Friday, August 31, 2018

School Days: My BEST writing

School Days: My BEST writing

Second Grade Printing. Collection of the author, 2018, September, 1954, Grade 2

I attended the Oaklawn School for grades 1-4. Oaklawn (the village) is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was at one time a Quaker community. When I was in 2nd grade, the "new school building" was under construction. In 2014, I went back to see what was left of my school. The part of the school that wrapped around the oldest ("new part") part is gone.

When they hung the girls bathroom mirrors, the principal pulled me out of the classroom and went with me into the bathroom. I was the smallest child on that floor. Afterwards, she explained that I should never go into the girls room without an adult female teacher if there were men in the bathroom. I was scared.

I also remember that when I was in third grade, polio vaccine was being administered to schoolchildren and we did not start school until 21 September 1955 (on my report card) so that they could monitor possible outbreaks from those children that had not been inoculated.

Oaklawn School began in the Quaker section and it is now the Oaklawn Public Library. For all of us that grew up in the area, we remember fondly the wonderful May breakfast tradition.  The Quaker building is long gone and the Baptist church still stands.

19 Aug 2014, collection of the author.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

School Days: Important Grades?

School Days: Important Grades?

Cranston School Department, Cranston, RI. Report Card
Collection of the author, privately held. 2018
Primary school curriculum certainly has changed over the years. I'm not going to show you anymore report cards as they became less standardized as the grade level got higher. I remember my third grade teacher best because she was horrified at my sub-standard handwriting despite the final grade of A for second grade. In third grade cursive writing was begun and we actually used pens that dipped in the inkwells for several months until the school bought BIC stick pens.

My husband, a lifetime "leftie" and older than I am says he didn't use a pen and an inkwell at all.

Apparently we learned reading, language and writing ONLY in the first two grades. I know we had to write the numerals 0-9 but arithmetic and spelling were only taught at second grade and not starting with the beginning of the school year. The real work started at third grade. 

Sputnik was launched and changed the elementary school curriculum. Teachers, untrained in science, had to start teaching it. That was not popular with lower grade teachers.

School Days: First Report Card

Cranston School Department, Cranston, RI. Report Card
Collection of the author, privately held. 2018
School Days: First Report Card

Some families save records, just in case. I never thought of my report cards as a record of my education until I went to Rhode Island College with plans to become a teacher. I discovered my mother had saved them in a paper folio in the china cupboard. When the plastic Ziploc bag was invented, I put them in order and threw out the folio. When we bought our own home, I took them and stored them in a filing cabinet. 

As you can see, the dates are important to my timeline and the information of promoted to Grade 2 was the last thing written on the front. Report cards were sent home with the child and a parent was required to sign them and send them back. The last page of the report card contains my mother and father's signatures. If I hadn't has samples of their handwriting this would have been a valuable resource.

I searched for the "start date" of September 9, 1953 and it was a Wednesday, which confirms that I walked upstairs and went from the Kindergarten classroom to first grade since the report card is for first grade, not Kindergarten.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

School Days: Finding Miss Abbey

Rhode Island College School of Education, 1952
Ancestry. com (27 Aug 2018)

Miss Dolores Abbey
Several of my high school classmates went to Oaklawn School. Some have told me that they lived in the neighborhood of the school and what street they grew up on. Getting their remembrances encouraged me to work on this project.

Using the tools of technology, I have been able to see what the area looks like now and helped me take a "field trip" back home a few years ago. One person a couple years older  "graduated" from the school and even has an Oaklawn pin. 

At that time, there was only one public college that prepared teachers for elementary and high school teaching in Rhode Island. In many states, this kind of college is called a "Normal" or "Dame" school. The University where I received my Master's degree was once one of these places and my genealogy friend Heather Wilkinson Rojo discovered we took the same Master's program at Lesley University. Mine was completely online and hers was at the actual school. Most colleges and universities have an online presence and will have a history of our school or a mission statement.

My late mother-in-law, my husband's cousin and his wife and I went to the same college. Because it will be 50 years since I graduated in 1969, the college has written a history of the years I attended and made a Facebook page for the reunion

I have been spending time looking at the old yearbooks at Schools change their name over the years and you may have to look hard for information. The Alumni Association can help.

I searched Ancestry,com's yearbook collection of Rhode Island College of Education (RICE) and found a yearbook from the year before I went to Oaklawn and easily found my first grade teacher. I don't think I will find others because women did quickly marry after college. It was called getting your "Mrs". I've always thought that was funny.

Monday, August 27, 2018

School Days: Going to Kindergarten

First Grade Photo, Oaklawn School, 1953-1954
Privately held, collection of the author
School Days: Going to Kindergarten

I remember my first day of school quite vividly because it really wasn't what I expected. I remember the Kindergarten classroom was in the basement of the old Oaklawn School. The steps to the inside of the old school were very steep and many children struggled up them to make it into the school. From research, I learned that the school was built in 1895. 

Much to my shock, there were no desks and chairs, and the teacher made us sit on a large rug in front of the piano. I had on a new dress and decided to sit on the piano bench. The teacher didn't notice because she was herding the other children to the rug. I politely refused to sit on the rug and asked where the desks and books were.

The next thing I knew I was being called out of the room by the woman who I think was the principal, Miss Murphy. We went to her office. I still remember the sunlight streaming behind her big desk and chair through the windows which were high up on the wall. 

She took out a card with pictures of three oranges and an apple and asked me to identify the apple. I asked her if she didn't know? I remember her laugh and she said that I had to show her, so I did. She told me it was a test. I was glad she knew and I felt better.

There were more cards and then I told her that I could read. She took me to the bathroom and came back for me with a book. Judging from the year, it was a primary reader called, "Fun with Dick and Jane". The next thing I knew, I was taken to a nearby first grade classroom. 

