Guest Author: Fred Searles ’62.
The year was 1955 and I was in the 5th grade at Leroy Grade School, as we called it. Mrs. Ruth Rowley was our principal, which seemed to be unusual at the time to have a woman principal. She was also our English teacher as I recall.
At lunch time, if you were in the 6th grade, you could play in the gym after you finished your lunch. If you were in the 5th grade, which I was, you first had to raise your hand. I raised my hand and proceeded to ask Mrs. Rowley, “Can I please go to the gym now? I’ve finished my lunch.” “Well,” she says, “you look like you are ABLE to go but if you are asking permission the correct way to ask is to say MAY I please go to the gym?” We spent the rest of the lunch period with me writing on the chalk board learning the difference between CAN and MAY. To this day, it is a memory that has been chiseled into my memory.
Mrs. Rowley was a very nice lady and a good friend to our family and our Leroy Community. I look back and realize that she had a way of teaching us things to help us become more complete citizens of the world and her teachings went way beyond what I learned that day.
Our most fun was recess, of course. The swings, teeter-totter and slides. Sometimes the boys would play tag football, usually with someone’s cap.
I am a leap year baby and in 1952, I would have been two years old and in the second grade. One of my fellow students told the teacher that I was a leap year baby and it turns out that the teacher had never known anyone born on that day. So, unknown to me, the class planned a surprise birthday party for me. Periodically, we would play follow the leader through the school to just work off the energy that kids our age had….so off “we hopped” through the halls and eventually down to the basement, which was our lunch room.
It was all decorated and much to my surprise everyone turned to me and started shouting “Happy Birthday” and laughing at the trick that they had played on me. To this day it was one of the nicest birthday parties I’ve ever had.
Final Thoughts of Leroy Grade School: Having the feeling of belonging to our community family of Leroy, to the Leroy Grange Family and the Brakeman Church family.
Leroy was a very “SPECIAL” place to grow up and it was a very special time in our history.