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  Martinsville High School Alumni
Class of 1965 Reply  |   Post Message  |   Message List
Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary.... - 12
02/12/11     Archie Thomasson  (1965)      Archer1710@msn.com
Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary....

Enough of these Clearview postings!!!! John, if neither you nor Wes will stand up for our humble abode....I will fire the first shot'.
The first and second grades were normal, as I had Miss Emily Woodford, who took us into the second grade, no doubt because of our great manners and good looks. The third and fourth grade was with Mrs. Morris, who once again felt compelled to hold on to these 'little darlings'. The fifth grade was Mrs. Joyce. Then I moved to Danville for the sixth grade and the first month of the seventh grade.
It was then that 'all normalcy ended', and I moved back to Martinsville.
It was in October of 1959, when the Principal, and my father escorted me to Cell 201 (I think), into the lair of a genuine Fire Breathing Dragon, named Miss Hilda Marshall. As we walked the halls in route to this most distant classroom in the building, quiet small talk of 'she'll larn this young'un', just like she larn'd my pappy, my granpappy, and me' echoed from my father and the Principal.
My father, dressed in his Army uniform, was proud to 'drop me' into the throngs of this
Bible quoting, possibly slave owning, member of the 'United Daughters of the Confederacy'. After handing me over to Miss Hilda, he saluted, and quickly retreated into the halls of PHEP. It was the duty of 'real' Martinsville sons and daughters to learn under the tutelage of 'Miss Hilda', where among other things, you got a profound initiation to what the first 8 weeks of Army life, or 'Basic Training' was all about. Her classroom occupied the last room on the second floor of PHEP. Reflecting, I wonder if that was by design? As it was only fitting that 'Miss Hilda' guard the back wall of the building. Surely no enemy, Clearview, Joseph Martin, nor even a stray Yankee would penetrate these walls. It was under the picture of Robert E. Lee that we learned the social order of a civilized society. If Miss Hilda were alive today, I know that she would be in that Maximum Security Prison, Red Onion(?), in Southwest Virginia, as no prayer in school, no pledge of allegiance, and no Lee-Jackson Day, would be more than Miss Hilda could bear. Martinsville would still be 'Tara', and Miss Hilda as 'Scarlet O'Hara', or perhaps the 'Belle of the Confederacy', in their annual fund drive to restore the outhouse where General JEB Stuart relieved himself, on his 'road to Glory'.
Among the many things that I learned from Miss Hilda, was that it was not the 'Civil War', it was the 'War Between the States', and most correct as labeled by Miss Hilda, the 'War of Northern Aggression'. According to Miss Hilda, the Mason Dixon Line was a great place to put a border up, where they could at least paint a yellow stripe on your car to let the good people of the South know that you were a 'yandkee'. Illegal immigrants wouldn't stand a chance with Miss Hilda. Phil Gardner (from Rocky Mount), and me (moving from Danville) were the closest fit to Illegal immigrants. Heaven forbid we had any Mexicans in there.
But I survived, as did we all, and probably learned more out of pure fear than I would have in any other class. Among the many lessons I learned from Miss Hilda was that there is a social pecking order in the 'ville', which I put to good use after learning the four R's....Reading, Riting, Rithmetic, and the Road to Ro-a-noke!!....archie

Oh, with a footnote....I also learned it is 'May I go to the bathroom?', not 'Can I go to the bathroom?' That's an inside joke for those of us who actually got the opportunity to see Miss Hilda explode into her tirade on 'the English Language'....archie

