It was 70 years ago this month. New York schools always seemed to take a summer recess later than many others and so it was in our two-room school. The picture reflects our three person eighth grade 1941 graduating class.
Marilyn Williams, on the right, was our class valedictorian. The scrawny kid on the left, with an ill-fitting outfit, was the salutatorian. Virginia Race filled out the trio. Marilyn went on to marry a local boy (one I considered as one of the 'good guys' in town) and she became the hostess of the Spencertown Academy once the school closed down. Virginia married one of my best friends and continued to live in our small village.
The picture brings back a lot of memories of two room school life. Walking a mile each way in every kind of weather. Living with respect, if not fear, of Mr. Crounce's alleged rubber hose in the top left-hand drawer of his desk. The excitement of moving back a row every year - assuming, of course, that we were eligible to be promoted. Memories of his and her outhouses out behind the school. And memories of picnics down at the creek behind the IGA store, and once-in-a-while trips to the State museum in Albany.
Who would have known what it would be like to move in the fall to a 'big' school seven miles away where we would change rooms every forty-five minutes or so. At least for me, the change to high school was challenging and having to get used to a number of teachers was not easy. Making matters worse was taking a month off from school in December to visit grandparents in California where we experienced West Coast panic when Pearl Harbor was bombed. When I got back from the trip I was hopelessly behind in Algebra which involved a couple more years before I could pass the elementary level. My majors in high school were fun and games and it is amazing I made it to graduation. I did much better in college during much more mature years.
At the time the picture was taken, who would have ventured a guess as to what life experiences were ahead? I suppose that we really had a hard time seeing beyond 'tomorrow'. I guess memories are great - but I still enjoy wondering what tomorrow holds. Just like it was in June of 1941.