Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 1942

Seventy years ago to the date - August 31, 1942 - Pilot Mountain School opened its doors to the first, first day of school.

I describe it in the opening to chapter four:

School opened August 31, 1942 on the very first, first day of school. Four teachers were at the door to greet the children: Neva Crawley, kind hearted first grade teacher who taught the year before at Salem; Ruby Mast and Mary Ella Bingham, friends and graduates from Appalachian State Teacher’s College; and Edith Satterwhite, lead teacher and designated principal, who had taught in the North Carolina schools of Casar and Nebo.
That was it. No lunchroom ladies. No custodian, although tall lanky Bob Baker arrived in winter when the furnace needed stoking. But basically, four teachers, six grades and a war.

I can only imagine that first day, although some former students who were there did describe it to me. They remembered the feelings of pride and joy more than the shadow of war that hung over their heads. War lessons would come later. For August 31, the lessons were positive, hopeful and down to business. They learned that day that every first day of school is a promise, even in times of hardship. Looking back seventy years later these students recognize that promise.

May every child know that feeling.

Catch of the day,