10/29/10     Phil Sparks  (1965)      PhilSparks@Kimbanet.com
Re: Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary....
Archie, After reading your account of seventh grade life at Patrick Henry I can certainly see where we missed out at Clearview...instead of us becoming indoctrinated we thought it was our responsibility to indoctrinate the teacher...no wonder we were always in so much scheißen? (in case you are wondering why I used the word scheißen, at Clearview we had to know that word in 17 languages and dish out tons of it to anyone in authority)
02/12/11     Archie Thomasson  (1965)      Archer1710@msn.com
Re: Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary....
'ScheiBen', THAT was the word I was looking for!! thanks for the assist, Phil. Miss Hilda would say 'CAN YOU?' There was no mistaking what Miss Hilda meant....
Oh, ScheiBen, it SHOULD have been 'May I?' After that exchange, and the stare that only Miss Hilda could inflict, you either had already scheiBened or didn't need to scheiBen anymore.
Miss Hilda's room was separated from front to back, with varying degrees of giving a scheiben....from those intent on upholding their 'family honor', to those who had given up on getting 'edukated', and were just waiting for the furniture factory 'to call'. Forget DuPont, that was reserved for 'Diplomas'. The mark of success in the 50's and 60's was the car that you drove from Donald's to Sportlanes to Ayers, through the Parkview and back again. There was an 'I'm gonna go to Billy Covington's (Piedmont Cafe) when the 'whistle blows', and play .50 on the 5, and $1 on the nine, Squirrel's on Saturday afternoon, Sportlanes on Saturday night and Sunday. I'll have a GTO by the time I am 21 or so.' For some, that was the American dream.
There were 3 or 4 of us, who regularly occupied the rear of the room, where 'Snoopy and the Red Baron' were over the skies of 'the ville', and Miss Hilda was the Red Baron. Occasionally, the Red Baron would sneak up on me, and shake me, as she dubbed me 'the kid with the faraway eyes'. Sadly, I didn't have a clue that the Red Baron was in the vicinity, as my Fokker was blazing toward the sunset, with a tailwind, and all the enthusiasm of a 12 year old imagination.
You know, in retrospect, she was right....Miss Hilda promoted what America was all about....individual responsibility, but at the time, I saw Miss Hilda as 'catering to the blue bloods of the ville'....little did I know that age would partially vindicate Miss Hilda in my mind. I guess I never thought that I would ever give a 'ScheiBen!!' archie
02/12/11     Archie Thomasson  (1965)      Archer1710@msn.com
Re: Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary....
These were originally posted in October, but in the last couple of weeks, they had been 'modified'....I reposted them tonight, will try again....archie
02/13/11     Greg Norton  (1963)      sgnorton@hotmail.com
Re: Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary....
Great memories Archie!!! Only those of us who made it through with Hilda can understand. I was in with Kenny Greene (our validictorian) and Margie Pannil = besides not being the best student, I did not stand a chance to say the least. I have many memories of the frequent slappings that were handed out (fortunately my stiff arm kept her about six inches from making solid contact).

The worst i saw anyone get it was poor Roger Porter. Certainly you remember Hilda's infamous book reports where you cut and pasted pictures to illustrate your story line? This time Hilda brought in several old books for "picture cutting" purposes AND for historical purposes she also brought in her original copy a McGuffy's reader which was not to be cut up under penalty of death. Need I say more; poor Rodger cut up the whole book. IF her broom stick had been handy I think she would have killed him in front of the class!

At the final parent teacher conference Hilda told my mom that in her opinion I would never amount to anything! What encouragement!! Fortunately there were the Mary Jane Powells and Mel Cartwrights in future.
05/04/12     Mary      schillereffmp@gmail.com
Re: Patrick Henry Elementary Penitentiary....
I was in Miss Marshall's class I think 1966-67. We moved to Martinsville from Ohio, and were in Martinsville only two years. Lived right up the street from the school. I remember being afraid, afraid of disrespecting her. I don't recall ever being chastised, or others for that matter. I do remember the history lessons, world history, singing, lots of singing, breathing 10 deep breaths so we wouldn't get tuberculosis. Slides of her travels. It was a welcome grounding. I also remember my sister having a wretched time in the same school with her 1st grade teacher, who drew a circle of chalk on the stage floor( that's where the classroom was because of over crowding) and made my sister sit in it.
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