Jul 18

High School Memories

springfield-tech-color

 

This is from one of those silly Facebook posts where they want you to copy and paste to share with your friends.  I decided to take it a bit further and expand just a *bit*.

 

Tell us about your SENIOR year of high school! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be!!

The year was: 1966.

1. Did you know your spouse? No.  I didn’t meet him until college

2. Did you carpool to school? No, everyone had to take the city bus – and pay our own way.

In those days, most everyone smoked on the bus so I often got a headache. I had to get off quite a ways from home and walk the rest of the way.  This was a city school and, as far as I knew, nobody, except maybe teachers, drove.

The school was in an interesting location.  Across the street was Classical High School (Tech and Classical were replaced by Central High School in 1986.)

Next door to Classical was Commerce High School for kids who wanted to go into business right out of high school or be secretaries and such. Classical was for kids who thought they wanted to major in the classics in college.  The Tech kids were going into the sciences in college.

Those 3 schools plus the public library took up a huge chunk of real estate downtown.  This is probably why they closed these schools – so they could put in expensive condos.  (There was also a 4th high school for people who wanted to go into trades, Vocational High.  That was up the hill, next to the Springfield Armory)

It made it really easy for all of us downtown kids to take the public bus, though.  No matter what school we went to, we all rode together… and it was easy for any of us to go to the library after school.

The library is still there and has the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden which honors Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss.

 

 

Museum_Quadrangle,_Springfield_MAThe library and the local museums now make up the Quadrangle.

The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, in the center of the Quadrangle, is surrounded by a park, a library, four active museums, a fifth museum due to open in 2016, and a cathedral. A second cathedral is just on the Quadrangle’s periphery.

I loved that library – we could check out anything.

Where I’d lived before, we had to get permission to get a book from “the stacks” – and we couldn’t go get it ourselves.  A librarian had to get it and deliver it.

A stack (or bookstack) is a book storage area, as opposed to a reading area. More specifically, this term refers to a narrow-aisled, multilevel system of iron or steel shelving that evolved in the nineteenth century to meet increasing demands for storage space. An “open-stack” library allows its patrons to enter the stacks to browse for themselves; “closed stacks” means library staff retrieve books for patrons on request.

 

Not my car, but the general idea

Not my car, but the general idea

3. What kind of car did you have? None.  I didn’t get a car until I graduated from college.  No point.  We couldn’t drive to school and couldn’t have a car at my college until the senior year.

My grandfather gave me the money ($1000!) as a college graduation gift to help buy the car.  It was a green Chevy Nova 🙂

That Nova served me well, though.  When I blew out the engine, my dad tried stuffing the hole with an old rag.  Uh, no!  It was in my parents driveway for the longest time, in a Massachusetts winter, while my future husband and I replaced that engine.  Later, it hauled a U-Haul with all my worldly goods to Wisconsin.

When it finally died, I salvaged it for enough money to buy a book of Beethoven Sonatas, which I still have to this day 🙂


cushie-car
4. What kind of car do you have now? A PT Cruiser

5. It’s Friday night where would you be? At home

6. What kind of job did you have in high school? I worked at Kelly Springfield Tires

7. What kind of job do you have now? Piano Teacher / CFO / webmaster / Founder and Chief-Bottle-Washer at Cushing’s Help and Support  (4 part time jobs)

8. Were you a party animal? No.  I’m still not.

9. Were you a cheerleader? Not for school but for my church basketball team in middle school.

10. Were you considered a jock? No

11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Yes, Chorus.  I first heard one of my favorite pieces in High School.  I remember learning this for a concert. I doubt that we sang it quite as well as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” is the sacred, stirring centerpiece movement of Requiem by Johannes Brahms.  I doubt that this could be sung at a public school anymore 🙁

 

 

In 6th grade, they started having band and asked what instrument(s) we wanted to play.  I wanted to play saxophone, but my parents wouldn’t let me.  They said I already played piano and that was enough.  Even though the school would lend the instrument and give lessons.  Still makes me unhappy that I missed out on this experience.

12. Were you a nerd? Probably, if that word existed yet

13. Did you get suspended or expelled? No. My parents would have disowned me. I did get suspended from a VBS at another church while in elementary school, but that’s another post 🙂

14. Can you sing the fight song? Not any more

16. Where did you sit for lunch? In the cafeteria, I suppose but I really don’t remember having lunch.

17. What was your full school name? Springfield Technical High School

tech-tigers18. What was your school mascot? Tigers

19. If you could go back and do it again, would you? No.  I was very excited to go as a Freshman, though.  We were moving from Pawcatuck, CT to the “big city” and I got to choose my high school.  This one required a Math Test before admittance and I was very proud to pass and get in.  I thought I’d meet lots of boys there.  Uh, no.

