|Harry visited his first school - Dorset School near Snyders PA|
|Map of my house - Dorset School - Snyders PA|
|This pictures was sent to me by Luella Reed (the baby in the picture).|
The women on the left is Leah Wertman Fritz - my
first grade teacher
Last week Lulu and I visited Tamaqua PA to see friends and family and also to attend my 50th class reunion. I really enjoyed seeing my old classmates. We also enjoyed introducing our friends and family to Max Everhart - our third grandkid.
We had a few hours to kill before our plane left Allentown - so we drove around and looked at familiar sites.
I first attended school in September of 1954. I was 6 years old and had spent the first 6 years of my life in the farm house I was born in. It was very common then to be born at home. Dr Weissner charged $15 to come to the house and deliver me. Dad tried to be a coal miner and also run a 10 acre farm.
At the time West Penn School District was made up of a series of one room schools. I remember that sometimes a teacher taught all 8 grades in one room. By the time I was in school - they decided to put all the first graders in one school - second graders in another and so on. 1954 was also the first year they used school buses to take the kids to school. So I never walked to school in the deep snow storms. The school bus picked me up right at my door.
I went to the Dorset school - at the time it seemed far away - but I am guessing it was maybe 2 miles from home. My teacher was Leah Wertman Fritz. She was fresh out of teachers' college at Bloomsburg - and it was love at first sight for me. She ended up teaching in Tamaqua schools for 42 years. She used to have an alarm clock - that we had to be able to hear before we were dismissed for recess.
I only attended the Dorset School for one month. We moved into town for Mom and Dad to be closer to work. We sold the 10 acre farm - with house - barn - and out buildings - for about $3000.
To my surprise - the Dorset School is still standing. I attended 4 schools total - and the Dorset School is the only one left standing. North Ward - Tamaqua Junior High - and the Tamaqua High School on High Street are gone. Today - the Dorset School is a garage and storage shed. Inside you can still see the green and white pine board paneling. The black boards are still in place. Two garage doors grace the eastern wall - you cannot see them from the road. It looks like it still could house my first grade.
I think this school and Mrs. Fritz determined my career. I just loved going there - playing with the other kids - learning - and showing off. When I turned 18 - I went to Kutztown State Teachers College - got my license - and spent 33 years teaching back in the Valley. Things seemed so much simpler then. I tried real hard - I wonder if I could hear that clock tick today.
|You can see the school on this picture.|
|There were no big trees when I went here.|
|There was a coal stove in the left corner. The teacher tended it|
|Today - it is a storage shed and garage.|