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November 13, 1980


Pix #1 - Fourth grade room at Center Street School.

The accompanying photo, given to me by Mr. Earl Ash, Amsden, brought back memories of my early school days, as I am sure it will for many readers of this column. She gave me the photo because of Potluck, showing a Union Street School room of yesteryear.

Before her marriage Mrs. Ash was Ethel Reese, and back then, a school teacher at the neighboring village of Kansas, Fostoria and elsewhere. She was one of my junior high teachers, and I enjoyed a visit with her recently.

The photo taken in the fourth grade room at Center Street School was in her family because her brother Waldo was in the photo.

Studying the photo, I observed many things. The boys then, wore turtleneck sweaters, just as some do today...otherwise most of them wore shirts with bow or four-in-hand ties. No long hair on the boys. Hair ribbons on the girls.


The clock on the wall was the standard for then...the wind type, not electric. And when the schoolroom was quiet for study periods, the clock ticked away, tick, tock...tick, tock. A few of those old school clocks were salvaged and are still around town.

I noticed the "grand old flag" on the wall in the front of the room. School kids learned "America" and "The Star Spangled Banner", and they were sung in school. Do you suppose that when those practices stopped, it had something to do with the decline of patriotism?

And the school desks back then!

If they got too full and weren't kept tidy, the books, papers, etc. would slide out the front. The later ones which opened at the top were better. The old ones had inkwells in the upper right hand corner.


Every school had a Vicrola and each room was privileged to hear some records once a week. Some of the records provided music for schoolroom games.

Writing practice was a part of study in all schools, and it improved the ability of kids to write legibly...but when we got to high school and had to take notes, the legible writing was reduced to scribbling.

Today, elementary schools have playgrounds with swings, slides and other equipment. Back then, we had none of that, and we invented games, or used those in vogue, such as tag, marbles. baseball, football, skipping rope, brish, etc.

I went to Whittier School (Crocker Street) and it had a large basement where kids had recess in bad weather. That's where those who carried their lunch ate. Mr. Hill was janitor there all six years I attended and many after that. He was a nice man, and allowed the kids to ring the brass hand bell when school started and at recess time.


Remember how the kids used to get a drink at the pump by holding their hand over the spout and letting a volume of water build up and putting their mouth to the spout. let a little come out gradually into their mouth? Well, one winter day one of the boys tried it and his tongue got stuck on the cold metal. Mr. Hill had quite a time getting the boy's tongue loose.

Kids walked to school, regardless of the distance from home, and the weather. I lived at McDougal and Cadwallader, about nine blocks from school.


Going to school in town was much better than the country. It was much better in town for the school teachers too. They had to arrive early enough in winter to build a fire in the stove that heated the one-room facility, and get it warmed up by the time the kids arrived. Of course, the country kids had to walk to school too, unless their folks brought them in the horse- drawn buggy.

In the accompanying photo, taken years ago, perhaps 70, I found I knew some of them: Carl Sayre, Edwin Frase, Nelle Franke, Herbert Whitta, Lester Switzer, Earl Williams, Charles Linhart; others by name only such as Harry Gardner, Edith Allyn, Sylvia Werner and Bassil Cramer.

It's always dangerous to list those living and dead, but of all those named in the photo, the only one I know still living is Herbert Whitta, who now spends most of his time in Florida. Mrs. Ash belives Catherine Snyder and her sister, Mary, may be alive, somewhere in California.

Lester Switzer was superintendent of the mechanical department at Gray Printing Co., for many years

Slyvia Werner, married George Clements, Toledo TV personality.

Edith Allyn was associated with the Ohio Saving & Loan Co., for 41 years before retiring.

Nelle Franke became Mrs. Floyd Kinnaman, and after his death married Carl Diver.

Carl Sayre was the son of Will and Amanda Sayre. Amanda had a millinery shop, mentioned in this column previously. Carl was an insurance man in Lima for many years.

Edwin Frase became associated with Fostoria Pressed Steel after graduation from Fostoria High School. He was with them from 1918 until retirement in 1965.

Earl Williams, father of Glenn R. and Vincent E., was associated with his father John in Pastime Billyard Parlor.

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