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Our School: Remembering Boyd Elementary

Submitted by Editor on September 5, 2012 – 9:26 pm | Print or Email »No Comment

Words and memories by Brad Mueller

The classroom windows were fitted with black-out curtains-which I suspect were leftover from World War II. The black-out curtains were used to darken a classroom to show one of those well-acted (not) and totally bizarre, life instructional films carried over from the forties and early fifties. Movies with classic narration such as, “Bill is popular because he takes the time to practice good grooming habits….” At least we could compare movie reviews with our parents.

Much of our young lives on the Eastside Hill were centered around our grade school or grammar school as it was often referred to. The classrooms at Boyd Elementary School were very similar to the classroom occupied by Ralphie and his cohorts in the now classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story.” The teacher’s large wooden desk was located in the front of each room, usually off to side near the windows. The alphabet, in large and small letter script, bordered the top of the blackboard.  The Boyd School classrooms had creaky wooden floors and high ceilings from which hung banks of fluorescent lights which also served as heat lamps-the kind commonly used to keep pizzas warm at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Most teachers would turn off the overhead lights during those few unseasonably hot days that would inevitably sneak-up on west central Wisconsin in May and June during the waning days of each school year. There was no air conditioning at Boyd School, a mature building built around 1916. It would have been hard to justify the expense of installing air conditioning in an old building that was empty from June to September.

Each Boyd School classroom had windows that started at counter-top height and stretched almost to the ceiling. The windows could be opened to catch a breeze while at the same time creating an additional temptation for already antsy grade school boys looking to impress each other and occasionally a girl. It was truly unfair to expect a grade school boy to ignore the challenging target an open classroom window created. It was like a free pop bottle ring toss or basketball shooting booth found on the midway at any Wisconsin county fair. Quite a few erasers, paper wads, pencil stubs and lunch bag grapes found their way to the playground pavement or the school lawn depending on which side of the building the open window faced.

For the most part, my memories of my Boyd School days (1965-1972) are filled with warmth, humor and discovery. Memories to be shared at another time perhaps.

Please share your own back-to-school memories from the Hill—from the ’60s, ’80s, or last week.

Note: This is the first in a series of personal stories to be posted by your neighbor Brad Mueller, who grew up on the Eastside Hill in the 1960s and ’70s.

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