My teacher for the second grade was Ms. Earle Ford. Mrs. Ford was, as were most of my teachers, a really good educator. I remember two funny things about that year with Ms. Ford. One memory was on picture day, she made all the boys button the top button on our shirts. When the pictures came in, there was a bunch of little boys with their shirts so tight around their necks it looked like their heads were about to explode.
I may have told you about my other second grade memory. Ms. Ford sent my buddy Eric Knight and I to clean her old chalkboard. As we started toward the board, Ms. Ford said be sure and put some elbow grease on that board. I looked at my second grade buddy, Eric and asked him, “Reckon where she keeps her elbow grease?” Eric replied, “She probably keeps it in her footlocker over there in the corner.” Well, that sounded reasonable to me, so Eric and I proceeded to go to the corner of the room, open Ms. Ford’s personal locker and begin rummaging through it. When she saw us she said, “Boys what are you doing?!!” Being the young leader I was I took full responsibility and said, “Ms. Ford, we are looking for the elbow grease.” Ms. Ford nearly bent double with laughter as she said, “Boys, elbow grease means effort. Put some effort into your cleaning.” Sheepishly Eric and I closed the locker and finished our job cleaning the board.
Despite the elbow grease snafu, my report card said PROMOTED at the end of the year. With that it was on to the third grade. For the next two falls, 1967 and 1968, I attended 3rd and 4th grade at McUpton School on the Princeton Road.
Some things stand out about McUpton. First there was the boiler room where coal was used to heat the school. Second there was the little gym that doubled as the lunchroom. Third, there was the outdoor basketball court behind the school where monumental battles were waged everyday for basketball supremacy. That third grade year Fenton Dawson was my regular teammate for games of two on two at recess. We even had a couple of girls that dressed in blue and white that cheered for us in those recess games. My third grade teacher that year was Ms. June Kennedy. I think my affection for writing may have begun that year, as Ms. Kennedy would have us write themes about various topics.
In the fall of 1968 I embarked on what is perhaps one of the most memorable years of my travels through the Trigg County School System. I am speaking of my year in the fourth grade. My teacher was the legendary Mrs. Geneva Guinn. I can remember to this day how she enthralled us with her readings. Mrs. Guinn made books about horses such as Black Beauty and The Black Stallion come alive. Mrs. Guinn also appealed to my competitive nature by playing Math flash card games, which we the students absolutely loved.
My running mate in the 4th grade was none other than David Cunningham. Now there are and have been different David Cunninghams in Trigg County. I am speaking of the David Cunnngham that hails from the suburbs of greater Rockcastle. He might also be recognized as the brother of Rebecca, Sarah and Eunice. More than once I went to spend the night with David on the family farm. We roamed the hills and hollows of Rockcastle and waded through a shallow creek or two. We even tried to catch a fish with a cane pole. I can even remember David and I sending or trying to send his younger sister Eunice snipe hunting. Little did I know then that little Eunice would one day grow into a full-fledged beauty queen.
Back to school, the 4th grade was about the only one that I ever misbehaved much in. Ole David and I had to stay in for our share of recesses. I believe a fellow named JC joined us in recess detention as well. We may have even had a conference or two with the principal Mr. Oates. It seems like we were correctly accused of having crossed the Princeton road at recess to purchase a snack at O.C. Dyers grocery a time or two. It is funny how that snack turned out to cause our backsides to hurt quite severely.
The fourth grade year ended well however, as the most important event of my life happened then. Cadiz Baptist Church had a revival that year. Brother Marshall Mines led the services. My soul came under conviction during those services as I had been doing some thinking for some time. During the middle of the week while sitting in Mrs. Guinn’s room, in the fourth row, third seat from the front, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I will never forget that moment.
Next week we are back across town as I enter the 5th grade with teacher Judy Thomas. I might even have my first girl friend that year. To be continued.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the outgoing head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to email@example.com.