Categorized | Opinion

Where is your old school?

By Otis Griffin

Otis Griffin poseDo you remember when each small community had a personal school?  Many times the grammar school and church bonded and glued the neighborhood. If some of the Southern Country towns warranted a store, gin or possibly a Post Office, they felt as though they were the big Hampshire or Duroc at the hog trough.
As you mature, which sounds better than ‘you gittin’ older’, I reckon we tend to forget the bad and mostly recollect the good times.  Just ask a former classmate about the teachers?  Yep, still today Phil, Emerson, Paul and Lynn will admit, “yeah, they were injured wildcat mean, but fair.”  I remember my ‘whoopins’ and I guess I had them coming.  But, famous last words remain, “they always caught me and let the guilty culprit slide by, slick axle-greasy.”  Teacher’s pet!
Friends, can you remember the infamous crack in the walk-way there when your parents attended school?  Why hadn’t someone fixed it!  On second thought, I’m glad it wasn’t repaired, because our reminiscing conversations bring up the old crack of five century years.  Probably at one time or ’nuther the entire school population had tripped, stumbled or ripped due to the small gully crack.  A hallowed and historic landmark.
But I reckon that ain’t too bad.  We rednecks are accused of being slow at everything we do.  However ’em Northerners had have a big old dinner bell cracked for over two hundred years in Philadelphia. (which I think is located a few country miles the other side of Beaver Creek)  No one has taken the Liberty to fix the crack and I’ll bet the clapper don’t work neither.  And they call us Dixie rednecks slow.
Did you ever wonder how many times someone fell from the twisted, rusty, swaying monkey bars, hitting the dirt and gravel while showing off?  Even the little gals would jump up, dust off and swear, “I’m O.K.”, when they ‘skinned the cat’ and landed on their noggins.  If bones were sticking out of legs and arms, that didn’t count.  Naww Suhhh.
Neighbor, do you remember who broke out the back glass of the ’rithmetic room with the friction-taped hardball?  Back ’en, amnesia seeped in.  How many tree swingers did it take to twist the smokehouse chains on the double back doors of the gym or who was the littlest (that’s Southernese for a runted Bo’ weevil) to crawl through the backside window to sneak in and play ball when no one was allowed?  Supposedly everyone hated to go to school, but somehow the group would congregate at the (despised) school.
Since we were in the building anyway, didja’ ‘figger’ out why the urge hit you to ease up to home room and squall at the top of your lungs like a panther shot with hot frying grease?  You craved that many times and it sho’ felt good to release all that pent up tension!   Not during school or our principal, Mrs. Cason or Mrs. Ricks would march the entire congregation to the cloakroom for ???  During some dark illegal entries, like a graduated badge Boy Scout, Don, Rabbit and I would sit on the front row in our home room.  Why?  The comfort without a desk in front of you to kick or knee someone.
My fellow Southern Americans, we are told, supposedly by high brow intellectuals, that change is good.  But, consolidation has taken away this hometown, caring atmosphere.  Why would folks want to make a big school out of a raft of small ones?  Could the bottom line be money?   The old School at Charleston, that Momma attended through the tenth grade, is no longer.
The grammar school at Arlington has disappeared.  Who dismantled the historic school at Cuba?  What happened to the community school at Lucy?  Things change for the better, so say our illustrious Soothsayers.  Most of us ‘pore’ old redneck, Southern hicks ain’t as smart as we’d like to be.  However, we ain’t as dumb, as some of those city slickers think we is either.  I’ve got my Old Rosemark Grammar School Memories and You got yo’ new schools…GLORY!
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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