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More Memories of Jacksonville Grade School

May 19, 2021

NOTE:  On July 16, 2000, a reunion for all classes of Jacksonville Grade School (Blanford, Indiana) took place at State Line Christian Church.  Although I was living in Wisconsin and was unable to attend the reunion, I wanted to do something for the reunion.  Thus, I wrote a poem about our grade school and had the poem, as well as an enhanced tracing of Jacksonville Grade School by my sister (Mary Elizabeth Massa Fanyo), printed onto single-fold, approximately six-by-nine-inch cards which were distributed to all attendees and mailed to others who wished copies of the commemorative card.  As a follow-up to last week’s posting about Jacksonville Grade School, I am sharing with you the poem which I wrote in 2000 to further honor the school which closed its doors sixty years ago this month.

* * *

Jacksonville Grade School


Let us draw together

                to gather the memories

of that old schoolhouse which we once called our own:

                the core of our community–

in life and learning, our cornerstone.

No videos exist, but a photograph will do

to send the thoughts back to those special years for you.

Remember the merry-go-round,

                the teeter-totters and slide,

the out-houses and baseball field,

                the stairways–so high and wide.

Remember the fish pond for Fall Festival,

                the auditorium filled for PTA,

the ink wells and initials on those precious wooden desks,

extraordinary teachers–each September through May.

For all that we lived and learned there,

for all that we celebrated and shared,

                let us honor Jacksonville Grade School and its alumni!

                Let the green and gold flag of good memories fly!

* * *

Wishing you many happy memories of your school days!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

May 19, 2021, Wednesday


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  1. Susan McKendry permalink

    Alice–How lucky your fellow alumni were to have your poem and Mary’s artwork for a souvenir of their school days and the reunion. –Sue

  2. mfanyo permalink

    Alice, I do have many happy memories of Jacksonville Grade School! I especially remember with fondness the wonderful teachers who were a role model for me in my future teaching career. With the low enrollment of JGS, two grade level classes were taught in each classroom. So, as a first grade student, I could also listen to my beloved teacher, Mrs. Lelia Pickard, instructing the second graders to get a sneak preview of what was to come in the next school year! Another opportunity this teaching model provided me was to “tutor” students in the lower class, or even in my own class, once I had finished my own assigned work. Some of the children needed additional help with the assignments, and I enjoyed working with them. Those early “teaching experiences” with schoolmates were probably my first lessons in patience, compassion, and understanding. I hope that I put those lessons to good use in my nearly thirty year career in education.

    I still remember Mother taking our pictures in front of the school on the very last day of my eighth grade year and the school’s last year. Thank you for honoring our wonderful Jacksonville Grade School with your poem!

    Love to you and Willow,

  3. Carole permalink

    Alice, as I was organizing photos and memorabilia last year, I happily came across your poetic tribute and Mary’s efforts on the pastel green cardstock, which I safely tucked away in the “Massa family tote.” I also saved our grade school composite photos, along with some photos of our teachers standing outside the building, as well as all dressed up with corsages and boutonnieres at a high school commencement, which I think all teachers in the corporation were invited to attend.

    Even though the “Golden Rule” dominated in our day, as well as obedience, respect, and a good attitude, which are often challenges of maintaining in today’s classrooms, I don’t remember how one or two teachers with two grade levels in the same room managed so well.

    Besides the scrapes and bumps from playing on the equipment, I can still picture the long recesses of kickball and playing Red Rover, which I think was probably banned by the time the school closed. I also remember how Mr. Payton, our principal and later our classroom teacher, was the fastest runner when playing tag with us on the JGS playground.

    So, thanks for commemorating JGS’s sixty years of existence, which definitely brought back happy memories again today.


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