Friday, February 19, 2016

Waterman Street School Adventures






I still have Waterman Street School on the brain after the picture the Marietta Daily Journal ran yesterday morning. 
It brought back memories.

Like for instance:

When my first grade teacher Mrs. Oliver shook me in class for something, I don't  remember what.  Mrs Oliver lived in Calhoun, Ga.  and took the bus there often.  She had to walk right by our apartment in the Clay Homes.   I remember a couple times she invited herself in and told my mother the latest no-good acts I did in class.

I remember in the second grade in Mrs. Killenbek's class in the lunch room one time Mickey Wilbur and I got into a scuffle.  Mickey smeared a little pack of honey in my hair.
In the 3rd grade Mrs. Jessie McCollum was our teacher, the wife or fiancĂ© of future Commissioner Herbert McCollum.  I remember one time I was playing with a moth-ball, I liked the smell.  I sucked in the smell through my nose so hard the moth-ball went into the cavity of my nose.  I was so embarrassed I went hid the fact a moth ball was inside my nose.  I slipped out of the classroom into the coat room and with a pencil pried it out.

Mrs. McCollum had me sit in the hall often for cutting up in class.  I think the ideal was to sit there and when the principal made her rounds she would talk to you and get to the bottom of it.  I found out early to hide when I heard her (Mrs. Whiteheads's) high heels click down the hall.   The 3rd grade class was right beside the stairs going down into the basement to the boys bathroom, an off limits place for Mrs. Whitehead.

On one of our talks in the hall she let me know she was on to me... she said she taught my father and his brothers and stayed on to them and she would me too.... she was true to her word.

The 4th grade was first Ms. Rakestraw and she left, probably got married  and Mrs. Pool took over her class.  Ms. Rakestraw was pretty and pleasant.  Mrs Pool was like a ugly hateful witch.   I told Mama that Mrs; Pool picked on me, not knowing she would call Mrs. Whitehead.  Mrs. Whitehead and Mrs. Pool glared at me the rest of the year.
The 5th grade our teacher was Mrs. Miller. I don't remember getting into trouble  with her or anything. but one time I remember.  The Duncan Yoyo man came on campus at recess time to show off his yoyo tricks.  and I messed up his act and somebody told on me and Mrs. Miller scolded me. 
Oh me!

The 6th grade was Miss Shouse.  Elberta Shouse, before the year was out she became Mrs. Bill Kinney, Marietta Journal reporter.  One time Van Callaway pushed me against the fire escape during recess and it put a big gash in my forehead.  Elberta took me to the teacher lounge and she had me put my head on her lap, her soft thighs,  while she held ice onto my forehead and a a cloth to keep it from bleeding.  It was my first contact with the female body, and although I was in pain and bleeding I enjoyed every minute of it.  Daddy came in his police car and carried me to the Old Hospital to have Doctor Haygood put stitches  to sew up the head split.  Looking like Frankenstein for several months to a year was another good thing to come out of that.

One time Miss Shouse, or Elberta had me to walk to her boarding house for a pigeon  that somehow she saved for a storm.  She gave it to me for a pet.  I carried it home and put it locked in a little empty chicken coop we had in the backyard.  The next working there were nothing but feathers;  The bird was  probably consumed by our cat. I didn't have the heart to tell Miss Shouse that our cat ate probably ate that nice pigeon.  I lied the couple of times she asked me but then I told her it got loose and we didn't see it anymore.

That was also the year I think that us boys had pissing contests in the boy's bathroom.   Nobody could piss higher than Archie Richardson.  He could arch his back back and hold and aim his penis upward and urine would go up the wall and then to where the ceiling meets the wall.  We were all envious.

It was also the year that James the Janitor left and went to work for the Red Cross on South Avenue and his replacement was Cliff.  One time our little gang slipped into Cliff's work space in the basement, a dark room with a big furnace and a plain straight back chair.  Hidden in the shadow was a box full of comics.  We wondered if  they belonged to James or Cliff.  He must have confiscated them while cleaning up after everybody went home.  Again, we don't know who "He" was, James or Cliff. 

Sometime between the 5th and 7th grades two refuge families moved to Marietta into the Waterman Street District.  I think they both were from Poland.  They lived just  down Atlanta Street from one another.  One lived on the corner of Atlanta and Goss Streets, and the other lived a a few houses south of Crain Garage.  The kids of the family that lived south of Crain Garage quit coming to school.  One cold and rainy day Mrs. Whitehead got me out of class.  She wanted me to walk (in the rain) to the refuge family's house south of Crain's and ask them why haven't they been coming to school.  I don't know why she chose me for this errand.  Maybe it was because I was about the most unattached unofficial of Waterman Street School she could find.   I did as she asked, and no one came to the door.  I think they moved out.  I walked back and made my report, verbally, of course.

In the 7th grade Mrs. King was our teacher.  She was freshly married and good looking.  All us boys had a low grade crush on her.  She was always smiling and always making school fun, not a drudgery.  Once we had to do some creative writing as homework. .  I put it off and put it off..  Then one evening we visited my grandmother, aunt, and cousin  who lived in the Clay Homes.  Archie Richardson lived next door to them.  I visited Archie.  He had a new comicbook I had never seen before.  It was MAD Comic book.  It made fun of things.  It was a laugh a panel.  I focused in on a story illustrated by Wallace Wood, called SUPERDUPERMAN.  It had all the SUPERMAN icons and looks, but it was making SUPERMAN look like a farce.  I was immediately addicted to MAD.  But I wasn't above plagiarizing their material.  I was so impressed with the SUPERDUPERMAN I remembered every line and punch line and sat down and wrote it down on paper.  The next day we had to read the stories aloud in class.  With my story I had Mrs. King and the students rolling in the aisles with laughter.   Archie's face turned red, he knew  the real inspiration.   Mrs. King told me I was going to make a great writer someday.  I beamed with pride.

One time at night I caught a bat that was diving for bugs in front of our house below a street light.  I planned it pretty good.  I would throw a rock and the bat would dive at it.  Then, I figured if I threw a rock across the road as a car approached there was a good  chance the car would hit the bat.  I did and after several attempts a bat got hit by a car.  I thought it was dead.  I put it in a netted orange bag and carried it to school the next morning to show to Mrs. King.  The next morning  I was standing  with some other kids in front of the door of our classroom waiting for the morning bell when somebody looked down and saw the bat.  The bat was prying open the net and squeezing out... and out he flew.
Suddenly the whole school panicked.  The bat flew crazily up near the ceiling of the wide hall and kids were screaming, and Mrs. Whitehead and Cliff was chasing it with brooms swinging at it.  After it was brought down Mrs. Whitehead with a red face and trembling bent over and chewed me out good and asked hatefully was  I going to tell  my parents what a foolish thing I  did like when I told on Mrs. Pool (3 years ago) - she wasn't the type to forget and forgive.

It got where after school several school a few of us would walk downtown and hangout.  We wanted to be teenagers badly.  We were teenager wannabes.  We went to the T.A.C. above the fire station and City Hall a lot and got ran off a lot.  And we played across the street a lot in the front yard of a a female co-student named Donna LeVann.  Dona lived across the street from Mrs. Whitehead's boarding house.  One day Mrs. Whitehead walked over and said someone had just called her and said somebody left the paper drive house opened, would we go down, make sure everything is OK, and if not call the police.  She even gave us keys to the paper drive house.  We did, I think somebody just forgot to shut the door and they left.  But it made me feel good to know I was in Mrs. Whitehead's trust again.  


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