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    • CommentAuthorsmiles
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    Hi - I'm new to this discussion, but not new to reading it. My fellow classmates, you are awesome! I am proud to be a Coraopolis High School graduate. Many of the fondest memories of my Coraopolis years begin and revolve around Lincoln School, in and out of the classrooms. I especially remember "story-time" during the last half hour of the school day. If our class had been good, the teacher would read a chapter in an age-appropriate fiction book. I just loved the Br'er Rabbit stories that Miss Gormley, our second grade teacher, read to us. In sixth grade, Miss Larson read mysteries and suspense stories. Another great memory was riding my bike after school and of course we all headed back to Lincoln School where we played ball, jacks, used the swings or just rode around the playground. Some kids walked back to school, across streets, but we all arrived - all ages to play together. The school was the center of our lives and a safe place to play with our friends. There were no fences, no signs restricting our activities and no supervision! The playground was open and in plain view of the many houses that surrounded it on all sides. By 5 pm we left the playground to return to our homes to have dinner with the family. What a great life!
    • CommentAuthorNatalie
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    Welcome to the party, Smiles. Good to have you. I didn't go to Lincoln, but I remember some of the same stuff. We had the same story times at the end of each day. And those of us who lived close enough would come home and then go back to the school grounds to play just like you said. But a lot of our kids lived down below the tracks and they'd just go to the Ewing Field playground. But either place, like you said, we had no supervison and we could organize our own games and play until time to go home. So Much More Freedom. I wish my own kids could have grown up in such a place and time.
    • CommentAuthorBobbySox
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    Welcome indeed, especially to a Lincoln School classmate. We've not 100% sure who's on this board, but I think most of us have most of us figured out, and if we're correct, I think you're the first Lincoln School contributor we've had. The posts have definitely had a Central and McKinley flavor. So your perspective should be interesting. When we were in grade school, the Lincoln School neighborhood was a remote, unknown place, sort of like Crafton or Carnegie. We heard of it, and knew approximately where it was, but nobody we knew ever went there. Those of us who lived at the other end of town were actually closer to Mooncrest, Moon Township and Sewickley than we were to Lincoln. I remember going into Pittsburgh on the train with my mother. We'd get on at the main Coraopolis station, and then we'd ride for a little while, and stop to take on more passengers at the Montour station, and my mother would explain to me how that was the station for Lincoln School neighborhood people. It all sounded very exotic. I was a little older and instead of the train we'd ride the trolley, and finally the Shafer bus, and they would stop at the Montour Street stop, and if there were any kids getting on I'd always study them real carefully, wondering what they might be like, how different from us. Sometimes we'd venture way over to Maple Street, near Karen's or Nancy's or David's, and look across the dip toward the Lincoln part of town. It seemed like you had an awful lot of trees over there, and a lot of green. We imagined you were out in the country.
    • CommentAuthorBlondie
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    I agree. Please feel welcome. And although I didn't go to Lincoln, I sure remember playing Jacks at our own schoolyard. I gotta say, I was a Cracker at Jacks. I wasn't so good at Hopskotch, or jumping rope, or Chinese Checkers, or Pickup Stix. But oh boy did I love Jacks. I had quick hands and I could clean up those jacks. The guys used to hike back and forth across town and play each other in baseball, football and basketball. I don't know why us girls didn't do that. We could have walked or ridden our bikes over to Lincoln or you could have come over to Central and McKinley and we could have played jacks, hopskotch, Chinese Checkers and Pickup Stix against each other. It would have been great.
    • CommentAuthorDago
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    Come on in, Smiles, and have a seat. I remember when we were in grade school, playing your guys from Lincoln. Wow, they were tough. They'd have Vite, Chuckie, Jimmy and the Allens on the line, Danny back there at quarterback and Dale, Kenny, Bo and Ed either going out for passes or running the ball. We thought we were pretty good, but Vite, Chuckie, Jimmy and the Allens would knock us on our butts, Kenny and Ed always seemed like they had glue on their hands, and Dale was really really hard to bring down. Whether up there at that Montour Street field or over at our own place, we always had good games with those guys.
    • CommentAuthorLugnut
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    I remember those games. We used to get so mad. Danny would never run the ball. He'd just pitch it out to Dale or Kenny or pass it over us to one of those receivers. We'd tell ourselves all the way walking over there how we had to tackle him really hard four or five times and shake him up. So we'd get done, and we'd be all dirty, muddy, sweaty, with grass stains all over our sweatshirts, and he'd look like he'd just stepped out of the house, since we never could get past Vite and that bunch to get to him. If all those guys would have ended up playing for the high school, there would have been some of our guys who did play who would have ended up on the bench. As good as Bill and Leo were, Kenny and Bo and Ed were a lot better, and Vite, Dale, Chuckie and Jimmy would absolutely have ended up somewhere on our line. If nothing else, we could have ended up with offensive and defensive linemen instead of the same guys having to go both ways.
    • CommentAuthorBeBop
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    I remember when Lynette transferred over from Lincoln and we all became friends. She used to talk about how SMALL Lincoln School was, how lost she felt for a while at how much bigger our building was and how many more students we had. But she always talked about how nice it was going to Lincoln, how much she loved her teachers and how nice all the kids were and how much better behaved. She never came right out and said so, but I got the impression she liked her teachers over there much better. I think she kind of missed living over there and going to school there. The way she talked about, it sounded like a really nice school and neighborhood.
    Smiles, good to add you to our group. I, too, loved that time of spending time at the playground playing jacks, swinging, jumping rope, playing hopskotch, riding our bikes, or watching the boys with their marble games. I was so disappointed and saddened and frustrated when by the time my own kids were going to school they ordered them home after school and wouldn't allow them to come back to school and set foot on the playground, like it was some sacred ground only for looks or something.

