When school starts this year I will again teach first grade.‑ My fellow first grade teacher whose classroom is next door to mine is my dear friend whom I have know for almost 50 years.‑ We have shared our thoughts, secrets, jokes, and news with each other during that time.‑‑‑ With both of us teaching first grade, we complement each other professionally and personally.‑ In areas where I need to be stronger, Marsi can bolster me and lift me‑and I do the same for her. When we are told to collaborate as a part of professional development, it’s easy because we have been collaborating since we were 8 or nine.
Marsi and I first met when school started in the fall of 1955.‑ We were classmates at Indian Village School and in the third grade.‑ (At that time, because there were so many students, some students took the first semester of a grade from January to June and the second semester of the same grade from September to January)‑ Marsi and I were in the second half of the third grade.
I was new to the neighborhood and the school.‑ The first memory I have of Marsi was when she told me that the “woods” (which is what we called Psi Ote Park) used to contain a house that had been inhabited by a ghost.‑ I remember her wondering aloud if the woods were haunted by the ghost.
Years later my niece and her friends discovered bricks in the ground at the place Marsi said the ghost’s house was.‑ They “excavated” the “site” for some time.
Research shows that Indian Village School is built on the site of the old county “pest house.”
At the time we were at Indian Village, the school‑had 12 classrooms, all of which had 30 to 40 students; a gym; and a library.‑ (Today there are 21 classrooms, a Life Skills Lab, Art Room, Music Room, Cafeteria, Gym, and a Library.)‑ There were no school buses that delivered students to the school.‑ All of us lived within walking distance.‑ There was no hot lunch program.‑ Almost everyone went home for lunch for an hour.‑ The students who didn’t went to one classroom with their cold lunches.‑ The teachers took turns supervising those students.
At school I can only remember getting in trouble with Marsi once.‑ We were skinning the cat on the railing outside the upper grade door when a teacher walked out.‑ I now understand why that would be a safety issue but then I thought the rule against skinning the cat on the railing was silly.‑ At recess we played a lot of dodge ball, kickball, or tag.‑ We didn’t have the pressure that students today have but we still learned a lot.‑ We had History and Geography instead of Social Studies.‑ The classroom teachers taught art and physical education.‑ There were no Teaching Assistants.‑ Most of the discipline problems were things like talking and gum chewing.‑ Sometimes during special events like the World Series or the Meyers Drugstore fire downtown, a student would bring a portable T.V. to school.‑ Today we all have a T.V. in our room but we would be in trouble for letting the students watch baseball.
Indian Village was and still is a great place for being a kid.‑ Marsi and I enjoyed playing in the “Village.”‑ Kids then didn’t play inside very much.‑ We played “SPUD” a lot in front of her house; and since she had a basketball hoop, we would play “Horse.”‑ There were natural “hideouts”‑in the bushes on Indian Village Blvd.‑ I can remember sitting in the bushes periodically sticking our heads out to see who was riding by on their bikes.‑ We had collections of “trading cards” and would go to various friends’ houses to make our trades.‑ We also liked to play in a treehouse, which was where the Army Reserve is today.‑
There was a lot of construction in the “Village” then.‑ This meant that there were a lot of sites to play at when the workers left in the evening.‑‑ When the Reserve building was being constructed, we had some great times playing at the site.‑ Once‑however, we got stuck in the basement and had to pull a ladder up to a basement window and climb out through it.
Indian Village is made for riding bikes because it has relatively quiet streets and distinct boundaries on Engle Road, Nuttman Avenue, Bluffton Road, and the railroad tracks.‑ A parent can say, “Have fun and don’t go out of the Village” and know pretty much where their child will be.‑ Marsi and I rode all over the Village either with our friends or the two of us or just by our self.
Birthday parties were always well attended.‑ Marsi had the best parties since her dad managed a restaurant and we had her parties there.
In the fifth grade Marsi moved to Harrison Hill.‑ We both attended Junior High at Harrison Hill and South Side High School although because of the school system’s change from taking the first semester of a grade in the spring and the second semester in the fall, we were in different classes.‑ She moved back to the Village after high school.‑ Marsi and I have taught together for six years now but this is not the first time we’ve worked together.‑ One summer during college we both worked at the Crosby Division of American Hoist and Derrick and car pooled back and forth.
We both settled in the Village as adults.‑ (It is not at all unusual to find adults who grew up here living in the Village.‑ Also, some extended families live here including‑ mine.)‑ We both have two sons.‑ Three of our boys attended Indian Village School.‑ Our oldest sons both live in the Village.‑ My son lives across the street from Marsi.‑‑‑ We still have fun just being together.‑
We share confidences and jokes and have a lot of fun just like almost fifty years ago.
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