Hanover School Memories 1955-1968

Here I am again. This time to share some memories of Hanover School, District 28. Funny how one can remember that kind of trivia, but can’t remember the name of the person to whom one is talking!

I grew up in Hanover. We lived about 2 miles south of the school and a half mile west. It was easy to tell the directions in Hanover, because the mountains were always in the west.

My mother cooked at the school two days a week and Mrs. Kerr (the 1st-4th grade teacher)  had agreed that I could attend class on those days and occasionally other days . Sometimes when my parents were working at the church (the Hanover Church was built 1954, ’55, I was allowed to walk the half mile to the school and and attend class for a half day. Sometimes if my dad was at the church, I could walk from the school to the church. I was 4 or 5 at the time.

My mother was one of the cooks at the school for many years. Some of the others I remember were Ollie Ball, Nellie Day, Rosa Baker, Mrs. Innes, Karen Million, Jane Baker and Nettie Huffmaster. I am sure there were others, but those stick in my mind. They were all good cooks, but I particularly remember Nettie’s cookies. They were always the same size and so yummy. I also remember Ollie’s chili. It always had a clear soup. I never did figure out how she did that!

Lunch was always a fun time. We always had a mug of milk. The milk was usually provided by local farmers, including my father. He usually brought one or two gallons of milk and it was put into a big red and white machine to be pasteurized. Often the local farmer provided other produce from their gardens and fields, such as fresh corn on the cob and dried beans.

We didn’t have a choice of food. Back then one was expected to eat what was served or go hungry. For example, the usual fare was: Pigs in a blanket one day, chili or beans and cornbread on another, Chicken chow mien perhaps another day,  fish or tomato soup and toasted cheese on Friday. We usually had sides of applesauce, spinach and other good and healthy food made entirely from scratch. Even the rolls for hamburgers were usually homemade. All very tasty and healthy. If you didn’t like the food on your plate, you just traded it for something you liked. There was always someone willing to trade. We often could have seconds if we needed it, but one plate was usually enough. I think I remember the meals were $0.15 a day.

We had heavy glass mugs and plates. The primary grades had their food and milk all served and on the table when we came in to eat. The older kids picked up their plates as they came in. In the earlier days of my Hanover school career, we all ate together at four table with a red linoleum top. Shoved together the four tables made two long tables. We had long white benches on which we sat. We always prayed a poem prayer together before we ate.

Usually, the day began with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Most of the students had arrived at least fifteen minutes before school began and would be outside playing (even the high school…especially the high school). The weather and time of  year often dictated the type of games we played.  We would play basketball on the dirt court, dodge ball against the side of the school, snowball, sledding on cardboard down the hill, baseball in the neighbor’s pasture, and we always had the old fashioned swings, slide, merry-go-round and teeter-totter (see-saw). We also played “Mother/Father May I”.  “Mother/Father” would hoist themselves up against the wall outside in the front side of the entrance so they would be higher than the other kids. The would be the ones to order what we should do and it was our job to be polite and say “Mother (Father)may I”.  If we didn’t say exactly that, we had to go back to the start line and start all over again.  First one to the parent won and got to be parent. Other favorites were jump rope and in the winter “Fox and Geese” and every room had a ping-pong table. I think that was  Mr. Walcher’s idea.  It was a good one.  We also played an inside game on the steps in the school entrance. Everyone had a corner and one was it. The idea was to trade corners and not let the person who was “it” beat you to the corner.   We played these games and more during the two recess periods and the noon break.  Grade school up to 8th grade were allowed two 15 minute recess periods a day.  The whole school was given a break at lunch, when we would all play together.  I remember high school boys helping me to bat a ball and picking me up and running around the bases with me.

The old-fashioned hand bell would be rung for the beginning of school.  The beginning time varied during my school years between 8:30 and 9:00.  We would all run to the front of the school building and line up in a straight line with no fooling around.  One had to stand tall and put their right hand over their heart and say the Pledge.  If the weather was bad each class said it in their own room. We were taught to love respect the flag. We were taught the correct way to handle and fold the flag. We were taught the meaning of the flag and why it is so important to Americians.

During my earlier years, we would have a song time on Fridays for the entire 12 grades. I think it was mainly during the years that Gertrude Williams was teacher or principle.  I don’t remember which she was, but I do remember she led us in lots of old songs.  One of my favorite was “Old Black Joe

I probably should mention that we had only three classrooms : 1st trough 4th in one room, 5th through 8th in another, 9th through 12th in the third and then we had the lunchroom.  It was school year 1958 or 1960 when it was decided that two rooms were needed for the high school and the 1st through 4th were moved up to the little one-room school on the hill.

The rooms that the 5th-8th and 9th-12th met in would make into one large room for the “auditorium”.  There was a wonderful roll down curtain with lots of advertising on it and a pretty picture.  It seemed huge to me in those days and all community functions were held in that large room.  Sunday School and Church were also held there until the church was built in 1955.  The school was also the place where voting took place.  My mother was one of what was called the Democratic Committee Woman.  They had two Democrats and two Republicans.  At election time, the high school kids would bring pies, cakes, cookies and other goodies to sell to raise money. It was a learning time and great fun.