    I didn't go to Lincoln. Did you also play huge Hide and Go Seek games with kids fanning out all over the school grounds? And in your Hide and Go Seek games after people were captured and brought in to "jail," could someone still free sneak in and touch the jail and yell "Free" and all the prisoners fled in all directions, which basically meant the game started all over again?

    God, them was the days.
    • CommentAuthorLurk
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010 edited
    After we got old enough to go from one end of town to another, my favorite place to sledride was always Vine Street over past Lincoln School. The other streets the borough blocked off were straight and usually brick, with sidewalks on both sides and houses all along. But Vine Street was kind of wild. It wound around past cliffs and woods, the top half of it wasn't even paved, it was longer than any of the others, and there was a long two block stretch with no houses because you had cliffs going up on one side and woods on the other. It was really a ride.
    • CommentAuthorPonytail
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    Smiles, so wonderful to have you. I, too, remember the Brer Rabbit books, although I don't remember which teacher read them to us. I read some of them myself, but like you I loved sitting there with my head in my arms on my desk listening to the teacher reading to us. I don't think teachers read to kids anymore. We all seem to have grown up reading really well and loving to read and reading a lot. My own kids didn't have that kind of school experience. I tried to compensate for it at home by reading to them every night and having them read to me and taking them to the library and encouraging them to read, but it wasn't the same. Whatever they did to us or for us in grade school back in Coraopolis, they sure did focus a lot on reading. I have always been grateful for that.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010
    Oh, Smiles!! Finally a thread I can get into!! I've been reading along here since Margie put us all onto this website in September, but I thought I was the only Lincoln Schooler present. Maybe I just never grew up, or maybe I did grow up but got too cynical when I did, or maybe I just loved Mr. Houtz and Miss/Mrs. Richards, Gormley, Clark/Tucker, and Larson and never loved Mr. Snell, Mr. Johnson or Mr. Daviess or Miss/Mrs. Jones, Piersall, Malter or Crawford, but for whatever reason, all my very fondest memories are of Lincoln, not Junior or Senior High.

    The thing we took for granted at the time but nobody ever notices was how many kids lived so close together. The reason we could all use the school grounds as our personal playground was that we all lived so close to it and to each other. Not one of us could step out on our front porch and look up or down the street without seeing somebody else our age in our grade out playing. And if we expanded our world to include kids one or two years older and one or two years younger, we had a whole society of grade school kids within an area of several blocks all surrounding Lincoln School. And our parents all knew each other. And even the neighbors who didn't have kids liked kids and knew all of us by first names. So it sounds hokey here 60 years later but we really were like one huge, sprawling family.

    And when we all started to school there was no TV, so we HAD to go outside and play, and we HAD to interact with and rely on each other, and not ever seeing any other kids, among our little world of 20 or so kids, we formed REALLY deep and long lasting friendships. We saw each other in our good moods and bad moods, we knew all of everybody's faults and talents, we knew who was good at hopskotch but not at dressing dolls, and who was good at jumping rope but not at Tag.

    I'm really looking forward to this Class of 1960 Reunion, but I wish sometime we'd have just a Lincoln School Reunion. Yes, it would be small, and some of us sadly are not here anymore, but I think it would be just a wonderful experience. We were so blessed and were totally oblivious to how blessed we were.
    I agree. I'm also a Lincoln School graduate, have been reading along for months, but for the first time just have to get into this thread about Lincoln. So many dear friends : Ann, Carolyn, Carol, Marilyn, Charlene, Margaret, Lynette, Bonnie, Sarannah, and from up on the hill Sharon and Jean, and after they moved in Mary Kay, Joyce, and Judy. And the guys : both Davids, Dickie, Dale, Donnie, Vite, Phillip, from down along the tracks Bo and from up on the hill Kenny, Patrick, Danny. And I'm probably leaving some out.

    My two best friends were Lynette and Bonnie. Kindergarten was a big struggle for me, but by first grade I finally had my little girl world all figured out and organized, with Bonnie and Lynette like bookends, always there for me. When Lynette moved across town it traumatized me. We could still get together on weekends or talk on the phone but it was never the same. And then when Bonnie moved away I thought I was going to die. When we got to junior high and I was once again able to go to school every day with Lynette I was so happy I still remember crying. I sure wish she was still with us and could be at the reunion.

