General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com

Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Saturday, June 7, there will be a reunion at the location of the little two room elementary school I attended. The school building burned many years ago and had been abandoned as a school years before that. Everyone who ever attended the school is invited. My family had three generations who attended that school and we all were taught by the same teacher for at least one year. We all agree that she was one of the most influential people in our lives, although we don't all agree on the direction of that infuence. My dad left school as soon as he could because of almost daily paddlings while I thought (and still do) that she was the best teacher in the whole world.

We'll all get together at the reunion and talk about the good times we had and about Miss Vivian as we called her and how much we loved or hated her. She came to Alabama at age sixteen to teach in a little country school and taught there for 34 years. She left the year I completed fourth grade because the county school superintendent said she had brought a politician in to try to influence the students. The politician wasn't the Super's boy so Miss Vivian had to go. Fortunately, none of us was able to vote so no real damage was done. Even my Dad was upset about her being transferred. Anyone using her teaching methods today would be immediately locked up for child abuse, but they worked very well. She was really quite innovative and operated in what was known a couple of decades ago as an "open classroom". Students worked on what they wanted to during the forty minutes every hour she was working with the other two classes in the room. Lower classes could study with the higher grades if they wanted to and could do the work. There were daily spelling and math tests and blackboard drills. Missing spelling words or math problems resulted in a paddling, one lick for each error. She once told me that I was the only boy in her 54 year teaching career that she never paddled. I told her that sheer, unadulterated terror made the brain cells much better at retaining information and an unmotivated 10 year old much better at studying.

Six people from my class went on to junior high and four of us graduated from HS on time and in the top quarter of our class. Not bad for a little country school. The school operated for about 50 years and I guess that no more than 500 people were students there. I know of at least three people who became senior officers in the military, a couple of MDs, several lawyers, numerous teachers and a few politicans including the County Commisioner old Cletus at Compleat Redneck is planning on running against. Cletus and Bubba were students there as was Billy Joe Bob. There is a long roll of successful business owners including several who are millionaires and a lot of people who barely get by, but I don't know of even one illiterate.

I am looking forward to seeing some of those people and talking about the olden days, as my kids call them.

If there are misspelled words in this post, don't tell Miss Vivian.