Friday, April 27, 2007

Smelterville: Second Grade (1) - Fire drills & Smelter Heights

Still at Silver King in second grade, I had Mrs. Hokanson as my teacher. We learned poems and sometimes got to put our art work on display. She usually had one section of the chalkboard where she would draw a picture for the month in my favoite: colored chalk! I remember in December she had a wreath drawn on that section of the board.

I remember different things about second grade than first. First of all, I remember the coat room. It was like a little hallway outside of our classroom where we took off our coats and boots and put on our shoes. Each student had their own coat hook, and there was an area under the hooks that was raised that we could sit on, and also left our boots on after we removed them.

The lunch room was upstairs at Silver King. Every class would line up single file and go to the end of the southern hallway then up the stairs. Each class would line up behind the next until there was a line of kids running from the lunchroom at the top of the stairs all the way to the bottom and sometimes around the corner. We all lined up on the left side, as that is the side the kitchen was on and where we would pick up our trays, silverware, and food. Then each class was seated together at one long table with the teacher maintaining control and seeing that we cleared our plates.

There was no smorgesboard in those days. We took what they gave us and we ate it all - or at least some of all we were given. We even had to drink our milk. When everyone was finished at our table, the entire class was dismissed to line up and go back downstairs for lunchtime recess. I can't remember if we exited via the attic on the back side of the lunchroom beginning in the second or third grade. When we did, we would walk through the back door into a dark area that had boxes of stuff stored on each side of a walkway. We were told to stay on the board walkway and go straight to the stairs that went down to the right. Our teacher would often monitor us inside the attic, so no one strayed. I think this was my favoite part of lunchtime.

The scary part of lunchtime was when we had fire drills. (Some kids loved this.) To get out of the lunchroom on a firedrill, we had to go out a large window that opened on the east side of the room. From the window we stepped onto a metal walkway that ran over the slope of the roof below and to a very long slide. We had to sit at the top of the slide which faced south, and slide down. The first time I went out the window on a drill, I was scared to go down the slide, but I had to. Afterwards, it was kinda fun, but I always hoped we wouldn't have another drill in the lunchroom.

Also in second grade I made a new friend KV. She was a cute blonde girl that had just moved from Kentucky. She and I just lived a few blocks from each other in Smelterville. A lot of times we would sit together on the bus ride home from school. Most times the bus would take those of us who lived in Smelterville home first, then take the kids home who lived up Smelter Heights.

Smelter Heights was a housing area that was on the hill behind the Smelter. I hated it, when the bus went up there first. One reason was because of the switchback at the end of the route, just before we headed down the hill. The second reason was because KV told me a story about a school bus that went off the road in Kentucky and killed a bunch of kids. Now she told me this story as we were nearing the switchback one day. (The switchback for those who do not know, is when the road is heading one way, then turns nearly 180 degrees to go back the direction you were coming from only in this case - downhill.) The Smelter Heights switchback took place at the top of the hill. Since there were no trees on the hill, there was nothing to keep the bus from going over the edge, except a good driver.) Everytime we went up Smelter Heights first, I was a nervous wreck! I would pray under my breath, "Please don't let us go over the edge" - especially in the wintertime. I don't know how the kids who lived on that last road, right by the switchback could stand it.


Silver Valley Girl said...

By the time I remember the upstairs lunchroom, it was a storage area where my mom would go up and find things she needed for her classroom such as fish aquariums and things like that. It was always rather creepy, especially that board walkway...I think that is what made the whole experience rather scary. Even though I never attended Silver King, I sure do have a lot of memories from there. I'm really enjoying reading your memoirs about the Silver Valley. I can't wait until you start writing about your husband's family, since they were a part of my growing up years (Tony and I were in school together from third grade on). (Raymond Pert clued me in as to your identity) Look forward to reading more!!

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Thank you. I am attempting to write chronologically with an occasional side note. I remember seeing you as a little girl, but I'm not sure how old I was. I just remembered Pert had two sisters. A blonde and a little brunette.

I am enjoying your site as well. I loved that you and your hubby dressed up to sing and embarrassed your daughter. It would have been fun to see. I actually went to college with Joy Persoon, and she may remember me.

Also, I love some of your tree pics. Especially the moon through the tree branches. Beautiful. I have also tried to determine where you live in town, and I am getting closer. . .Ha ha.

Tony is in Spokane now with his wife and family. He works at a collection agency and loves it.

InlandEmpireGirl said...

What a vivid memory you have. I also remember the fire escape and the drills. When we would ride to school with Mom we parked in the back. Every day I would look up at that scary fire escape and wonder if we would have a drill that day!

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

LOL! Sorry, probably wasn't funny to you! At least I wasn't the only one who was terrified of those. I don't think you could do that to kids these days - do you?