    Such nice people. I've seen an awful lot of people in my life who are just not very nice. We were so lucky to spend our first years in school surrounded by such nice people all our own age. No wonder we all developed such self confidence and trust and outgoing natures and did so well. Today, I see my grandkids not liking, not trusting the kids they go to school with. Sad.
    • CommentAuthorNatalie
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010
    Even though Central and McKinley were larger, we all shared some of the same advantages, just maybe not to the same extent. The big thing was our grade schools were neighborhood schools within walking distance. We ran no buses. They were small schools so we knew everybody and everybody knew us. We could stay after school for help or to work on projects or play with friends, or go home and come back. I used to grind my teeth every single morning when I watched my own kids get on those stupid buses and ride 10 miles to school. How idiotic. We should pass a federal regulation banning buses for kids below 7th grade. Maybe --- I'm not sure but it's faintly possible --- we need big junior highs and high schools, but I am absolutely positive we don't need one thousand student grade schools 10 miles from every student's home.
    • CommentAuthorTinker Bell
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010 edited
    Looking back on it, we were so funny with our little 10 year old romantic fantasies. Lynette, Bonnie and I all had our eyes on Dale from about 3rd grade on. But in all the sophistication and maturity of our 10 year old selves, we decided that we were not going to let some guy interfere with our friendship. So we all agreed that we'd all do our best and whichever one of us won Dale, the other two would compete for Danny as a consolation prize. The only problem with this arrangement was that as far as Dale and Danny were concerned, we were just furniture. They recognized the fact that we were there, like tables and chairs, and they would talk to us, but the only girl they were interested in was Carol. They were like a threesome. They'd go over to her house. She and Ann or she and Carolyn would hike out to Danny's house. She'd go over to Dale's. The three of them would go to movies. We'd look at each other real critically but as near as we could determine Lynette and Bonnie were tall slender blonde beauties and I was a little shorter and brunette but still pretty cute and all the other guys seemed to think we were hot stuff but the only two guys we wanted would look right through us like we weren't there. We would get so mad at Carol. But how could we get mad at her? She was so sweet and so pretty and so nice to everybody and she was our friend, too. It was those two guys that were so frustrating. OOhhhhhhhh, we could have wrung their necks. But then we gradually realized that, in addition to all their other hanging out together, the three of them actually got to remain at school and ate lunch together every single day while all the rest of us had to walk home and eat lunch and walk back. Aha! So that's where all that close bonding occurred. Which is how we got ourselves into one of the great misadventures of our grade school years. We requested a meeting with Mr. Houtz. About a day went by, and Miss Clark called us up to her desk after recess one day and said we were to go to the office and see Mr. Houtz. Now, if you remember, going to see Mr. Houtz was a very serious matter. We all loved him, but only derelicts or people who had won some honor got called to the office. And here we were, shuffling into his office. I remember Lynette sort of backing up into Bonnie, and Bonnie backing up into me, and me backing up into the wall, like some TV sitcom. And he sat there at his desk, all official looking, asking us what we wanted. So we explained to him that we had heard that some students were allowed to eat lunch at school and we wanted to do that, too. So he put his hands up to his mouth like a little tent with all the fingertips touching and looked at us real serious and asked did we have any sort of injury or medical condition, and of course we said no, and did our mothers work or were they home during the day, and of course they were home during the day, and did we live especially far from school, which of course he knew we didn't because he knew where we all lived. So then he explained patiently that unless we met any of those conditions we did not qualify to eat lunch at school. So what were we supposed to say : But it's not fair, your own daughter is using lunchtime to steal our men? Or how about : If these three need someplace to eat lunch, they can come home with us. We'll rotate around, so Dale gets to eat with each one of us every third day, and in between we'll host Danny and then Carol. That would have been fair. Each of us would then have had the same number of uninterrupted lunchtimes with Dale and whichever one of us won him would just have been the better girl. But No, we didn't have the nerve to say any of that. We just trooped dejectedly back to Miss Clark's classroom and got ready to hike home for lunch while Dale, Danny and Carol unpacked their little metal lunch boxes and ate lunch there at school, plotting who knew what romantic adventure.

    It was right about then, on the cusp of maybe my 11th birthday, that the idea began growing in my mind that maybe I had better be developing some special talent or intellect because just being cute wasn't going to be enough. And if Lynette and Bonnie weren't good looking enough, well, then, there was no hope for relying on beauty. Somebody should write a book called Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Life I Learned At Lincoln School.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010
    Speaking of broken hearts and frustration, what about when at the end of 4th grade they told us we had to transfer from our beloved Lincoln School and go to --- yuk --- Junior High for 5th grade and Central for 6th grade? All these years later I still resent that. Why couldn't they have remodelled the basement or put two portable classrooms out on the parking lot or something so we could finish up at Lincoln. We were only going to get to go there seven years of our whole lives anyway, so the least they could have done was let us have our seven years. But No. That would have been too much trouble. Talk about Everything I Ever Needed To Know. That was when, at the age of I guess 10, I figured out the world was not operating in my best interest, that there were people or forces out there which were either evil or at least uncaring. Every time some little corner of the world by coincidence becomes a tiny bit of Paradise, forces conspire to crush it, wipe it out, prevent people from enjoying it. There's no telling how much richer all our lives would have been if we could have salvaged those last two years at Lincoln. Those were really critical years. It made me so mad. I'm still mad. I loved that school.
    • CommentAuthorsmiles
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2010

    Memories came flooding back of beginning fifth grade with Mrs. Gray by walking halfway across town to the junior high instead of my short walk to Lincoln School. Bel Air, you are right, I believe we all resented and were truly sad about leaving our special little Lincoln School. It was during the summer that Mr. Houtz began calling parents of my class to talk about overcrowding at Lincoln and his solution. Even his own daughter would be among those making the trek each day! However, as the school days came and went, it turned out to be a fun adventure - at least for me! We walked in a large group to and from school, talking, laughing, singing and certainly messing around!! I can remember several times that Mr. Houtz drove by and stopped to yell at us and keep us moving along.
    Mrs. Gray was my least favorite grade school teacher. I remember her classroom was at the back end of the junior high building. We were supposed to only use the rear entrance, the one that opened directly to Central School and the grade school playground. I suppose she was a good teacher academically because we covered lots of material and she kept everybody in order, which must be tough for a bunch of 11 year olds. But she was such an old frump. The main thing I remember from her class were all the spelling bees. I think we had one a week or maybe every two weeks all year. I never did last very long in those. I don't remember any of the girls lasting very long except Bonnie. It would usually be Dale, Danny, David and Bonnie at the end and either Danny or Bonnie would end up winning. I remember Mrs. Gray chose Danny and Bonnie to represent us against the other schools in Coraopolis and he won that and went on and won in Pittsburgh and went on and won in Harrisburg and she made a big deal out of it. And all the rest of us would study and study our words and I don't think either Danny or Bonnie ever looked at theirs --- they just showed up.

