Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Columns

April 22, 2013

BOWYER: The memories are all that remain

Once upon a time, a school building was erected in the town of Onward. It was, at the time, a magnificent building with huge pillars at the front doors, and inside the children sat at their desks studying and dreaming of recess. Yes, they were like any other school children and recess was their favorite time of the day. In the summer, it meant “red rover” and the ocean wave, the teeter-totters and the maypole. In the winter, it was the gymnasium and basketball. In high school, it was a little more serious than that. Not much, just a little.

It’s gone now, the Onward school, and all that is left is the memories of the years we spent there learning the three R’s and perhaps a bit more. I can remember some of the teachers. Marie Hopper in the first grade. Esther Jane Means in the second and third grade, Roy Weaver in the fourth and fifth, and Miss Julian in the sixth. Upstairs there were a number of different teachers, P.A. Foust, Principal, Forrest Martin, two sisters named Calloway, and Helen Evans, a very special teacher. There were others off and on, but these are the ones that I can recall at this time. They were good teachers and we were fortunate to have them out there in that country schoolhouse that became a place of memories later on.

I remember an alumni meeting when we used to have them in the gym. I took Janie upstairs to show her where Floyd Cotterman, the janitor, patched a hole in the floor behind the stage scenery with a coffee can lid. Miss Evans was sponsor of the junior play and she needed a dependable gunshot in one of the scenes. She left that up to Jack Leffert and I and cap guns weren’t dependable. Shotguns on the other hand ... . Well, we found a shotgun shell filled with sand still made a healthy bang and the night of the play Jack’s 12-gauge Winchester pump made a healthy report, blew a hole in the floor, sending a shower of dust and splinters out onto the stage, woke up all of the sleeping babies the mothers had managed to put to sleep causing them to scream bloody murder, and shut down the junior play for a good 5 minutes. Not a bad night’s work for a couple of nimrods like Jack and I. We were understandably proud.

Then there was the night the senior boys decided to test the fire hoses after basketball practice. They worked, but they were canvas and all of the water remaining in the hoses leaked out onto the hallway floor that night and the next morning we were flooded. It didn’t take long for P.A. to get to the bottom of the matter, and that day “Porky” Carson and I were in the pressroom working on the school paper when P.A. walked in. He inquired if “Porky” was “in” on the bit with the fire hoses and he admitted that he was. P.A. inquired further if he wanted his butt kicked at that time or if he might like to put it off until later. Given the choice, “Porky” opined that he might as well kick it right away, so P. A. grabbed him by the shirt collar and drop-kicked him across the press room. It all happened so fast I barely had time to laugh (after P.A. left, of course) No one dared even smirk when someone got theirs from Mr. Foust.

I have often thought in later days how a man like him could straighten out one of today’s schools if only the parents and the school board and the lawyers would allow him to operate on the troublemakers, and don’t worry about his being big enough. He was built along the lines of the giant, Thor in the old “Popeye” cartoons. Probably not quite as big, but he looked like he was if you were on the wrong side of the fence, and he was coming through the gate.

It all happened a long time ago, but some of it seems like yesterday and all of the memories make a person glad he was there to share in the laughter, the learning and the terror.

We are going to have our alumni supper at Onward Christian Church on Saturday, May 4, from 5 p.m. to who knows when. Dinner will by served at 6 p.m. (I’ll never know why they call supper dinner.) There will be a discussion as to whether we want to erect a monument where the building stood at a cost of approximately $3,000.

We would like to have your input, and some of your money, if we decide to do it. Please come.

Joe Bowyer is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached via email at jjbowyer@hotmail.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Sandra Stotsky STOTSKY: The next step redux in education standards Writing at National Review Online, Rick Hess and Mike McShane of the American Enterprise Institute make the complaint that critics of Common Core have not come up with the next steps to "repeal and replace" for states that want to restore academic in

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WILLIAMS: Get out on the highway My son's truck is in the shop and my friend, Jan, was in the hospital so I had her truck in order to be able to go feed her cats while John used my car to go to work. Jan and I both purchased vehicles before we retired that we hoped would be the last

    April 24, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

    April 20, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.