Categorized | Opinion

Frightening Changes From Grammar to High School

By Otis Griffin

When I attended Rosemark Grammar school it was close to walk.  Later and older I was the cat’s meow and rode my fireballin’ Schwinn bicycle.  We had special parking places (never get someone else’s) and don’t forget to turn your front wheel around back’ards so it wouldn’t flop over and knock the handle bars whompy jawed.

Friends, I was so excited to enroll in the ninth grade at Bolton High school.

All of us thought we were sumpin’, but actually we were fresh meat and ground up regularly.  Just like you.

Remember?  Several changes took place, but one of the biggest thrills to me was riding a school bus about six miles or so.  My former classmate friends from Rosemark Phil, Emerson, Mattie, Paul, Bobby, Edna Mai and Don, were picked up at Barretville.

When Mr. Charlie, our bus driver, stopped at Thompson Brothers store in downtown Rosemark for us to board I was elated to sit with them.

The big old mean boys and grown-ups had told us how it was gonna’ be, but we fresh, naïve new kids on a gum stump weren’t really prepared for all this.  It is probably hard for modern day citizens to comprehend or try to understand how it was.  All aboard art the other sound without an utter at seven AM o’clock sharp.  My first remembrance of reading other folk’s mind.

Mr. Charlie’s responsibility was to transport the willow tree swingers in a big, long, yellow school bus.

I thought ole yellow was bigger than a continental trailways highway contraption and if gutted would hold an entire field of fresh, new pasture cut lespedeza that would fill up a tin roofed barn.

Mr. Charlie must have been threatened with being guillotined if we didn’t arrive on time.  Casey Jones would have been proud and possibly have learned a thing or two.

Emerson commented years later, “did you ever wonder if Mr. Charlie was Richard Petty’s speed teacher?”  We were never late.

Neighbor, before I was allowed to enter Bolton (college) high school Momma had to go to the school and fill out a stack of papers as all incoming fresh were required.  I had begged to tag along with agreeing to behave and “ack-rite”.

If some have been under a chicken coop and didn’t know this, Bolton had previously been a college bought and owned by Mr. Bolton, rich landowner, and was self subsidized until later when it was turned into a public school.  Still privately owned. Yep!

Many years later during one of our front porch talks Momma relived how simple it was for ankle biters to attend the local community schools.  Momma had my birth certificate that proved I was born; not hatched.

If I had my shot?  Just look at my beautiful left shoulder with a scar about the size of a silver dollar.  I just hoped I wasn’t required to get cholera or erysipelas and possibly a hoof and mouth disease shot too.

Everything you could think of.  Who was my Doctor?  Well, ‘Doc’ Flippin.  My dentist.  Daddy yanked a couple that were hanging, but we visited Dr. Reed in Millington.

Beloved. when Mrs. Eunice Moffatt asked Momma for our phone number about calling if I got hurt, she was surprised to learn we didn’t have a phone as it was too expensive.

Momma proudly said, “just call Alice our wonderful neighbor and she’ll come get me.”  My folks didn’t get a phone until I was twenty five and gone.  Too high!  Just a few Southern Memories of a strange transformation of a country Redneck….Glory!

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