Miss Abbey showed me where to sit and told me they called my mother and I was to stay for lunch and go home on the afternoon bus. I was glad to see a "real" teacher and to see desks and a bookcase. 

I was placed in the front row next to a very blonde little boy named Terry. I have later learned that that was because we both were left handed.

Until they published Rhode Island College yearbooks online, I didn't remember what she looked like except for her dark hair and long red fingernails. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

School Days: Before Going to School

March, 1952 (Collection of the author)
School Days: Before Going to School

Before I attended my first day of school at Oaklawn School in Cranston, Rhode Island, I attended two locations for pre-schools. As an only child with few neighborhood children to play with between 1950 and 1953, it was felt by my parents, maternal grandparents and my pediatrician that I needed more socialization. I didn't like my pediatrician. He made me have shots.

 I know that my parents attended church at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Pontiac Section of  nearby Warwick, RI and I clearly remember the Preschool Sunday School Class because they let me ride a tricycle and we listened to Bible stories. I met the minister and I thought he was God.

Around that same time, my mother signed me up to attend a pre-school located in a home in Oaklawn. They picked me up at home and delivered me back all before noon. There was a flower hanging over the rear-view mirror and the lady driving told us to look at it because we were going to draw it when we got to school. My mother loved my drawing and kept it for a long time but it was not there when I cleaned out my parent's home to sell. It was a small, cobalt-blue wildflower. I don't know what the name of that school was but the car was a dark color and quite big since there were other children picked up at the same time.

Later that year, I went to a pre-school located near my grandparents in the Washington Park area. It had a playground and a high fence around it. I remember the small slide. My grandmother wanted me to go to the Henry Barnard School in downtown Providence and we toured that school on a day they had Kindergarten graduation. The kids wore small caps and gowns.

But, my mother didn't want me to go to school so far from our home and after that more families moved into houses. So, it was decided that I would go to Kindergarten at Oaklawn School. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Prickly Summer: Notice of Funeral

Funeral and Burial for Annie Aiken Broadfoot
Westerly Sun, 1934

Westerly Sun, 1934
It is hard for me to imagine that my paternal grandmother was only 50 years old when she suddenly died after surgery. I did learn from these two newspaper accounts obtained from the Westerly Library's archives of the Westerly Sun newspaper, that Annie's funeral and committal (casket into the ground) was conducted at the church where my aunt, her children and my father and his brother attended church. 

I went to church with my father and my aunt and my cousin one Sunday, so I have been inside. 

Reading the bearers is impossible because of the microfilm being damaged, but some of the names can be researched. I found Robert Thompson in the photo of the Westerly Pipe Band. The Dow and Aiken men are family and I imagine the damaged part might have been my father, my uncle, or male co-workers or neighbors in Westerly or Bradford.

My father and the rest of the family has to pay and arrange for headstones for my grandparents. I would guess that this happened after my grandfather died. Not a good thing to have to pay for during the depression.

Prickly Summer: Dies After Operation

Removal of body from the Hospital for Burial
Westerly Town Hall obtained by Rosalie

Annie Aiken Broadfoot Dies After Surgery

Westerly Sun, October, 1934
My paternal grandmother's body was removed from the hospital where she died after recovering for a surgical procedure. This is the only removal permit I have in my collection. I learned from this document that she died on 10 Oct 1934 of a coronary embolism. I have always thought she had heart disease and the embolism was what killed her but after receiving the newspaper accounts, it is apparent that she had some operation, perhaps a hysterectomy and then she spent two weeks in the hospital recovering and suddenly died.

As her husband had a drinking problem, the situation at home after her death can't have been good. My oldest aunt was already married, which left my aunt and my two uncles without any help. 

The family history information is correct, as they lived on Vose St. before moving to Bradford when my grandfather stopping working in the granite industry and took a job at Bradford Dye and they moved to a mill house on Bowling Lane. 

My Godparents (and aunt and uncle) Wedding Day

John Crompton and Annie Broadfoot Marry
Westerly Sun, Sunday 20 Jan 1929, obtained from Barbara Fallon, 10 Jul 2018

To tell the story of my paternal family in Westerly, RI, I needed to be sure that my Aunt and Uncle were married in Westerly. That's what she told me in my oral interview but I realized that I didn't know the location of their marriage. They were married in the same church as by the same minister  as my grandparents, Annie's parents. 

Rev. Burdick was a popular and well liked minister of the Seventh Day Baptist community. Like many of my family in this location in that time period, they were married at the parsonage not in the church itself.

This is what she gathered from the Town Hall:

Westerly, RI Town Hall
Book 5, page 183
Intentions and Returns
John Crompton, Residence Bradford, RI, Born July 8, 1902, Age 26, Born in England, White, Occupation Textile operator, Father James W. Crompton, Mother’s maiden name Rebecca Wolstenholme, Parents born in England, Father’s occupation Dyer, Number of this marriage, first.

Annie Lambert Broadfoot, Residence Bradford, RI, Born Sep. 15, 1909, Age 19, Born in Westerly, RI, White, Occupation Mill hand, Father Thomas Broadfoot, Mother’s maiden name Annie Aitken, Parents born in Scotland, Father’s occupation Textile worker, Number of this marriage, first.

(Marriage) Return
John Crompton and Annie Lambert Broadfoot married on 19 Jan. 1929.  Attest. Clayton A. Burdick, Residence Westerly, RI, Denomination of clergyman S.D.B.,[Seventh Day Baptist] Witness, Ada Broadfoot and Harry Crompton.  Recorded Jan. 22,1929.

The witnesses were Annie's sister and Jack's youngest brother, Harry.