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Monday, June 6, 2011

Another How-Times-Have-Changed Story

Everyone says times have changed & takes it for granted. Concrete examples really make the point stand out. One of my favorites is the story about boys taking their shotguns to school so they could go duck hunting in what is now Venetian Estates before & after the school day. Here's a similar story I heard last weekend at a confab of old timers.

I don't know what year this incident happened, so I don't know what grade they were in, but it's part of the Class of 1951's lore. The scene was Miss Ford 'Add-Another-Ruffle' Berry's history class. (The origin of her nickname is another funny story.) Allan Landin had taken a board out of the bottom of his desk, pulled out his large pocket knife, & began whittling. Apparently, he was sitting on the front row, so Miss Berry was either so focused on the lesson that she didn't see the knife, or she figured whittling was ok as long as it kept Allan quiet.

Well, Allan placed the board vertically on his left thigh & began whittling downward toward his leg. The knife slipped & he slashed the inside of his thigh pretty good. Ron Miller said blood went everywhere. Allan said he cut some cord off the classroom blinds & made a tourniquet for his leg. Several boys helped him out of the classroom and set him on a bicycle which they used as a make-shift gurney to get him across the street to the hospital.

Well, Miss Nema was as alert as ever. She saw them coming across the street toward the front door. She yelled, "DON'T BRING HIM IN THROUGH THIS DOOR! HE'S BLEEDING!" I guess neatness & decorum trumped emergency procedures.

The boys ignored her & took him in the front door. I guess it all turned out ok because I saw Allan last Saturday & he lived to tell the tale. In fact, he said he still has the knife.

(Update) I just talked on the phone with B. I. Webb (SLHS '51) & got his version of the story, which is generally the same. He thinks it happened in the '48/'49 school year when they were sophomores. He also thinks Allan was whittling on a slat from an apple box. The knife was a single-blade, 4" knife. As Allan tried to split the slat using both hands on the knife & the slat balanced vertically on his thigh, the knife slashed through the dry wood and cut into his thigh. They used B. I.'s bicycle to get him to the hospital. Good stuff.

(Update) I got this note from Jackie James (SLHS '57); I thought it was funny. 'I really enjoyed looking at the pictures in Humble Camp. Had some really good friends that lived out there.......Barbara Burns, H.G. Bossley and Ray Barton all lived out there if I remember right. I have a couple of funny ones on "Miss Good morning merry sunshine" Barry. (That's how she greeted me in the hall when I visited SLHS the year after graduation). When we were in high school (class of '57) her room's windows looked out across Cleveland Lake to what was then called the Pecan Grove I believe. There were also cows grazing there at the time. If I remember right, we were in 8th grade. One of the guys kept a round cow head that when turned over mooed several times under his seat where we had places for our books. Every once in a while he would reach in and turn that cow over and it would moo and moo. Miss Barry would stop the class, look over at the cows in the Pecan Grove and say, "Those cows are really noisy today" and keep right on going with her lecture. A couple of other times someone put an alarm clock on top of the cabinet in the corner of the room by the blackboard behind her desk. It was set to go off about fifteen minutes before the bell was to ring. When that happened she would say, "My, my, that time really went fast today, get your books and see you tomorrow"!! Whoever did it didn't get away with that more than one or twice if I remember right because we didn't know what to do once we got out into the hall! I'll have you know "yours truly" had nothing to do with either of those happenings!!!! I was talking to Ronald Miller one time after he was in college and I was in 9th or 10th grade. The subject came up about Miss Barry and I was telling him those stories probably. Ronald said, "Jackie, I am going to give you some great advice! Listen to everything that lady has to teach you as she really knows her history and is much smarter than most kids think"!! I took his advice and when I was taking History in college at TCU my history professor wanted me to be his "assistant" and grade his papers for him because I was so good in history. TRUE STORY. Ronald probably doesn't remember but I do.'