N. Bloomfield school changed since 1930s

Recently, we sent some congratulatory cards and gifts to family members who graduated from high school. Putting these cards in the mail made me think of many years ago when I graduated from North Bloomfield High School. I was a member of the class of 1942 and, yes, that takes me back a few years.

It was a big class! Twelve of us made up the class, one of the smallest to graduate during those years.

I had three brothers and we were just a year apart in age. Our sister came along about four years later. Brother Elmore graduated in 1940, Dale in 1941, then me and Wayne in 1943 and sister Mary in 1947.

Our school was very different in many ways. Since it was a small school, there were all eight elementary grades and the high school in one building. North Bloomfield School is still a small school but some years ago it consolidated with Mesopotamia. There have been some additions to the building since I attended in the 1930s and early ’40s.

Our desks were wooden, permanently attached to the floor. The seats would fold up and there was a place for books, tablets and pencils beneath the top. They had a slight slope to them with an ink well in the right hand corner. We never used the ink wells while I was in school.

Computers hadn’t been heard of during my school years. We used our books, tablets and pencils, and the blackboard, chalks and erasers. General math and algebra were taught with the blackboard and book, and calculations were done by hand.

At the top of blackboards in elementary school, there were examples of cursive writing, mostly unheard of today. In the lower grades, we were taught to use this style of writing and it is unfortunate we have gotten away from it.

We had to provide our own textbooks. Since I was third in line in our family, I inherited most of mine from my brothers. Used textbooks were as good as new ones and I could benefit from some of the comments my brothers would write in the margins.

Since we didn’t have a cafeteria, we had to pack our lunches if we wanted to eat at school. We only lived about eight-tenths of a mile away, so we would walk home for lunch when the weather was good. We also had to walk to school and home again because the bus did not pick us up living that close.

High school was all in one big room on the second floor. Often we would have study hall in the rear while a class was being taught up front. Our minds might listen to what was being taught rather than studying for some class we were about to have.

Our library was fairly small, with books lining the walls on both sides. It was a limited library but seemed to suffice. There was a large table in the middle and for something to do before school started and during lunch, time we would play ping pong on it. Ping pong or table tennis was one sport that I got good at playing and enjoyed.

Since it was a small school, we didn’t have enough boys for a football team. We did field baseball and basketball teams. Our won-loss record was much on the loss side. There were opportunities to take part in school plays and we had an excellent small band in which I played saxophone.

We got a good education in our school. My grades were good enough to get into The Ohio State University, where my grades allowed me to go on to graduate school at Cornell University, where I got my second degree.

It was a different time and we had many advantages that don’t exist today.

Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Contact him at 149woodside@twc.com.

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