L To R, Josh Perkins, Elmer Willis, Solomon Doyle, Mae Ashworth Willis, Nora Ashworth Griffin, Shelby Ashworth

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Teachers At Singer High School

Let me start this story, by saying, That if we still had teachers like this today, being able to correct and discipline an unruly kid. We would not be having the problems with kids today, as we are having now. That is my firm belief.
I had Mrs Walker, "Not Ms", for first grade. I don't not recall much about her other than the "Hooping John Dillon " story and that she wore the brightest red lip stick they made back then.
In the second grade I had Mrs Eula Moses. She was a super nice person and a great teacher. I remember she was so tickled, when my youngest sister Patricia, passed from her second grade to the third grade. She sent a letter home to my mother saying how happy she was about that, because she said that we were the first full family she had taught.
Up until that point, for me, the only discipline we had, was either you were sat in a corner by yourself, or you kept your head down on the desk and wasn't allowed to take part in what the other kids were doing and having fun at. Well that was then end of that when you got to the third grade.
Next up was Mrs Dorothy Bolin, third grade. Good Teacher, Great Person. But she had a very bad habit of pulling ears, tapping you on the head rather firmly, slapping hands. I do hope she finally over came those bad habits.
Fourth Grade was headed by Mrs Lila Jones. She also was a very good teacher. Years and years later after I had moved from Singer to Dequincy. I had a job after school, weekend and holidays and during the summer at a flower shop in town. Mrs Jones came in one day and she recognized me right off. I waited on her and we talked some, mostly about how we were both doing and such. She bought some item, She paid with a twenty dollar bill and I gave her her change. She looked at it and said, well let me see if I taught you anything. The change was correct and she looked at me and said, well I did my job well. She then left and that was the last I ever seen her.
Lord help us all, Fifth grade and Mrs Bernice Stephens. Prepare for boot camp. Good teacher, but firm, very firm. She too, had a bad habit of pulling ears, putting a knuckle firmly into your skull, slapping hands. She also had a tactic, she was packing heat. She carried a 1x2 with a hand hold carved into it. She kept it concealed, it seems as though she could pull it out of thin air. This is also the first time we ever seen our teachers cry, when you learned at the end of the year that we all had passed onto the next grade."For those of you who are to young to remember this, Yes they did FAIL students back then. I never did figure out if they were crying because they were happy to see us move on, or just glad to be rid of us.
Sixth Grade, this was no boot camp people, it is an all out war. We had the "Four Star General", for a teacher. Mrs Mamie Cooley. She had pulled more time at Singer school than any other teacher. Battled scared, tough, rough, strict, firm. But at the same time a very loving person, gentle, soft, and loved by everyone who ever had the privilege of knowing her. Her tricks of the trade also included pulling ears, a knuckle firmly place in your skull, she also slapped hands, but she had a twist to that. She used a ruler. She to was packing heat, but she never concealed it. It was right there for everyone to see. I imagine she was playing mind games with everyone. It was like this , you wanted to do something wrong and you knew it was wrong, but she had that "Paddle", " "I hope, I do not get into trouble using that word today". Out for everyone to see and you knew that it was waiting for you. She also had one of the wickedest holds she could ever put on anyone. She would take her pointing finger and thumb and grab you right below your bottom lip and up under your chin. She could put that hold on you, and walked all the way to China, and you would follow her all the way. She also introduced you to a new form of discipline. If, and I say if, you survived all of the above and none of it made you changed your ways. The you became "Principal Bait". She would make you go and stand in the hall. You stood there until the bell Rang for the next class, or until the Principal came by. Then you had to explain to him what the problem was. Let me tell you from experience, You should always tell the truth. Because he would hear you out, then he would step into the class room with you and he would ask the teacher what happen. If her version didn't match yours, you then got two butt whippings. One for doing wrong and one for lying. Oh, I almost forgot about standing in the hall, when the bell would ring for the next class. You had to be at the next class, so you were allowed to go on to it. Thinking the rest of the day and night you had beat the game of standing in the hall, because the Principal never came by and seen you there. That was until the next day, when her class came around. You would walk in there and take your seat. She would then clear her throat and ask you firmly just where were you when the classed ended the day before? Yep,back into the hall you went again.
Seventh Grade and Mr Jimmy Archer and Miss Hazel Gray, were our first experience of having two teachers in one day. They were our first "Cool" teachers, as kids would say back then. They dealt with your mind, not your hand , skull, ears, or rear ends. The paddle was still there, being Principal bait, was still there and, a option, but very seldom used. I guess they figure that our previous teachers had educated us enough, that the thought of all the discipline they used on us was forever embedded in our brains. I guess you could say we knew of only two choices. Keep getting disciplined, or start learning and having fun at it, and for the first time, to start acting like young adults and growing into responsible adults.
Next up is Mrs Mary Frances Cooley. A very fair and honest teacher. Yet at the same time we, all thought she was just to demanding and hard on us. How wrong we were, when later on in life, I got to know her as a person and not as a teacher. She was a very sweet and loving person.
Mrs Anne Crain. I only had her for about five months. She taught home economics. The girls had here for half if the year and the boys the other half. She, as all the teachers at Singer was a very nice person. I really liked this class. This maybe where I got my urge to learn the basics of cooking. I still love to cook to this day.
Mrs Bernice Heath, was my typing teacher. One thing she taught me and many other I am sure of. Came back to my like riding a bicycle. That is, no matter how much times passes, you will never forget how to type your name with your eyes closed.Some thirty years had passed and I never once sat down at another type writer to type anything since finishing school. When I purchased my first computer, the very fist thing I did was to sit at it, shut my eyes, and sure enough, I still knew the keys as if I have just been taught it the day before. It didn't take long for the rest of it to come back to me. Still not as good as I was in school, but good enough to get by. She was one of the sweets people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Mr Gordon Langford was my last teacher at Singer, before I moved on to De Quincy High. He is the type of person with whom everyone could get along with. I enjoyed his classes greatly. He was a teacher, a good joke teller and one who could get a lesson across to anyone who just couldn't get it. He never knew it, But I admired him greatly. I would love to be able to see him to just see how he and his family is doing. Knowing him, he's doing great.
In closing out this chapter, I have to mention the two principals I had while at Singer. They were Mr Frank Hennigan and Mr John Rudd. I never really knew that much about them except that they swung a mean paddle!!HHAAA But as I look back on my days there, everyone I have spoken of were some of the greatest people I have ever known to this day. I just want to say, I do appreciate every thing they ever did for me and to me. I have poked humor at and about the form of discipline they administered. But I and many others, are living proof that it works and works great. So my hat is off to all these great people, who I had the pleasure of knowing. This is just my way of saying you all were and still are loved by many hundreds of people that you had a very important part in shaping and molding into adults. THANK YOU

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