When we were using the ” little” school for classes, we had an old coal stove for heat for awhile.  It wasn’t long until they put in a gas heater. Also, the “big” building had a coal furnace.  Dad had to go early in the morning to stoke the furnace to keep the school warm.  It was a wonderful heat.  I remember coming in from recess and standing over the register to warm up or dry out.  It was fun to wear a dress and have the heat billow out our skirts.  We were allowed to play outside in the rain or snow if we wanted.  We would take our shoes and socks off and lay them on the furnace register to dry.  We were often sopping wet and cold.  Kids nowadays just don’t know what fun wet and cold can be. Sometimes the old coal furnace would smoke for some reason and we’d have to open the windows and air out the building. The amazing thing was that we were quite healthy.  I have a nice collection of perfect attendance awards.

Our playground was very big.  We were not fenced in.  We were told where we could not go and for the most part we obeyed.  Who wanted to miss recess or worse by disobeying?  I feel so sorry for the kids that are fenced into little areas and then the parents and teachers wonder why they can’t sit still.  We had real big silver metal playground equipment.  The first equipment I remember was an old chain that used to be a swing, but had broken and had a knot tied in it on which one could sit..  It was a thrilling ride to be twirled and pushed on it.  We also had an old teeter-totter that my dad would paint and fix(very often it seemed).  Also a wonderful old merry-go-round.  One could hold onto it and have the big boys push it and at a fast speed, one’s feet would swing up perpendicular to the swing and parallel to the ground.  I think I remember someone having a broken arm from that game.  Then the school got the monkey bars, big swings and slide.  One could jump out of the swings, shinny up the legs of the slide and hang upside down an all three.  Great fun.  One boy broke both wrists by jumping out of the swing backwards.

We had a dirt basketball court, so we didn’t host many games.  I think that sometimes our baskets were a little taller than the ones in the gyms because our court got scrapped by a road grader to get rid of the weeds.  We practiced …boys and girls together and everyone from about 4th grade up could play.  We did play other schools, but our small numbers did not work in our favor. The boys did a little better and we had fun. Claude Akers was the girls’ coach.  The volleyball court was the same, but we never played other schools in volleyball.  Our softball field was up the hill and through the north fence in the neighbor’s pasture.  It had been there many years. Sometimes there were cows out there and we had to watch where we ran…not just because of the cactus. Good memories!

School always ran from day after Labor Day to Memorial Day.  At the beginning of school we would be given a Chief Tablet, one or two pencils, an eraser and our own stick of clay in the color we choose.  Everything smelled clean and new.  We read out of “Dick and Jane” books, we learned real history and science, not the rewritten stuff or theories taught as truth.

My parents drove the bus and did the janitor work most of the time while I was in school.  My dad drove the bus for a long time, long before I was born.  I have no idea how long they drove buses and did the up-keep of the school.  I remember going to the school in the summer and helping with the cleaning.  Pounding erasers, washing blackboards, washing windows, cleaning those boards that go around the perimeter of the room, scrubbing the desks  were among my jobs.  Dad painted, repaired and did what needed to be done to keep the school neat and in good order.  The little school building, the teacherage and garage were painted frequently too keep them looking nice.

The teacherage was a four-roomed house where teachers lived so they wouldn’t have to drive back and forth every day.  The first teacher I remember living there was Mrs. Plunk and then the Dick Ginn family.  Later Mr. and Mrs. Walcher lived in half of it and we had 5th-8th grade class in the other half.  I was in 5th and 6th grades when they lived there .  Later the teacherage was auctioned off and it was moved off the property.  I don’t know what happened to the garage.  The old one-room school has, unfortunately, been left to fend for itself.  Hopefully someone will take pride in the school again and put a little time and paint into it.

Did I mention that we did not have indoor restrooms?  We did not get indoor toilets until about 1965. I don’t remember exact dates, but I do know it was in the mid-sixties.  That was a big deal.  My dad built an addition that contained a storage room, and girl’s and boy’s restroom with a shower even.  That was quite nice.  Before that was built the boys had an outhouse at the top of the hill and the girls just north of the school.  I don’t ever remember feeling that it was a problem to run out there.  Most of the time it was a very good excuse to have a run and get a bit of exercise.  The hallway that was turned into the hall to the restrooms was previously a cloakroom.  It had hooks for hanging coats and hats and plenty of room for boots, if one had any.  The far end had cabinets and was used for storage.

Usually our teachers would get books from the Colorado Springs library and bring them to school for us to borrow and read. Later we had a bookmobile that came every other week.  It was nice to get to browse through all those books.

As I said before, my parents drove the school bus.  The first one I remember well was a big black suburban type.I don’t remember if it was Ford or Chevy, but it probably was one or the other. I know there were others before that one, but that is the first I really remember. Dad made a bench to fit along the side where the door was.  It fit over the wheel well and 3 kids could sit on it. We didn’t have to have seat belts, so 4 or 5 would be in the back seat, 2 or 3 in the middle, 2 or 3 on the bench and 2 in front.  The number depended on the size of the kids, but usually the older kids got the back seat and front.

Also those years were years of bad sand storms.  I remember school being closed because of the blowing sand.  It ruined many windshields and the school would have piles of sand in the windows and there would be a fine layer of sand on everything.  Sometimes roads would be blown shut with sand.

In high school we used to raise money for trips.  Usually we went every other year and Juniors and Seniors went together.  We raised money by selling magazines, and having spaghetti suppers and movie night.  We also had soup dinners and talent shows.  We had a lot of fun preparing and doing these things together.