    It's funny what you remember. I remember Mrs. Gray's class for the inkwells. Each of our desks had a glass inkwell that sat down in a hole in the desk in the upper right hand corner. There was a little cover that swiveled back and forth so usually the ink dipping hole was covered but when you wanted to stick your pen in you swung it to the side. We didn't always use the inkwells. On the days when we studied penmanship Ann would come around and fill each inkwell with just enough ink that we would usually use it all up that one session. If somebody ran out Ann would come back and add a little more. I remember Mrs. Gray making a huge deal out of each student having proper penmanship. We had to learn to turn the pen point one way or the other to make wide or skinny strokes, and how to use a blotter, and how to lift the pen between strokes. All of that she insisted was going to be critical in our futures. Of course, I think her class was the last time in our whole lives we ever used an inkwell or a real ink pen.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2010
    I despised that year in the junior high building. Our classroom was so much smaller than the huge rooms we used to have at Lincoln. And at Lincoln every room had a cloakroom. We did all sorts of things with the cloakrooms. We hung our coats and set our boots in the cloakrooms. We could store posters and other stuff in there. There were always two doors, so when we put on school plays or anything we could use those doors as entrances and exits. When somebody misbehaved they could be sent to sit or stand in the cloakroom. Then our junior high classroom had no cloakroom. So we had to use lockers down the hall. They were too small and we couldn't fit big winter coats in them, or keep posters or anything in them. We had no stage entrances or exits. And I didn't like going waaaayyyyyyy down the hall and around the corner to the bathroom, and then when we got there Big Kids --- Good Lord they were like 14 or even 15--- would be in there. And the staircases were awful. They were cramped little things like you were going downstairs inside a closet. Nothing like those beautiful big staircases with the wide bannisters and wide landings back at Lincoln. I also didn't like the small junior high windows along part of one wall after our huge windows at Lincoln that went around two sides of the room and went all the way to the ceiling. I thought our room at the junior high was dark and gloomy without all that sunlight. I was just not a happy camper at all. It made me feel a lot better the next year when for 6th grade under Miss Larson we got to move back over to Central, which wasn't Lincoln, but at least had big staircases, big windows, big classrooms, cloakrooms and bathrooms without Big Kids.
    I remember a lot of the boys started riding their bikes to school when we moved to the junior high. I can clearly see in my mind Kenny, Danny, Jimmy, Nicky and Chuckie riding theirs and locking them in the bike racks out behind the building, and I think there were several more I'm forgetting. And I remember various boys carrying our books home in their baskets and dropping them off on our front porches. I can remember Kenny hauling Carolyn's books home every day, Danny hauling Carol's, Nicky hauling Sharon's, and Chuckie hauling Bonnie's. I think a few girls rode their bikes to school, too, but I can't remember who. I would have but my parents wouldn't let me.
    • CommentAuthorsmiles
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2010
    Cloakrooms! I have moved around the country many times and as I met new friends and talked about experiences in grade school, not one person ever heard of cloakrooms. I can remember shaking my coat to get off the black soot in the cloakroom. Once school began and everyone was in their seats, the janitor would come by with his broom to sweep the soot off the floor. With all of the steel mills up and down the Ohio River, we sure needed cloakrooms!
    • CommentAuthorHot Rod
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2010
    I never got to go to Lincoln. But I went in the building a few times with friends. It wasn't much from the outside, but inside---Wow. That surely had to have been one of the most beautiful grade schools anywhere. Those big staircases with the big bannisters and wide landings, the big center halls on each floor, and those huge classrooms with their huge windows. I wish I had taken some photos of the inside. They don't make schools like that anymore. They didn't even make very many schools like that back then. People should have laid down in front of the bulldozers and not allowed them to demolish the building. And whoever came up with the idea to demolish the building should have been shot.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2010
    And after everything else, the great teachers and great classrooms and great classmates and closeness to all our houses, after all the advantages, the icing on the cake was Mr. McBride. He was just the custodian but what a wonderful old man. He was like all our honorary grandfather. He'd let us hang on the bell rope and ride it up and down, he'd help us on or off with our coats, dry our tears or warn us when we were about to do something which wasn't a very good idea. He'd dress up like the Headless Horseman for Halloween, like Santa Claus for Christmas and like Father Time for New Years our first day back. And although us girls weren't much interested, he had a black and white TV down in the basement, and every Fall teachers would let the boys go down for one inning at a time and watch the World Series when they played all the games in the afternoons and none of us had TVs at home anyway. I wish we'd had a grade school yearbook so we had pictures of all our teachers and Mr. Houtz and Mr. McBride and the classrooms.
    I remember those great classrooms. We had a full sized sandbox right in the room. In one corner we had a little circle of chairs for reading. In another corner we had mats for our naps, which were pretty funny, because none of us actually slept. We'd just lay there and pass notes back and forth. And then we had the official rows of desks where the back of one seat was the front of the desk behind it, and the kids in the back of the room would put their seats up and sit on the edge so they could see. And we were always decorating the windows with stuff we made in Art classes. We'd cut them out of various colors of construction paper. I remember those lights. They were big white bowls that hung from real long black pipes from those ceilings that seemed about a mile high.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 6th 2010
    I remember those slanting doors along the side of the building. They opened up to expose a staircase down into the basement, but mostly they had a big padlock on them. But they came up at about a 45 degree angle from the ground to a point above our heads. There was a little shelf at the very top, maybe a foot wide, so if we could climb up there, we could sit on it while we tucked our legs up under us. Then we could slide down the slope. Kids had been sliding down the cellar doors for half a century by the time we came along so the wood was worn smooth as glass. There was no way anybody could pick up a splinter because the wood was so smooth. I think they must have painted the doors every Summer because they were always a nice pale blue, but the wood was still smooth. I remember, especially when we were real little, sliding down those doors was one of our main activities. But it was funny, because climbing up the doors was not the easiest thing in the world. Sometimes you'd get halfway up and slide all the way back down backwards. But the doors were like our own miniature sliding board. I don't even remember whether Lincoln had a big official sliding board or not, but I sure remember sliding down the doors.
    Ain't this somethin! Margie says go check this out I'm thinkin yeh ok a page and a few pictures. Instead you've got like Disney World here. Cool. Wish I knew who I was talkin to, but it sure looks like the gang's all here.

