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.
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.