The 1956 graduating class of Bynum Elementary School began its journey together in 1950, oddly enough. We started our formal education in the library at Bynum, next to the post office, with Ms. Oleta Payne as our teacher. As I recall, most of us had not been away from home before. Some were afraid and some were ready to forge ahead and see what education had to offer. We would bring our lunches and most of us were ready to eat by 9:30. We were absolutely not used to a schedule and certainly not used to being quiet (yours truly). Ms. Payne had her hands full. We were SO too small for desks, so we had tiny chairs and we sat at round tables, several at a table. There was a piano but I dont remember anyone playing it except when we had Brownie meetings in the library. The cubbies held our coats and our lunches. Keeping us still was like trying to herd earthworms, forget about it. But, Ms. Payne was so sweet to us that we did want to do what she asked.
We had circle time, by which I mean that we would each get a chair and get in a semi circle around Ms. Payne. We pushed the tables back for this. She would read to us and we would have questions and answers. I dont exactly remember the curriculum, for it was 59 years ago and it has become quite blurred. It was our beginning into the world of reading, writing, and my favorite, coloring. I made my best grades in coloring, never mind arithmetic. If we had been graded on talking and speech, I would have made 100.
During recess, the girls wanted to play dolls and house and the boys wanted to fight and wrestle, which comes as no surprise. We girls would pick out a boy to be the daddy and the boy was having none of it, so we would play house during recess with just mommies.
I look at six year olds today and see nothing but babies, but we did learn a few things, at least enough to go on the second grade to the Big House, with Ms. Hulsey.
Third Grade, Ms. Thornton had reading time after lunch, something I will never forget. She would read from a book that I think was called Miss Minerva and Billy Green Hill. That was kind of a cross between Spanky and Our Gang and The Simpsons. We could not wait for the stories each day and we listened happily. I have hunted that book and cannot find it. If anyone knows the real name, send it to the web site.
Ms. Carmichael in the fourth grade was a wonderful teacher, also the Principal of the school. She didnt have her desks in a row, no they were in circle formation around the room. We could see one another and react to questions and answers together. It worked.
Ms. Padrick was the fifth grade teacher. She would take us to the cafeteria every morning and we could have chocolate milk or plain milk. Of course we all had to have chocolate. While we had the chocolate milk, we would sing, Santa Lucia, Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree, Come Away with me Lucille, in my Merry Oldsmobile, and I learned to sing the high tenor harmony, while Gail Kinsaul sang the melody. From there, we both went on to High School choirs at different schools. Ms. Padrick shaped our love for music and for that, I am eternally grateful.
In the sixth grade, Ralph Mitchell was a student who absolutely could wear out a piano. He played for us to sing and he also played for our graduation. Ms. Williams had him playing for everything, PTA, processionals, recessionals, whatever we needed, he played for that. Ms. McKendree was his piano teacher and she must have been proud of her work, for he was a marvel, even at age 10.
We children were playmates, school mates, church mates and literally grew up as one family. Several of us went the entire six years together to graduate from Bynum Elementary and then went on to Junior High School and High School together, all 12 years. We formed bonds that cant be broken, because we have a common background and lives. That is why this web site is so important, here in our sunset years, bringing back memories that we can share with our children.