    At Lincoln. Funny little things. Remember the restrooms were in the basement. Even at Central, they were in the basement. So remember we didn't say, "May I go to the restroom" or "May I go to the bathroom?" No. We'd say "May I go to the basement?" For six out of seven years (junior high was different in 5th grade). So all the way through junior high and high school and for several years after high school, I always referred to the rest room and bathroom as a basement. I'd ask a teacher if I could go to the basement. I'd ask someone where the basement was. Like I'd stop at a gas station and ask the guy where his basement was. I finally broke the habit by about 20 or 21 but it was pretty funny for a long time there.
    • CommentAuthorsmiles
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2010
    In first grade, Miss Richards used to punish students who were naughty or disruptive by assigning them to an after school reading session. Since I am a very social animal, I was often assigned to extra reading after school! Maybe that is why I learned to read so well. Because of all of these sessions, I memorized our reading books! My Mother was amazed because I could pretend that I had a book in my hand and read the pages to her.
    Who was that lady who lived on the corner and kept calling Mr. Houtz every time we cut across her yard, which of course was every time we walked to or from school four times every day? I seem to remember it was Mrs. Pugh, but I know we had Miss Pugh as our third grade teacher, so do I have the names confused? Were there two Pughs, one a grouchy old crone who would peek out from behind her white lace curtains and rat us out, and the other a young single teacher? I recall the old lady had an ugly Chow dog who would bark at us but would never come down off the porch. She'd call Mr. Houtz and tell him exactly what we were wearing so he could either come to the classroom and call us out or just go down to the front steps and wait for us to arrive and nab us. That old lady was a pain in the butt the whole time we went to Lincoln. It wasn't like we picked her stupid flowers or anything. We just walked across her yard. We didn't even bother her dog. Chuckie and Jimmy would run up to the stairs and snarl at the dog just to get him all worked up, but us girls never did anything like that. But it didn't matter. We'd get called in and fussed at, and after so many times he'd start calling our mothers and then we'd get home and get fussed at again, and then next day we'd get called back into the office and fussed at, so basically our whole week became getting fussed at multiple times a day over the same stupid yard. I hope wherever that lady's buried people walk across her grave every day. I wonder if the dog is buried right next to her.
    Yeh, I remember her. But we never worried about her or that Chow. The dog we really had a problem with was that one that lived at Tompkins Corner. It was a black and white mongrel and it hated everybody but most especially it hated us. It certainly did come down off the porch. It would come all the way across the street or down the alley or anywhere within half a block that we were trying to detour around. And it would nip at us and jump up at us. We carried sticks to jab at it to keep it from biting us. There were girls who would wait to walk to school with us and I know the only reason they wanted us along was so we could protect them from that dog. (That was OK--at that age that was about the only way we were going to get to walk to school with a girl.) This went on every day for years. We finally went off to junior high and that dog was still terrorizing Lincoln students.
    • CommentAuthorsmiles
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2010
    I do remember the problem with Mrs. Pugh! I came from a different direction when I walked to Lincoln, but remember those who got in trouble because they crossed Mrs. Pugh's yard - she lived next door to Lincoln and her daughter (who seemed VERY old to me at the time) taught third grade! I always liked Miss Pugh as a teacher until she failed my very good friend Dicky Van Balen!! In retrospect, it was probably the best thing for Dicky, but I sure missed my friend in fourth grade.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2010
    I hadn't thought about Dicky for years. Van Balens Laundry closed last Summer. I was real sad when I saw it was closing because it was one of the last places that was in business when we were growing up that was still there. Now, there's just the two hardwares. There's a bank in the same downstreet place, but it's not the same bank.

    I seem to remember Miss Pugh failed quite a few kids. Third grade was like a big hurdle to clear as you moved up through the grades. She was the one who failed Chuckie and Jimmy which was why they ended up in our grade for a few years, until they failed again. Looking back on it, we would have been better off without them.
    I never got the impression Miss Pugh liked us. I always thought Miss Richardson, Mrs. Gormley, Miss Clark and Miss Larson really liked us, but I never thought Miss Pugh or Mrs. Gray did. I don't remember either of them ever smiling.
    • CommentAuthorDago
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2010
    I still remember that Tompkins Corner dog. Damn him anyway. Several of us got bit by that dog as we'd be walking up to Montour Hill to play those guys in football or sledride or hike in the woods. If it was just some of us who lived in the upper part of town, we'd either go through the woods or up Montour Street, but if we had guys from below the tracks with us, like we usually did, we'd be starting from Fourth Avenue, and it made more sense to cut across and go up Vine Street. Except for that damned dog. And I swear he would lay for us. We'd think, well, we'll cut up through the alley. And then we'd see him sneaking across the yard to the alley way ahead of us like some lion out in the jungle. Or we'd try to cut up that sloping path to the back end of Jean's place and walk down through her driveway. And he'd come charging up through the berry bushes and underbrush and catch us on that path. The only thing I have to say is several of us carried scars from that dog for years, but he carried some scars, too. We'd grab some old broomsticks or pipes or whatever from people's trash cans out in the alley, or pick up old branches from the hillside below Ford's, and when he charged us, we'd get in our licks. It wasn't like we were helpless first graders. We were in 4th, 5th or 6th grade and we were quite capable of defending ourselves. But next week or next month, he'd be back out there prowling the neighborhood again, looking for us or anybody else in a four block area walking through. And he also used to lay for sledriders coming down Vine Street. And kids on bikes. And even cars. He was an equal rights dog. He hated everybody.
    • CommentAuthorLugnut
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2010
    I remember Charlene telling me one time that dog affected the way kids in her neighborhood lived. I was complaining to her about another one of our run ins with that dog and demanded to know how she and her friends put up with it, and she told me she could go for a walk or go bike riding anywhere across from her house or down from her house but could not go up. So she could never walk up and visit Jean or Danny or anyone that would require her to walk up Vine Street or up George Street. And those were the only two streets that went from where she lived up to Montour Hill, without her having to walk all the way over to either Montour Street or the Cinder Steps, which would have been about a mile out of her way each direction. So she could walk all along Vance Avenue to Marilyn's or Mary Kay's or Carol's or Joyce's, or walk down and come across Ridge Avenue or State Avenue. She actually lived closer to Jean, Sharon, Roberta and Danny than she did to Carol. But Highland Avenue was blocked off by that dog. And she said the dog lived forever as far as her growing up, since from the time she was old enough to walk there was the dog and it was still there even when she was in junior high.

