Editor's Notebook

 

February 10, 2022



I’m glad to have attended school when I did.

I didn’t have to attend kindergarten and, had my folks not insisted, I might not have attended school. When asked if I was starting the first grade in September, my response was no. I might start in October but September was a busy month at the gasoline station and consequently, I wouldn’t be starting school that month.

Today is Kindergarten Roundup at the Superior Elementary School. When enrolling to attend kindergarten next year, the prospective pupils are to have an immunization record, social security card and a certified copy of their birth certificate.

When I started to school, I didn’t have an immunization record because I hadn’t yet had my childhood immunizations. I was born prematurely and the doctor didn’t authorize the shots until I after I started to school.

I didn’t get a social security card until enrolling in college. May not have gotten one then had it not been required. When I attended college, a student’s social security number was also their student identification number. I carried a plastic credit card like student ID card with my social security number printed in raised letters. Had to show the card to check out books from the school library and to enroll.


Since I’ve never seen a copy of my birth certificate, perhaps Big Brother doesn’t know I exist.

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Members of the Alpha Zeta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma are trying to compile a chapter history. One of those working on the project came by the newspaper office hoping I might be able to help provide information about some of chapter’s founders.


Kansas Public Notices

I read over the names and recognized one of the founders as the math teacher I had in my junior and senior years of high school.

Unlike her predecessor, Richard Fink, she was all business when in the presence of students. In my freshman and sophomore years, Mr. Fink was the rifle club sponsor.

I’ve never been much of a marksman and may not have joined had my mother not belonged to a rifle club while attending business college. I wanted to learn to shoot a rifle like my mother did. Mr. Fink made the club fun and exciting. Sometimes we met in the back yard of his home located on a portion of the space now occupied by the Subway store. I didn’t think about it then, but now I wonder what the neighbors thought when teenagers with guns met in his yard which was only a block from City Park.


With his assistance, we were always searching for a better shooting range. One Saturday I helped set up grain doors for a back stop in the pasture directly east of the Superior Country Club. Targets were attached to the grain doors and we fired 45 caliber pistols at the targets. Only remember going there once. Did we destroy the grain doors with the bullets or did the golfers complain about pistol packing high school students being nearby?

Once we fired tracer bullets in a sandpit northwest of Superior. We weren’t close to neighbors but the shells were old and erratic. Don’t know if we should have blamed the shooter or the shell but one bullet flew out of the sandpit and set the nearby grass on fire. Luckily we were able to stomp out the fire before it got out of control.

Another time we were shooting high powered rifles into the banks of the Courtland Canal. One of the club members complained the kick was hurting his shoulder. Our sponsor, thought the student was a sissy and demonstrated what a “real man could do.” He placed the gun stock below his nose and squeezed the trigger. The recoil bloodied the teacher’s lips and the club meeting was over for that day.

Perhaps our longest term location was the basement underneath the Norris pool hall. To construct the shooting range, we gathered river sand from a sand bar down stream from the Highway 14 bridge and filled 5-gallon buckets. Then we had to carry the buckets up the river bank and down into the basement. The sand was used to fill wooden boxes we affixed our targets to. There we only shot 22 caliber rifles and the backstops lasted better.

It didn’t seem to disturb the pool hall customers but what do you suppose the reaction would be today if a dozen of more high school students walked into a pool hall carrying rifles? I suspect the pool players would be running for the back door or diving under the tables.

Mrs. Hunter didn’t make fun stories. I don’t remember seeing her ever crack a smile while I was in her classroom. But I’ll confess, my conduct didn’t help our relationship.

A senior-level math class was added after her arrival to the Superior schools. The class met the first period after lunch. Because of my vision and the need to see the blackboard, I preferred setting near front of the classroom. And because I was concerned about what would happen if fire broke out in the old Superior High School building, I liked to sit near the door.

I was seated near the front of the math room and next to door. That was good because the school superintendent liked to borrow my car for trips about town.

Knowing Mrs. Hunter didn’t like to have her lecture interrupted, he would step to the door, wave to get my attention and silently ask me to toss him my car keys. When returning the keys, he would get my attention and toss the keys back into the room.

While we were exchanging keys, Mrs. Hunter was glaring at us. Certainly glad her looks were not deadly.

So I helped the DKG members with a little information for one of the founders but struck out on the others they were looking for. Now I’m sorry I didn’t keep their list. If I would have shared it here, perhaps readers of this column would have shared with the club members stories about other founding teachers.

 

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