My math skills did win me a slide rule in a “Geometry Bee” my Junior year.

20. Did you have fun at Prom? It was okay.  I was very excited when the cute guy I sat next to in Chemistry asked if I had a date and, when I said no, he fixed me up with his friend.  His friend who could drive. <sigh>

21. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? No. I barely spoke to him then.  I pretended to have a hurt knee so we didn’t have to dance much, either.

22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? No, haven’t been to one yet.  In October it will be the 50th.  I never really had any friends there, except for one.  If I didn’t talk to anyone then, why now?

23. Are you still in contact with people from school? No

 

Other memories:

We had to take a class in Biology.  One of the girls wore blue eyeliner, which I had never seen before.

The teacher of that class was famous for saying “Any cough can be controlled” when anyone did.

Somehow, I was the star student in both Geometry and Algebra classes.  I have no idea how that happened.

Driving class took me two semesters to pass.  I think I just liked being out of the classroom driving around with a fun teacher so I made it last 🙂

I also took Latin (the only memory I have of that is the teacher drilling the difference between calvary and cavalry).  Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.

English, I wrote some kind of paper on Devil’s Hopyard that my teacher really liked.  My parents and I had been there hiking on a trail and as one, we felt an eerie  presence and turned back.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones.  According to http://www.damnedct.com/devils-hopyard-east-haddam: “Over the decades, dark shadows and phantoms have been purportedly seen moving around the woodland. In more recent times, people have allegedly experienced spirit orbs and mists, as well as strong feelings of foreboding.”

Typing was required and it’s serving me well, even today 🙂

Chemistry, where I sat next to the cute boy I double-dated with for the prom.  I don’t remember anything else outstanding, which is a good thing!

gymGym class.  AARRGGH!  We had to buy seafoam green gym suits…and wear them.  Our school didn’t have an outside field or anything (being downtown) so we had to change into those suits, grab field hockey equipment and hike up the hill to the Springfield Armory (The site is preserved as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Western Massachusetts’ only unit of the national park system.)  Then, we had to actually play field hockey, a sport I was horrible at.  Of course, I was picked last for any team.

Then, we had to haul all the stuff down the hill.  The other 2 nearby schools had to do the same thing so any school day there were lots of kids wearing stupid uniforms climbing up and down that hill. I would guess that was a nightmare for the schools to coordinate, though.

When field hockey was done, we’d have gymnastics.  Vaulting over horses, climbing ropes, tumbling.  I wasn’t fond of any of that, either.

But the worst, of course, was taking showers afterwards.  The only way you could get out of that was once a month – and the teachers kept track.

Still worse, however, was November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was shot.  We were in gym when we got the news.  We all sat on the floor and watched on a TV that had appeared from somewhere.

Stunned, we got out of school early.

 

 

Not in school but In my church youth group we played this game, which happened to be in the dark.  A boy (I still remember his name but won’t share it here!) with buck teeth hit the top of my head with his teeth.  I went to the emergency room for stitches and the ER tech couldn’t believe it when I said how this happened.  He was from another country and thought that this was something that all American kids did, maybe.

I got quite a bit of mileage out of telling the story and showing where my head was shaved.

Later, when I went to the doctor to have the stitches out, I got another headache and the doctor didn’t even have any aspirin to give me.  Imagine!  These days, it would probably be against the law to dispense aspirin in the doctor’s office.

Like everything else I did, I took the bus to the doctor’s office, by myself.  It was definitely a different time.

I don’t think we ever played that game again.

 

Screenshot 2016-07-17 10.28.18Springfield Technical High School was built in 1905 and closed in 1986.

My school was converted into the Springfield Data Center at a cost of $110 million. While most of the original Tech building came down, a substantial portion of the school, including the facade and “The Technical High School” inscribed above the front doors, was preserved.

The data center was built on the 2.2 acre site of the former Technical High School. The project site is in an historic area of Springfield and the façade of the remaining portion of the high school is in an historic district.

The project preserved the Elliot St. façade of Tech High School and demolished the remaining portion of the building, replacing it with a modern facility.

Video of them tearing down my school

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