom space and the 1958 6th and 7th grade kids from Larkin and the 7th grade kids from Mills got mixed together in a three room school on Sturgeon Road called Cady.  The school had three rooms but only two were used for classes. The third was always empty.  There were girls and boys bathrooms, of course and at least one cloakroom where coats and lunches were kept.


To begin with, I think Mr. Pankhurst must have been a lousy teacher.  I don't remember much about his teaching skills but, much of the time, he seemed to have almost no control over classroom behavior.  And we had a couple of rowdy (and older) guys in the 7th grade who pushed him to the limit several times throughout the school year.  I don't remember much of any thing about the 6th grade teacher other than she seemed nice.


As far as the kids were concerned, I thought the mix of Larkin and Mills was interesting and fun.  I'd been riding school busses with all the Mills kids for years but I only new a couple of Larkin kids before that year.  My dad worked with Bill Mason at Dow and my parents would often play cards with Bill and Betty while we were growing up so I got to know the twins, Ray and Roy Mason, long before we went to school together at Cady.  I also got to know about Dana Wint and Connie Hulett kind of third hand before I ever met them because, before Cady, I often saw graffiti scrawls like "Ray + Dana" or "Roy + Connie" on the boys school papers and even on a barn wall near their house.  The twins both talked about them and I'm sure they must have shown pictures of the girls to me as well.


Of course, I wasn't disappointed when I finally met Dana and Connie because they were just as nice and pretty as Ray and Roy had said but, as the smallest boy in seventh grade, they were probably taller than me and seemed untouchable so I don't remember even considering them as girl friends the way Ray and Roy did.  You know, remember the notes you used to pass..."I love you do you love me, answer yes or no!"  Personally, of course, I wrote beautiful poetry.  Actually, just verses to popular songs with the words changed here and there to impress her, who ever she was.


This was the year that I first fell in love though.  Rock and roll was just getting started and the hormones of puberty made us all ripe and ready for both love and rock and roll.  There was Elvis and Dion and Fabian and Frankie Avalon and even Pat Boone.  It also helped a lot that the school had a record player and the teachers often let us dance at lunchtime.  Well, I use the term us loosely.  The boys would only do the slow dances. When the music was fast, the girls danced and the boys watched.  When home alone, I tried to teach myself how to dance fast like the girls did but I suspect that watching me try to dance would have been like watching someone trying to use a sledgehammer to play golf.  It wasn't pretty.  As much as I thought I could it, my practice probably wouldn't have mattered because I probably would have been too shy to try dancing fast anyway.


Anyway, with rock and roll, the dancing obviously gave us boys and girls an acceptable way of getting close to each other in a way that was difficult to do any time before.  At the age of 12 or 13, dancing made it easy to fall in love.  And I did.  Probably because it was all new to me, I was on my first roller coaster ride of emotions that I'd never felt before.  I don't remember any of circumstances of how we met or why I was attracted to her.  We probably exchanged love notes but I don't think we ever kissed or, except when we danced, even held hands.  I can't even remember her face.  At this point in my life, I only remember her name.  Although it is not the same person that you've read about in the news of the recent past... her name was Linda Tripp.  I never saw her again after that year.


I don't know if the word 'cool' was in vogue yet but that is how some of us boys tried to look that year.  I remember that at least a few of us tried to emulate the Elvis Presley look.  When we could get away with it, we would turn our collars up at the back and a few whose parents would allow it had ducktail haircuts. 


Duane Dice had a little bit of country and western in him and I can still hear him singing "It's been a blue, blue day, I feel like running away, I feel like running away from it all".  I have no idea who the original singer or what the name of song was (Blue, Blue Day?) but, for some damn reason, Duane's version still sticks in my head.


Although reluctant, my dad even let me buy some PFCs that year (shoes with pointed toes that we called Puerto-Rican Fence Climbers).  In the Michigan winter, I wore them out by Christmas and, to my embarrassment, dad bought sturdy work shoes that he knew would last for the rest of the year.   

This was also a first year for cigarettes for many of us.  We would sometimes go way out across the field to get behind some small trees and have a smoke.  Eventually someone got caught and we weren't allowed to go out there any more so that ended cigarettes for me.  I never liked them anyway so it didn't matter much.  Besides, my parents smoked and I probably could have figured out a way to have cigarettes anytime I wanted.


One time we had a problem with lunchtime thefts.  Lunches were stowed on the cloakroom near the bathroom so it was easy to pilfer a lunch if someone wanted to.  Dave Schneider almost always brought a candy bar, which came up missing several days in a row.  One day Dave announced that his Hershey Bar had been taken the day before but it was one that his dad had melted Ex Lax on.  The candy bar thefts stopped but I always wondered if it was the effect of the Ex Lax or just the thought that it might happen again that deterred the thief.


Back to rock and roll.  This was the year that The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holley were killed.  The school must have had a radio because after we found out about the plane crash, I don't remember many girls who weren't crying about it.  I wouldn't see so many tears again in school until the death of John Kennedy in 1963.


Back to hormones again.  We had one kid in school who was bigger than the rest of us probably at least 2 grades behind.  I don't remember his name but I'll call him 'the big guy'.  At lunch hour one day towards the end of the school year, most of the kids were dancing or listening to records in the 6th grade classroom when Mr. Pankhurst went in and told all the 7th graders that lunch was over and it was time to go back to class.  I went one of several who went back our classroom but some kids, including 'the big guy', ignored the teacher and stayed behind to listen or dance or watch.  When 'the big guy' continued to ignore his demands to return to class, Mr. Pankhurst decided to kick him in the butt.  Not a good idea to poke at the biggest guerilla in the zoo.  I wasn't there to see it but the story was that 'the big guy' didn't like it very much and was just big enough to make Mr. Pankhurst understand the he'd just made a big mistake.


I think the police were called but by that time 'the big guy' had left.  I'm pretty sure that neither 'the big guy' or Mr. Pankhurst returned and that we had a substitute teacher for the rest of the year.


With Mary Lou Woodruff's help, here are the names of the people in my 1958-1959 Grade 7 class photo:



Mr. Pankhurst, Dana Wint, Mike McCrary, Louise Wendell, Duane Dice, Mary Yates, Russell Cornman, Kathy Bozer, Mickey Howe, Jim Letts, unknown, Dave Schneider, Audrey Richardson, Gordon Swinson, Judy Fick, unknown, Dale Laplow, Violett Wendell, Jim Anderick, Pat Devericks?, Ray Mason, Ruth Bailey, Roy Mason, Suzanne McGraw, Doug Klemkosky, Jack Blasdell?, Lee Revior, Ron or Don Potts?, Max Bishop , unknown, Connie Hulett and Leonard Nikolai.



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