I Remember When . . . .
Great Stories about growing up in the Horntown, Oklahoma area!

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Moss Nostalgia

My name is Jack Gaines.
     In 1934 I started to Fairview School. We were living in Big Springs at that time. 1935 came and we moved to Ragtown and I started to Moss School. We lived right at the intersection where the road crossed on the west side of highway 75. The store across the road was operated by a family named Miller. We operated the filling station there and sold Wilcox gasoline. I don't remember the number of the road that intersected hwy 75. We later moved to a house about two to three miles east down that road. We lived by the Indian church house Our closest neighbor was the Stricklands. They had four boys. I believe two were twins. The only name I can remember of the four boys is Virgil and maybe Hubert. The Umsteds lived a little further down the road. My mother and I lived with my Grandparents. My Grandfather sold Raleigh products. When it rained in those days, there were no paved roads except the main highway (75) It was a total mess. I really don't know how we got around, but we did.
     I was in the second grade when I started Moss. My uncle, Bill Kennedy was also in the second grade and attended Moss. My aunt was Helen Kennedy. She was in high school and she also attended Moss. We were all there at the same time. My aunt met Leon Lankford in school and after they graduated they were married.
     Being in the second grade, we were in the old wooden building in the back. At that time the first and second grades were in that bldg. My teacher was Mrs. Daws. She was a wonderful teacher. I do believe I learned more in the second grade than I did any other grade in school. I attended Moss until I was about half way through fifth grade. We then went to California. The other teachers I remember was Mrs. Moore, 3rd grade, Mrs. Anderson, 4th grade. I can't remember my 5th grade teacher.
     Some of that students that I remember, and I think I have the names correct. Orville Percival, Ellen Allen, Helen Lipe, Katie Jo Jackson, Lizzie Larney, Jack Larney, Aileen Smith, Billy Wayne Martin, Max Umstead, Lloyd Stringfellow (my best friend at that time but probably doesn't remember me.) Edmond Lowe, Roberta White, Billy Joe Kennedy ( my uncle) Virgil Strickland.
     If my memory is correct, There were four buildings. They were The wooden bldg that housed the first and second grades, The janitors bldg. which housed coal and the pumps. I don't remember the janitors name but he also rang the school bell and I don't think he was ever one minute off. The large rock building that housed the other grades, and last the old rock gym. When we were promoted to the 3rd grade we thought we were really growing up because we were going into the big bldg where the big kids were.
     A big treat was to go barefooted in the summertime. Going to school barefooted was an additional big treat. The floors were oily because of a mixture of oil and sawdust that was used to sweep and clean the floors. It did have an odor but it wasn't bad. In the summertime when all the windows were open and a little breeze came up, you got a very good smell of the oily floors.
     Everyone carried a lunch to school. It was either in a brown paper sack or wrapped in an old newspaper. We wore overalls every day. The big kids (boys) would carry their lunch inside their bib on the overalls. I wanted to act grown up so I tried it and it leaked through the paper and got all over my clothes. Some things I remember we had for lunch. Of course fried chicken was probably at the top of the list, pork chop sandwich (no bone) Potted meat sandwich, peanut butter sandwich and sometimes a cookie and occasionally an apple or pear. I don't recall ever seeing a thermos with a drink. I'm not sure there were any thermos bottles at that time.
     Summer time also called for work, like picking cotton. Most kids picked in a tow sack with a rag for a strap to put over your shoulder. The money was saved for school clothes in the fall. I do believe that picking cotton by hand is close to the worst job in the world.
     One of the things that I can remember is a program called "Literary Meets". It was a program where you compete in things like spelling, math, reading and memory work and other subjects. You competed with other schools. I was chosen by Mrs. Davis to compete with the "Sayings" she was not my teacher but she was very involved with the program. She gave me a, what they called "sayings" to memorize then she would work with me for expression, phrasing and etc. The piece was called "Seeing Things" by Eugene Fields. She was another wonderful teacher. A very patient lady. She worked with me every day. We went to Holdenville for the meet and won first place. Then she started putting me in plays. Wonderful times.
     I do believe I could stay at this old keyboard for hours and put down many memories. It's strange how only three and one half years at Moss School, Ragtown, Holdenville Wetumka, Horntown and many other small incidents have remained very vivid in my mind through all these years. I almost feel sorry for those who didn't attend Moss School. Wonderful times, wonderful people. Thank you Jerry for this website, you have made a lot of people very happy.
Jack Gaines.

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