    Those were some pretty mean and clever guys who lived over there. Dale, Danny, and Kenny were clever and Chuckie and Jimmy were mean. I don't see how all of them put together didn't take care of that dog. If it had lived in our neighborhood I'll guarantee you it would have just disappeared one night without a trace.
    You don't know the half of it. That dog would steal our baseballs. We used to walk to and from school in the Spring throwing a baseball back and forth across the street. it was a way to sort of work on our timing and reaction so when we tried out for Little League everything would be second nature. But of course we'd miss the ball every fifth or sixth throw and have to go retrieve it. Well, that dog would lay for us, and if we let a ball drop --- gronch!! --- the dog scarfed it up and ran off with it. Now, if you recall, baseballs weren't cheap. So losing a baseball was a Very Serious Problem. So we would have to get the baseball back. But the dog would gallop off down the alley and jump the fence and put the baseball under his doghouse. Well, now, this meant we had to sneak into somebody's back yard that had "No Trespassing" and "Trespassers Will Be Shot" and "Stay Out" and "Keep Away" and "Private --- Especially Kids" signs all along the fence. But that was our baseball in there. So somehow we were faced with the challenge of climbing over the fence, running across the yard, getting down on our hands and knees and reaching under the doghouse for the baseball, pulling it out, standing up, running back, climbing back over the fence, and getting the Hell out of there while all this time this ferocious big dog was trying to eat us alive. If you think about it, this was a really big problem. The worst part of the rescue mission was trying to kneel or lay down on the ground and reaching for the baseball while being attacked by Dogerocious. Several of us already had scars from just walking down the alley or street and carrying a stick for protection, and now we had to lay or kneel down right in front of its doghouse? Geez. But that was our baseball in there. So we would come up with all sorts of diversionary tactics. The most common was for two guys to jump the fence from opposite sides and run around the whole yard in a big circle staying close to the fence, then when the dog was giving chase to those two intruders, the third guy would jump the fence and head for the dog house. But sometimes we'd catch one of the neighbors' cats and put it in a burlap sack and throw it in the yard, and then when the dog attacked the sack and it and the cat got into a civil war, one of us would jump the fence and head for the doghouse. The greatest showdown was the time the dog grabbed one of Chuckie's baseballs. He understood junkyard dogs because he was one, so he got real serious real fast. He and Jimmy took one of those poles with a loop at the bottom and a rope that you use to catch raccoons and stuff, and went down to Mrs. Pugh's and roped her Chow and dumped it in one of those slatted boxes and carried it up to Tompkins Corner and dumped the Chow over the fence. I can still remember that. I know everybody from Route 51 to the Cinder Steps must have thought they were staging Godzilla vs. the Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. You could hear those dogs snarling and going at it. Chuckie got in there and got his baseball and we all ran like Hell. The next day a whole bunch of us were summoned to the office one by one. Mr. Houtz wanted to know what in the world had gone on up at Tompkins Corner. After he'd heard from all the witnesses he could find, he suspended Chuckie and Jimmy for about a week. While I was in his office he confided in me that Mrs. Pugh was madder than he had ever seen her. Apparently she had come all the way over to school and stormed into his office and accused all of us of dognapping her dog from its own porch. But By God We Got The Ball Back.
    • CommentAuthorBeBop
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2010
    I hope I'm not going to regret asking this question, but you keep referring to Tompkins Corner. Surely Dogzilla here didn't have any connection to our classmate?
    No. Alex lived in a little house right where Vine Street makes an extremely sharp turn, so sharp we always had trouble with our wagons and sleds and bikes coming down the hill. So since from Kindergarten we knew Alex, we always just called it Tompkins Corner. But a few doors on down the alley was the guy with all the Keep Out signs and the huge yard and Dogzilla.
    What A Hoot Your Online Class Reunion Who Woulda Thunk It ? Counting the number of people in most of those class reunion photos and then counting the number of people posting on here, it looks like we got about as many on here as usually show up at the reunions except you get down to a lot more of the good nitty gritty on here than all those Hi Long Time No See Good To See Ya Bye Now passing in the night encounters at the actual reunions which is one reason I've never been big on reunions class or otherwise. Sure wish we could dispense with these screen names but knowing the kooks who hang out on the internet I sure see why nobody wants their life history broadcast.

