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Whittling Away with Dick Brooks - School Days

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/5/24 | 4/5/24

I drove by the elementary school where I spent the best 38 years the other day.  Quiet, parking lot empty and no children to be seen, not at all what it should have been.  As I drove towards home what’s left of my mind flashed back to my childhood days at NBUFS (North Bangor Union Free School).  NBUFS was one of the most imposing structures in the little cross roads hamlet of North Bangor in upstate New York.  I’m talking about the REAL upstate, within spitting distance of the Canadian border.  It was a fairly new school when I attended having been built about ten years earlier.  It consisted of four classrooms built around a gym.  It housed grades 1-8, two grades to a room.  This meant you had the same teacher for at least two years.  My brother Bud’s teacher kept moving up grade levels and she had the same class for at least six years, she’s still considered a family member.  There were eight members in my class and we were together for all eight years.  Most of 

us were delivered to school on the one school bus the district had.  It really wasn’t a bus for the first few years, it was a station wagon, the pre minivan kid hauler.  It was traded in for a small yellow school bus when I was in sixth grade.  It was driven by a small rightfully surly little old man named Perk.  If your behavior didn’t measure up to 

acceptable Perk standards, he would stop the bus and make you get out and walk as he drove off leaving you to be devoured by wolves or passing carnivorous cows and no  parent ever sued or complained.  We had some memorable students.  There was Jim who had spent at least two years in each grade and by the time he was in eighth grade had his own parking spot in the parking lot.  He was about six feet tall and shaved, this was before social promotions became popular.  Beverly was the toughest kid in class and caused a major commotion when she appeared for eighth grade graduation in a dress, we hadn’t realized until then that she was a female.  Baldy was the class idiot.  He was about three feet high and weighed about eighty pounds.  He had a brush cut and wore round glasses that gave him a bird like appearance.  If you dared him to do something, consider it done.  He was dared to call our fifth/sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, “Fatso”.  This was a mistake, Mrs. Smith was a two hundred pounder and not happy about it.  She started chasing Baldy and couldn’t catch him because 

he started circling her desk.  She was on one side and he was on the other, she’d move and so would he.  He kept yelling “Fatso” and she got angrier and angrier.  It ended poorly for Baldy.  Mrs. Smith finally pushed the desk hard pinning Baldy between the desk and the blackboard.  She 

reached over the desk and got a death grip on Baldy’s ear  and hauled him out into the hall.  Baldy’s behavior was better from that day forward, at least when Mrs. Smith was around.  Fond memories, I wonder what my students will remember about their school days when they get to my age.

Thought for the week—Why is the third hand on a watch called the second hand?

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.     

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