Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Yardville Heights School
Yardville Heights Elementary School was across S. Broad Street from the Highland Avenue entrance to Yardville Heights in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey. In the 1930's it had eight grades in 4 classrooms. It was an impresive building (and stilll is) with 2 large rooms on each of 2 floors.
One the first floor in the center was an entrane hall. On the second floor in the center was the "Teacher's Room". Restooms for girls and for boys were located in the basement. The "Reception" grade class room on the first floor had a cloak room and a small bathroom.
Every fall when we entered the school it was freshly painted. It was maiintained by a janitor named Mr. Rich who had a room in the basement. The principal was Annabelle S. Clymer. Mrs.Clymer was a formidable looking person who always wore black dresses - prsumably in memory of her deceased husband. Her punishment for bad boys was a "shaking". She wold grasp the boy by his shoulders and give him a thorough shaking. If he was really bad she made sure his head hit the wall when shaking. Today that would be child abuse but it worked then. Since half the time I was in a room with a higher class, if I got done my "seat work" I listened to the next year's subjects. Seat work was what we did while the teacher was teaching the other grade.
When I was about 5 I got sent home by the perincipal! I wasn't in school yet but had followed my older brother on his way to school. I got to Broad Street and knew I should not cross it so I stood tere and hollered "Harold" "Harold". I guess Mrs.Clymer thoug that might disrupt the classes so she sent an older boy to escort me home.
A year or so later, in Reception Grade (Kindergarden), I got in trouble by climbing out the first floor classroom window and jumping down to the ground. I was escaping but just thought it wuld be a fun thing to do.
A few yeas later I got in trouble again. On the way to school, we walked on Highland Avenue. It had been recently paved and along the sides of the road were left over patchs of tar. When cool, tar is kind of rubbery and we would pick up a chunck and mold it into a balls. I took my tar ball to school and left it on my desk. Later in the day, the sun streamed in the windows and melted the tar ball I had on my desk. I don't recall what the punishment was but I didn't bring tar balls to school any more.
I was a pretty good studen except in conduct. I had the disadvantage of following my older brother who was a top notch student. I think the techers expected me to do as well as he did.
The kids in school were mostly from Yardville Heights and Lakeside. However some kids were bussed in from Crosswicks and the farm country in that area. We could tell the farm kids because they always smelled like cows - which they probably took care of before coming to school. Our classes were quite small, 20 or so. We had several black students in our class though I don't recall them being treated or considered any differently than any of the other kids. My mother reminded me that I did bring the Harvey twins (African Americans) home for lunch on at least one occasion.
I lived close enough so that I went home for lunch every day. I looked forward to rainy days because then I got to take my lunch to school. That was considered a treat.
Our school had an active PTA. We were sent home with notices of meetings and most parents attended the meetings. Sometimes Mr Alexander, the school district Superintendent would come to the school and sit in on a class or two. We were always on our best behavior then.
We had a class play when I was in 6th grade. I don't remember the name of the play or much except that we practiced after school and our teacher Miss Weidbrecht drove us home. I recall that my best friend "Bunky" Middleton played the part of "Speedy".
We also had a minstrel show - not Politically correct these days - I had a joke. I said "Why is the ship the Queen Mary like a fat woman" the interlockner replied "I don't know, Why", my response was "Because neither one can get into a slip without several tugs"
When we were in the sixth grade, we learned that the next years would be spent at the new Yardville School. That meant we had to be bussed. The new school in Yardville was "stae of the art" for those days with even public addres systems in the rooms. I did well in school except for getting kicked out for riding my bike on the school grounds. I ended up as President of the 8th grade class and gave a speech at graduation.