    Lincoln School you're sure right them was the days nothing to worry about parents paid the bills nobody had jobs except paper routes babysitting snow shovelling leaf raking and lawn mowing just go to school read a little do some math answer questions in science and history and then go play. The H-Man knew our names teachers loved us cutest girls ever best bannister for sliding down three floors and got to hang on the bell rope and watch world series on tv in October how could you beat it? Days just went on and on full of bike riding and sledriding and building camps in the woods and swimming in the creek and who thought it would ever end and all of a sudden we woke up one morning and it was all gone and no way to get it back Paradise Lost for sure.
    • CommentAuthorCritter
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    We war a bunch, warn't we
    All decked out in shorts
    and collared shirts
    the girls in their pinafores
    all of us smiling and eager
    and totally out of control
    little gremlins run amuck
    Hell's Angels on Three Wheels
    Playing for high stakes
    with our cat eye marbles
    the girls over there
    flouncing up and down
    with their jump ropes
    Cheshire Cat Carolyn
    biggest smile in town
    And The Ice Princess
    every guy's heart throb
    but prim as she could be
    under White Horse's
    watchful eye
    Green Eyed Blonde from
    Highland Avenue
    and sultry Marilyn
    too hot for us to handle
    We were sent too soon
    floundering afar
    beyond the "dip."
    We only got five of our years
    going to Central robbed us
    of being patrol boys
    of putting Mrs. Pugh
    in her place
    of conquering Dogerocious
    and hitting the home run
    over Van Balens fence.
    Unfinished business
    lingers heavy
    as age closes in.
    • CommentAuthorBeBop
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    Well, that wraps it up. Hell can now freeze over. The crack in the sky is clearly visible. The End of Time is nigh. When we have a classmate writing poetry on our message board we have certainly crossed over some sort of line. The only thing left is for somebody to figure out how to post in binomial equasions.

    Who in the world can you be and what rock could you possibly have climbed out from under?
    • CommentAuthorsmiles
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    WOW! I am blown away by Critter's talent, insightful thoughts into our five years at Lincoln, but expecially the power of his or her words that evoke memories with each line. BeBop, your comment is special as well, makes me chuckle! Each morning I eagerly go to the computer to open up this discussion and find it so entertaining! When this website was started, I never dreamed that my interest would be aroused or that I would be happily participating in these discussions.

    Remember the Peterson Writing System that taught us cursive, the teacher saying "round, round, ready round" to us as we made those O's across the page - using three lines on our paper? Years ago I was approached by a man who recognized my cursive, just like his own, and knew that we must have both grown up in the Pittsburgh area. I can remember the representative from Peterson coming to our classroom to critique our writing papers and as a result, we all took writing very seriously!
    • CommentAuthorCritter
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010 edited
    Hey Bebop Lady
    Poetry Gits It Done
    When I gradeeated
    I had no funds
    like you highfalutin folk
    so I signed on with the gas company
    and got sent to Texas
    and then took a job
    with Occidental Petroleum
    riding pipelines
    out across the open range
    I was herding pipes not cattle
    but it's about the same
    and lots of nights
    I'd run across the real thing
    herdin their cows
    and campin out
    so I got invited
    for some coffee and talk
    and found out
    cowboys write verse
    to express themselves
    all alone
    out there
    just them and the sky
    so I started writing it too
    not the fancy stuff
    like we read in school
    where rhyme is the thing
    but just words and phrases
    artfully put
    and when the company
    sent me to school
    at Texas A & M
    I took a class
    and got addicted
    so when oil played out
    and the job went away
    I came home
    with my college degree
    and took a job
    on the towboats
    from here to Orleans
    or Minneapolis
    and back
    two weeks on the river
    and a few days off
    writing poetry
    headin down the river
    still under the open sky.

    But what's cool
    is that the little guy
    who went to Lincoln
    when the world was new
    and wide open
    and we could be anything
    we wanted to be
    that little guy
    is still hiding inside
    this geezer with gray hair
    and occasionally
    he speaks up
    and we talk about stuff
    like how come things
    turned out like they did
    and how come
    we made the choices we made
    and how come
    time flows by so fast
    that we can still hear the bell
    from the Lincoln Tower
    and the voices down below
    Firrrrrsrt Belllllllll
    and then five minute later
    it clangs out again
    and they chant
    Seeeeeeecond Bellllllll
    and then five minutes later
    it clangs out again
    but there's no chant
    because everyone's inside
    and if you're not
    you're late.
    I was late a lot:
    a minute late
    and a dollar short
    turned out to be
    the story of my life.
    I quit listening to music when it turned into Rap. I listened to it for a couple of weeks and then every time one of the neighborhood doofi came babbling by, I would be painting the fence or trimming the hedge or whatever and I'd do my Rap for him. It went like this...

    I'm a clueless teenager
    who don't know crap
    so I wander round my neighborhood
    annoying folk with rap

    For some reason I was never able to fathom, the kids in my neighborhood did not see the hysterical humor in this. I noticed they started crossing the street about half a block up and avoiding my sidewalk. They apparently labored under the delusion this was somehow depriving me of their presence. What they did not realize was that they were doing exactly what I had hoped. So instead of listening to the radio like I used to do every day, I put the radio away in the basement and stated coming on the Internet. Now I find some guy writing me cowboy poetry on my class reunion website. How Long, O Lord....???
    Hey!! Be Nice. I think it's sweet. I wish some guy would have written me poetry when I was going to Lincoln. He would have swept me right off my feet. It wouldn't have mattered what kind of poetry it was. Cowboy or Riverboat or Briarpatch. Any of them would have swept me off my feet.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    Guys didn't write you poetry while we were at Lincoln? Gee, I'm sorry. They wrote me poetry all the time. I don't know if it could be considered sweet, though. It would go like this...

    Roses are Red
    Violets are Blue
    Ann's Funny Looking
    And So Are You


    As You Slide Down
    The Bannister of Life
    Don't Get A Splinter'
    In Your Career.

    They would slip these little nuggets my way while we were laying there on our mats during Nap Time.

