More McDavid Memories
ASHS Column for 09 01 05
Margaret Collier

No, we have not forgotten our
mission of bringing #100 back
to Century for engine lovers
from all over the country to
admire and, we are not holding
our breath while working to
obtain a grant from the State
of Florida to help with this
very expensive project. We
are working behind the scenes
in many ways, one of which is
to enlist your help in
supporting our fund-raising
enterprises beginning this
Saturday, September 3, at
10:00 A.M.

What you have to do is come to the Flomaton Antique Auction (held in the former Jackson Theater). If you have never attended an auction it is time for you to spend the day learning, bidding, being entertained and EATING the barbeque, hamburgers, hot dogs and side orders that will be provided by The Alger-Sullivan Historical Society to raise money for the #100 project. We'll also have an exhibit about the train and will have our books, gold-plated 3-D train ornaments and other items for you to buy for gifts or personal use. If you just don't want to buy anything there will be a big ole donation jar for your convenience.

This will be a great way to spend a hot Saturday in air-conditioned comfort. Not only will you find the auction fascinating and the food delectable, you will be contributing to a local business and to the Society. We thank the Flomaton Antique Auction for giving us this opportunity to add to the Train Fund. P. S., Nevin Heller, owner of the business, will be our guest speaker for the September 20th meeting, so mark that on your calendar.

Now, for some more McDavid School memories. These are recalled by Jacqueline Freisinger. Maybe this will inspire someone out there to make arrangements for the big McDavid School Reunion.
There was a small, wire front gate at the center of the yard, but the main entrance was a circular drive entered through a cattle gap at either end. The front steps were concrete on brick and, when first completed, three steps. Later only two steps were visible because of the erosion of the yard and the incline of the land. Plants and flowers placed around the circular drive and the building made it an attractive place.

The Four R's - Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic and RECESS! Ding-a-ling! Ding-a-ling! Recess time. Recess was looked forward to by all. It served many purposes besides a trip to the restroom (an outhouse down the hill). Did anyone ever fall into these facilities?

Recess may have served to gain a drink of water from the long-handled lift pump that so easily gave a small stream of sparkling clear, cool water. We would stand in line as each took his turn drinking either from one's hand or perhaps from a small metal, collapsible cup brought along that had been tucked away in the desk for this purpose. Most made a cup of folded paper, sailor-hat style.

Recess meant "saved by the bell" when you were asked a question while groping for an answer. It was a time for bringing out those snacks that had been carefully prepared by a thoughtful mother just for this occasion - a cookie, sandwich, or some small tidbit to tide one over until lunch. One favorite cookie was the pink-frosted and spicy Gang Plank brought by my friend. It was the biggest cookie I had ever seen and was really tasty. This friend always had fabulous snacks and shared them unselfishly.

First and second grades were taught by Esta (Toomer) Stanton (Mrs. V. E.) who commuted from Century. She was a neat and lovely lady. She was perfect! Her hair was neatly rolled in the back in small rolls, each of which was pinned close to her head - so very becoming.

One method for teaching reading was taught by drawing a circle or clock on the board and a word printed in place of each numeral. A line was then drawn from the center to a word and a pupil was asked to pronounce the word. The line would be erased and another drawn for the next word. We thought of this as a game and we learned our lessons quickly.

In First Grade we sat at tables but in Second Grade we had a desk for our very own. The room ad a door and a porch that gave us access to the water pump nearby. All of the outside doors had a transom window. There were other doors as well - one to the long back porch where doors opened from other rooms and a wide set of steps leading to the playground. Another door opened into the lunchroom - a small area on the back of the building previously used for storage.

We did not have a lunchroom when we began going to school here. Having this facility was a great advancement. The lunches could be cooked and served warm. It may have lima beans and cornbread or grits and bologna, but we enjoyed it. The "commodities" were packed in large containers and delivered to the school by the County. The large buckets of butter were usually rancid but were consumed, nevertheless.

The pot-bellied heaters gave warmth to the rooms. If too much wood or coal was added the heater could become red hot. There were trustees elected at community meetings who came from the local area who were responsible for providing wood by going into the woods and picking up "lightered" pine knots and cutting oak wood. They also maintained the building, kept the stove pipes in order, kept the yards neat and hired and fired the teachers.

There were large trees, debarked and stored under the First and Second Grades room and the lunch room located in the area back of the building. There was a drop-off of the land which made the area under the room accessible for the storage of dry wood and also a place where one could play out of the rain or sun. (Were there snakes under these huge pieces?)
In our next column, we'll continue these memories. Eventually, we'll put reader comments and other info in the column. Enjoy!

Don't forget to come to see us at the auction this Saturday. Bring appetite and donation!

MayDay celebration at Century Grammar School, about 1949. The girl in black behind the one in the white dress at the right is Voncile Tyree. She gave me names of some of the others, but the list cannot be located.

This page last modified on Monday, September 19, 2005