Monday, May 7, 2007

Smelterville: Third Grade (2)

Map reading

We learned how to read maps in the third grade. I remember this, because it took me a few years to get my mental map straightened out. We sat in our classroom facing up the Silver King draw toward the Zinc Plant. I think it is roughly a southern orientation. However, when we read our maps, the north was always at the top. I equated north with the direction I was facing (top of the map), and south as the direction behind me (bottom of the map.) A few years later, when I was talking to my dad about some of the landmarks around the valley, we both realized that my orientation was backwards. I took me some time get re-oriented. (There have been other times throughout my life, esp, when I first move to a new location, that I get turned around at first. I have to put the new location on my mental map, and force it to comply with the correct directions, until I have the new map correct in my head.)

Ramp to Auditorium

One of the coolest things about Silver King school, besides the attic, was the ramp to the auditorium. I had only ever seen stairs going up and down between floors in homes and other buildings, but Silver King had a ramp that went from the back of the school down to the lowest floor. It had one or two turns in it. There was a strong temptation on the part of some students to run up or down the ramp. Teachers dealt with this tendency by making us walk single file, with the teacher walking close to those for whom temptation was irresistible. I think it would have been fun to have had a petal car or anything on rollers to "drive" down the ramp. Regardless, it was fun to think we had a secret passageway to get from one floor to another, without utilizing the main staircase at the north end of the school.


I vaguely remember being a Brownie (young Campfire girl) for one year. We made a wreath at the Douglas' out of cardboard with paper leaves glued on it, and then spray painted them all gold. In Brownies was also where I learned to thread a needle and tie a knot at the end, inorder to hand stitch something. It was only one night a week, so on that day I rode the bus to the other side of town and took my $.50 cent piece for dues. The only other thing I remember about Brownies was the time we went for a nature hike and learned to read trail signs left by the group ahead of us. We walked all over the back streets on the hilly side of Smelterville and up the draw, until we found the other group.

Chicken in the Egg
Remember film strips? Well, we saw a film strip - in the same darkened classroom where I drew the Christmas Angel - on how chickens developed in side eggs. I think it was black and white drawings, but I am not sure. Regardless, I couldn't eat another egg after that, for fear I would crunch on a beak or find an eye or some fur or something. No one explained that the eggs had to be fertilized to develop into chicks. But then in those days fertilization was only a word used in gardening, and had nothing to do with gender.

My mom didn't understand my concern. "You've always liked eggs," she would reason, not understanding the depth of my trauma. But I wouldn't budge. Even scrambled, I could imagine all sorts of parts being present, though undetectable by the eye. Heaven forbid, that I should accidentally bite down on a piece of eggshell, and believe it was a beak.
I don't know how long it took for me to venture to try eggs again. Today, although I know a bit more about the fertilization process, egg candling, etc. I only eat my eggs scrambled or in omelets, and I prefer to cover the scrambled ones with cheese. I gag to think that soft-boiled was my choice as a young child, and I used to love hard boiled ones. . .especially the yolks.

Other things about Silver King school:
Smelter Smoke - the brown air that burned our throats each morning, early recess, and sometimes into the afternoon. (Sulfur-dioxide from the Smelter)

Sonic Booms - fairly new phenomena, used to make me jump in my seat.

Trains of Ore - trains that ran from the Bunker Hill Smelter just over the hill to the Zinc Plant up the draw from the school (and back again).

Playing marbles - my favorite game once Spring came. I loved the clear marbles with the little bubbles in them and some of the cat-eyes. (Especially blues, reds, and greens.) I wasn't crazy about the white opaque marbles with swirls of brown and green.
Speaking of marbles, we sometimes used a larger marble as a shooter. Some kids used shiny metal balls, we called steelies for their shooters. I went to S. Milot's house one time, a block or two away from my place and she showed me her steelies. She had the biggest steelies I had ever seen. Some of them were 3 - 4 inches across, and I thought if she ever brought those to school to use as shooters, she'd break everyone's marbles to bits. She said her dad had got them for her. (I later found out, when I was a tour guide at the Sunshine Mine, that her steelies were actually the balls used in a ball mill to crush the ore into smaller pieces. The ball mill operator would throw them in the ball mill, and as the mill turned, the balls would grind the ore into smaller pieces. By the same process the balls would become smaller and smaller, and need to be replaced by new, large balls.) I extrapolated from this, that her dad must have worked in the ball mill at some time.


Silver Valley Girl said...

You have been tagged to participate in a meme. See my blog for details. Thanks!

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Ok, guess I'll have to go there to see what a meme is.

Silver Valley Girl said...

The ramp at Silver King was one of my favorite parts of the school, too. And, if you were a young Campfire Girl, you were probably a Bluebird, not a Brownie. Brownies are Girls Scouts. I too was a Blue Bird. Then a Campfire Girl for many years.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

You are right about the Brownies and Bluebirds. I forgot there were two different girls clubs. I was a Brownie for one year in Smelterville, then I became a Campfire Girl for one year in Pinehurst. Glad you set me straight on that. I think I really wanted to be a Girl Scout, and was disappointed because they didn't have any in Pinehurst.