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Monday, January 30, 2012

This week's RTT Column

Hinckley Elementary School--Part I (The Outside)

The old Millard Academy building was completed in 1912.  The Academy served the students across Millard County until 1923 when it became Hinckley High School.  The building was used in that capacity for 30 years until 1953 when Hinckley and Delta High Schools merged.  The building then became Hinckley Elementary School.

I walked to and from Hinckley Elementary from kindergarten through sixth grade in every kind of weather. As all the girls of my generation, we wore dresses to school every day, regardless of how much snow had accumulated or how hard the cold wind raged.  Walking to and from school wasn't the only time we were exposed to the elements.  The lunchroom was located outside the school on the north side of the building.  The sixth grade students were first to eat each day.  The younger students would stand on the cement walk waiting for the tables to empty before the next group would be allowed to enter, collect a tray of food and be seated to eat.  The cafeteria was a barrack building from the Topaz Interment Camp located west of Hinckley, it had been hauled in from Topaz sometime after 1948 when the Japanese-American citizens, who had been relocated there for three years during World War II, were finally released. (It would be interesting to know what the  Millard Academy and Hinckley High students did for lunch each day prior to this building being brought in and fitted as the cafeteria.)

We always rushed through lunch so we would have plenty of time on the playground at the noon recess. The playground took up the northwest portion of the school grounds with a tall silver slide, monkey bars constructed of 2" pipe, and two large swing sets all positioned in deep bed of pea gravel.  All the equipment was built of heavy-duty, galvanized steel and I believe is currently in use at the Hinckley City Park.  Behind the school there were two baseball diamonds and a football field.  There was also a pile of shale where children spent many recesses splitting rocks in search of trilobites.  The double-wide, straight sidewalk that ran from the street to the great arched front door of the school was the perfect place for jump rope and hop scotch and a large spot under a huge cottonwood tree at the south side of the school was cleared and leveled for playing marbles. It was a veritable fantasyland of recess fun!

During my second grade year, a new craze hit the playground--spinning on the monkey bars. Using our coat or sweater to limit the friction and for padding, we would hook one knee over a bar and throw our weight forward twirling head over heels around and around until we were so dizzy we had to lie on the grass while the world stopped reeling. It must have been quite a sight with all those little dresses and skirts flying in the breeze. This fad caused some trouble for me when my family moved to Pleasant Grove the last six months of my third grade year.  One of the first days at my new school, I tried to show some girls how to spin on the monkey bars, not realizing their bars were spaced differently.  When the bridge of my nose met a lower bar on my first rotation, it knocked me out and I learned how painful a broken nose could be.

When we moved back to Hinckley at the beginning of fourth grade, the new trend was to bring bright-colored plastic water guns to school.  Mr. Farnsworth banned water pistols, but that didn't stop kids from bringing them and having water fights during recess.  Over the first few weeks of school, the sidewalks and sandy playground areas were littered with green, orange, red and yellow plastic shards where Mr. Farnsworth would seize and smash the water guns to smithereens with the heel of his shoe.

Even though I was terrified of Mr. Farnsworth before I reached sixth grade, I looked forward to being the oldest at the school and to all the privileges that went along with that.  Mr. Farnsworth's classes were given the responsibility of keeping the school grounds looking nice. We had a day in the fall and one in the spring when we brought rakes, shovels and other yard tools and worked outside during the school day cleaning, pruning and burning to keep the grounds neat. These were the two days each year the girls could wear pants.  I can't remember if we took advantage of that to slip away from the work and twirl on the monkey bars.  It makes my nose ache to think about it.

Next week we will take a stroll down memory lane inside Hinckley Elementary School.  Please email or phone Georgia with your memories of this grand old building and the rooms, teachers, students, and events of this place ( or 801-737-4787).


Tina said...

Sorry . . . I'm laughing about your aching nose! OUCH! I always love your last sentences.

I went to preschool and kindergarten in Hinckley . . . I don't remember the dress rule . . . . I don't remember much of anything except that I was scared to death of my Kindergarton teacher Zoe Fowles because she tried to get me to TALK of ALL things!!! I would NOT talk to her!

Margie said...

Your memory really impresses me!! I am currently reading President Monson's book "To the Rescue" and I keep thinking "how does he remember all of those details". I love reading your column and it is especially fun since I grew up at the same time and can relate so much to your stories. Good job A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

wendy said...

It is fun to think back on all those memories. When I was young, we had to wear dresses/skirts to school too...right through High School. as you said, no matter the weather. I walked to school, so somedays my legs would be red and freezing.
When I was in elementary school, our favorite recess/lunch time activity was MARBLES. We'd all line up with our marbles set up and see how many we could win.

thanks for your comment on my blog today about Matt. Yes, It has been a hard day of sorts, but I am smiling through my tears.
hugs to you

Lesley said...

I remember wearimg dresses to school as well... and monkey bar twirling with the seaters and coats on the bars. Once a year (field day) we got to wear shorts to school. My mom usually made me a new outfit just for that day! What fun memories. I didn't break my nose, but I did land on the ground once or twice.

Jim Shumway said...

You have such a good memory! I remember and loved that playground too. We played marbles, a game called "smear the queer" and of course go-to-the-bars. I never had Mr Farnsworth as a teacher but I was afraid of him. There were a lot of good teachers at that school.

Lesley said...

Looks like I had a mis-spelled word on my last comment (not a good thing to do on a post about school). I meant to say "sweaters" on the bars not "seaters".

Shannon said...

What a great memory you have. I too remember some great things about Hickley Elem. Mom married Sheldon Western in November of 1960.I was attending Delta Elem. when they got married and I then transfered to Hickley Elem. On my first day of school there, I was in 2nd grade. On my way home from school some of the boys chased me home. I don't know if it was because they liked me or they were just mean but I know I didn't like it.

Shannon said...

woops I spelled Hinckley wrong 2x I really do know how to spell it.