This is Willshire Public School, the school I attended my first eight years.
Last week someone on Facebook posted an old photo of my second grade class. Mrs. Marcella Schroeder was our teacher during that 1959-60 school year. The photo, shown below, shows our whole class sitting at our desks in our classroom. Of course the photo brought back many memories.
I have another photo just like it, of our first grade class, taught by Mrs. Opal Clouse. That was the 1958-59 school year. These class photos are nice and I wish I had some more from the other grades. [The names of the students are at the end of this post.]
We did not have a kindergarten class at Willshire. Instead we were put right in to the first grade. There were two first grades at Willshire at that time and Mrs. Fisher taught the other class. There was only one second grade so both first grades were combined for our second year.
As you can see, there are 19 pupils in my first grade photo and 39 in the second grade photo. Poor Mrs. Schroeder. That was a very large class for one teacher!
Our first grade classroom was across the hall from the second grade room. It wasn’t really a hall, but rather a big open area. The oiled wood floors creaked when you walked over them and large wooden staircases lead to the upper floor where the third and fourth grade classrooms were located. The stair steps bowed in the middle from the many years of student traffic.
Our first grade classroom was toward the front of the building, on the northwest side. There was a narrow cloakroom [aka coatroom] adjacent to our classroom, where we stored our coats, galoshes, and other winter gear. The girls wore dresses to school back then and in the winter we wore slacks under them to keep our legs warm. The slacks were often made of corduroy and we usually did not wear them when we were in class. I see that Sue Wolfe was wearing her plaid slacks in our second grade photo.
The photos reminded me that we tied our tennis shoes together and hung them from our desks. Nobody wore tennis shoes to school back then but we had to wear them on the gymnasium floor at gym time. We usually wore saddle shoes to school.
We had to crawl under our desk when we had a tornado drill. That was a tight squeeze.
We must have been doing our reading in Mrs. Clouse’s class because we all had our books open to the very same page. There are a number of toys in the photos, but I don’t remember playing with toys at school.
I did well in school but Mrs. Clouse gave me an S- in Attitude a couple times because she thought I talked too much. Imagine that! Me talking too much! Actually she should have known better than to put me in the back of the class, right across from Susie Brandt. Susie and I went to church together and we always had a lot to talk about. It was really hard to keep from talking.
Most of the kids in my first grade class were from Willshire or the area nearby, but a few of us were from the Chatt area. I notice that Mrs. Clouse put the Chatt kids together in the back of the room–Dave Stephenson, Cheryl Gilliland, and Donna Behm are back there with me. The other Chatt kids were in Mrs. Fisher’s class. There are eight Chatt-area students in the second grade photo: Carol Andrews, Nelda Leistner, Carla Hoblet, Cheryl Gilliland, Dave Stephenson, Debbie Carr, Donna Behm, and me. And of course Mrs. Schroeder lived right in downtown Chatt.
These are the only two classroom photos I have and I wish I had more. Maybe they only took them these two years. Someone probably has one from Mrs. Fisher’s first grade, 1958-59.
The old school building at Willshire was torn down in 2006. It would be interesting to walk through it again.
Names of the students in the photos:
First Grade, Willshire School, 1958-59, Mrs. Opal Clouse, teacher:
Row 1: Jim Huffine, Doug Carr, Dayle Hileman
Row 2: Chuck Myers, John Ridenour, Tamara Dellinger, Lana Lautzenheiser, Donna Behm
Row 3: Kenny Baylog, Chuck Painter, Darla Ross, Dave Stephenson, Cheryl Gilliland, Susie Brandt
Row 4: Joyce Webb, Nancy Stetler, Ray Gamble, Colette Geisler, Karen Miller
At the back: Mrs. Opal Clouse
Second Grade, 1959-60, Mrs. Marcella Schroeder, teacher:
Row 1: Karen Miller, Dave Stephenson, Darla Ross, Debbie Carr, Linda Duff, Donna Behm
Row 2: Sue Wolfe, Nancy Stetler, Bill Bates, Cheryl Gilliland, Chuck Painter, Joyce Webb, Gary Hamrick, Joyce Roehm
Row 3: Tamara Dellinger, Kenny Carmean, Sherry Hey, Doug Carr, Paula Clouse, Jim Huffine, Ray Gamble, Lana Lautzenheiser, Kenny Baylog
Row 4: Carol Andrews, Lynn Lough, Nelda Leistner, Chuck Myers, John Ridenour, Dayle Hileman, Jim Stuckey, Helen Boring
At the back of the room: Carla Hoblet, Mrs. Schroeder, Terry Harmon, Colette Geisler
To the left: Gary Moser, Charles Putman, Brent Whitacre, Susie Brandt, Steve Sipe