Monday, August 15, 2011

Chapter 5

Norlina High School
Elementary Years (Grades 1-8)

Norlina, N.C. is a small rural railroad town.

The town was built where the main north-south line of the seaboard airline railroad that runs from Florida, to Atlanta, to Raleigh, to Richmond and Washington, DC and points northward. The line brakes at Norlina and has a branch line that goes eastward to Norfolk, VA.

The town limits of Norlina are 1 square mile. From the center of town to the town limits is ½ mile.

Norlina High School is a public school. The school is in a residential area but very close to the downtown business.

The school is a 2-story brick building with a basement. The school has 13 classrooms, an auditorium, a cafeteria, and a furnace room. There is an agriculture building that also housed a woodworking shop. In the mid 1950’s a gym was built on the school property.

If you lived within a mile of the school, school bus service was not available.

I went to Norlina High School in grades 1-12 and walked to school in grades 1-12. Everyone in Norlina walked to school. If the weather were bad Mama would take me. I would leave home alone walking to school but would soon meet up with friends and we would walk together.

In first and second grades we sat at tables that were about 5ft long and about 30 inches wide. In grades 4, 5, and 6 we had desk. The desk was hooked together and there would be 4 desks that joined each other on runners. From 7grade through high school we all had individual desk.

There was a small public school at Wise and one at Drewry these schools closed in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s and the students were sent to Norlina. Class’s sizes would vary some. There were 18 in my 1st grade class, 34 in my 5th grade class and 22 in my 12th grade class.

Some times a class would be split so that there could be some 4th and 5th grade students together.
I believe Mrs. Palmer had the third grade and part of the forth grade and Mrs. Register had part of the forth grade and the fifth grade.
My teachers were
                Susie Rooker ------ 1st grade
                Emma Dunn --------2nd grade
                Rosa Palmer --------3rd grade
                Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Register each had ½ of forth grade.
                Nellie Register ------5th grade
                Lucy Dryden --------6th grade
                Mrs. W.O. Reed -----7th grade
                Harry Sams ----------8th grade

There was no playground at Norlina, or maybe every thing outside the building was the playground. We did have a swing and a sliding board but often we would play dodge ball, keep it away, hide go seek, baseball or marbles.

Most of the time in grades 1-6 I carried my lunch to school and ate in the cafeteria. I usually carried my lunch in a brown paper bag. About 5th grade I got a metal lunch box. When I carried lunch it would often be something left over like a ham biscuit, a sausage biscuit, a fat back biscuit, a piece of fried chicken, peanut butter and jelly sandwich and sometimes a piece of cake. I would buy milk at school. A half pint of milk cost 3cents but it later went up to 5cents. From grades 7-12 I mostly bought my lunch at school. The lunches cost a $1.00 a week and that include milk but and extra milk was another 5 cents.
Lunches later went up to a $1.25 week.

I remember a time that Daddy would have me pick some turnip salad and some turnips to take to the school cafeteria. I do not know if he were paid for this, if it were a donation, if I ate at reduced rates or if were a gift to a cafeteria employee.

The only field trip I remember for grades 1-8 was in 7th grade when we went on a trip to the State Capital in Raleigh, NC.

In 7th grade we had a little league football team. I am not sure if this was a school activity or a boy scout activity. I thing that Mr. Dick Hester, our scout master, was the football coach. We probably only played a few games. I think we played a team in Henderson twice and they won. I remember one time we were playing and I had to punt. I missed the football when punting.

I do not remember any historic events when I was in elementary school. World War II had ended and the Korean Conflict and Civil Rights movement had not started.

There was a very good music program and play performances when I was in elementary school that was led by a school volunteer, my mother. Mama was a very good piano player. I have been told that she was being prepared to go to a conservatory in Saint Louis to study music but she did not and later married Daddy. Mama devoted many hours playing for students in mine and John’s class to sing and for school plays. I cannot remember a play or student course that Mama did not help with.

I think that in grades 1-7 a parent would volunteer to be a “Grade Mother”. The grade mother would bring refreshments to functions and help out with some school projects. I believe Mama was always a grade mother.

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