Join in the continuation as former Swayze students recall the fun they had at Chrismastime and about one young man who was more than happy to act as a handyman – anything to take him away from his studies.
Bloomfield No. 5, also known as Swayze School, was located in Section 36, Bloomfield Township, Huron County. Bloomfield No. 5 was located on Minnick Road on the southeast corner of the intersection of Minnick and Minden Roads, or the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 36.
The annual Christmas program was a highly anticipated event. During a program in the 1940s, one girl earned the part of a grouchy old woman. At one point, she was alone on the stage, and someone must have brought in a victrola and a polka record. With the polka music playing, the grouchy old woman broke out in a dance, which she thoroughly enjoyed and hoped others did, too! The mother of the girl playing as the grouchy old woman never let her daughter forget this most memorable night!
Another program a few years later also created some long-lasting memories. During one skit, there was a blood-curdling scream from behind the curtain. One girl started laughing and said, "That's my younger sister; no one can scream like she can!" In fact, this girl stated she easily recognized her sister's scream because at home her younger sister would scream to get attention. The screamer's two older sisters would apparently get the blame for it whether or not they had done anything to cause the scream!
The last day of school was a highly anticipated event, and everyone celebrated with ice cream and by playing various games. Mrs. Coulston even included the parents in the games. In one such game, she asked all the men to unbutton their shirt. Then she asked them to button their shirt back up to see who among them was the speediest. All of the men buttoned their shirt from the top down – except for the winner, who buttoned his shirt from the bottom up!
The Huron County School Directory listed Alfred Eddy as the teacher during the 1949-1950 school year. During Mr. Eddy's time at Swayze School, he always drove his car to school and left his keys in the car. Four of the older boys, all within two grades of each other, would often sit in his car during the noon hour and listen to his radio. On one occasion, when Mr. Eddy went to leave at the day's end, his car wouldn't start because the boys had drained the battery. Mr. Eddy's car had a stick-shift, and he then recruited the boys to give him a push until he could get the car started!
One of these four boys was Mr. Eddy's "pet," and as a result, if anyone needed their seat adjusted, this young man had the wrench and gladly adjusted what was needed. He was mighty pleased these odd jobs helped the teacher, but more so that it got him away from his studies. There were three boys and one girl in this fellow's grade, and while the boys tried their hardest to get out of work by telling the teacher the following day that he had not assigned them any homework, always, always it seemed that the lone girl in their grade assured the teacher that indeed he had assigned the work!
On one occasion, a Swayze teacher told a student he was kicking the boy out of school. The boy knew he couldn't go home with that news, so he simply remained at the school. His dad was on the school board, and he thought if he just remained at the school, nothing would come of the situation – and he ended up being right.
Mrs. Marion J. Coulston returned in the fall of 1950 and stayed for two years. Two of Mrs. Coulston's grandsons, who attended school in Port Austin, came to Swayze School with their grandmother when their own school had a holiday. At recess, they enjoyed playing softball with the Swayze students, and back in the classroom, they just sat and listened when their age group was called up to the front for their lesson. For these boys, Swayze School gave them a taste of life in the one-room schoolhouse.
The front door of the schoolhouse, with its bell tower atop, faced the north, or Minnick Road, and a small entryway led into the main schoolroom, which was filled with wooden desks, some smaller in size to accommodate the youngest Swayze students. The desks had inkwell holes, but students during this era no longer used them – when the sale of ball point pens peaked in 1946, their accessibility made inkbottles all but obsolete. The desks, about 30 in all, were in rows facing the south wall. The teacher's desk was located on the south end of the school, and on the wall behind the teacher's desk, the students could see the blackboard and the pull-down atlas.
The stove was located in the southwest corner of the school to the west of the teacher's desk, and a small table with chairs was located east of the teacher's desk where students met when they were called forward to class. Depending on the number of students in that particular grade and the lesson being explained, the students either sat in these chairs or just stood and gathered around the teacher at her desk when they were called forward.
Be sure to look for the continuation next month as former Swayze students recall the good ole days during the 1940s, '50s and '60s...
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