    That was another one of those times I started figuring out life was not going to be fair. Carol was laying over there getting notes passed to her about how guys liked her did she like them, and I was getting notes telling me I was funny looking or would get a splinter in my butt. I realized then there were varying levels of romance and I was going be on the one of the lower rungs.
    It's snowing today. Again. 13th straight day. So I'm sitting here remembering all the different places we used to sledride back when we had real winters like this one while we were at Lincoln so we had plenty of days to try all the places out several times each. Of course, there was The Big One, that being Vine Street, starting up above Nicky's and coming down past Charlene's to where they started putting on the ashes right around Judy's. Alex and Charlene had ringside seats, like a box at the Indianapolis 500. You'd be on their front porch and zzzznngggg zzzznngggg zzzzngggg sleds would go slashing by with people hunkered down low on the wood slats. Of course Charlene was down there on the final straight, but Alex was right on Tompkins Corner where the sleds were throwing up sparks and sprays of ice and snow carving around that sharp bend. But then there was Omlors Hill for sledriding way down through the woods, and Pump House Hill, where you took your life in your hands coming down that steep bank and had to make that sharp turn at the bottom or else end up in DeFiore's living room, and there was that run down through the woods from Henry's beagle kennel to Ed's backyard on the final corner of Vance Avenue (where it dropped off the other side of Vine Street by Charlene's). Those were the major league runs.
    But there were others. I was trying to remember them all.

    * The alley from Stewart's down to Devonshire Road. That alley was a block and a half long and steadily downhill.
    * The woods to the left of the Cinder Steps, starting up in Smiths Backyard and ending up on Highland Avenue just above Carolyn's. During the Forever Snow of 1950 when we were in second or third grade I remember coming down from Smiths, crossing Highland Avenue, swinging out onto the bricks, and heading straight down toward Carol's house on Vance Avenue. How we all avoided ending up in her living room or at least on her front porch I'll never know.
    * The cut through the woods from Jean's down to Highland Avenue and the dogleg onto George Street, then the dash down George past Dale's and Pugh's toward State Avenue. This was quite a run. We would build up a real high speed on that steep cut through the woods and that steep drop from Highlands to Vance, and then have to get stopped during the block between Ridge and State.
    * The cut through the woods from the Edgewood Dead End at Butera's and McCann's, down along Buzza's, across Highland Avenue, across Bonnie's front yard, and down into Donnie's yard where they parked the big Mack Trucks. Mrs. Buzza really really really did not appreciate our sledriding through or along her yard, mainly because as she would explain to our parents every single night she was deathly afraid it was so steep one of us was going to end up killing ourselves, especially if we could not get stopped down at Hill's and shot out onto Montour Street. But of course that just made it exciting. Plus there was always the advantage of trying to impress Bonnie. There were two escape routes at the bottom of this run. If we shot off Buzza's bank too fast to turn left into Hill's, we could follow Bonnie's yard straight down to the alley and across to Margaret's backyard. Or if we made Hill's but couldn't stop we could shoot along the back of the house into the alley and the other side of Margaret's backyard.
    * Vite's Alley, which of course had another name but we never used it. It was beautifully steep and went from Montour Street right by Vite's house down behind half a block and came out along the creek at David's house. This was a really straight steep fast run but that final turn was wicked---guys without Flexible Flyers tore up many a sled on that turn. Only Flexible Flyers made it consistently.

    Now, who has a run I'm forgetting? Or a favorite story about one of these runs?
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    You guys were lucky at least one or two of you weren't killed. Except for Vine, they weren't blocking off any of those street and they weren't ashing the bottoms of any of those runs. As you came roaring across Highland or Vance or Ridge if there had been a car coming you had no way to stop and no way to turn.
    That's not exactly true. I agree, looking back, we probably had a little luck. But we all pretty much knew to sledride on Vine during the day and these other runs at night. At night if a car was coming you'd see its headlights a block away and could maneuver accordingly. Now, as long as you had a Flexible Flyer and knew how to use it, you could turn on a dime and stop pretty quick. Plus we'd look out for each other. Guys pulling their sleds back up the hill would yell up "CAR!!!" or some such at riders coming down. The biggest danger was not cars. It was running into a long stick jutting up from under the snow as we came through those wooded sections. We could have stabbed ourselves through the chest or arm or put out an eye. How not one of us ever did that is beyond me. I guess God looks after kids, dogs and babies.
    On the Peterson Writing System. I remember that. My biggest memory like it was yesterday is of the teacher --- Miss Richardson, Gormley, etc. --- saying "Make a skate" every time we sharpened a pencil. They liked us to write with a flat surface not a sharp point. I remember Miss Richards standing over me saying "Dear, you need some width to your stroke." It seemed to me a very fine point was best, but they worked and worked to drill that out of me. Remember how every year we had all those cards with the cursive alphabet tacked up above the blackboard coming around the room for us to look up and refer to whenever we wrote. I remember how naked the high school blackboards looked without those cards. I also remember the emphasis on staying on the line with the basic letter. Loops might drop below or rise above but the base of the letter needed to be ON the line, not above it.
    • CommentAuthorBelAir
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    I remember Sarannah and Lynette were such good sledriders before they moved away. They loved to do it and were so much better than any of the rest of us. And Jeannie. After Lynette and Sarannah left, Jeannie was easily the best girl sledrider at Lincoln. I remember watching her beat a lot of the boys.
    • CommentAuthorHuckleberry
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010 edited
    They didn't like for Lynette to sledride on Vine Street or any street so she did a lot of her sledriding up at Omlors Hill which was why a lot of us guys did a lot of ours up there too but it was tricky you had a couple turns especially a dogleg toward the bottom where you had to go left at one big tree then right at the other then drop steep down into the Hollow and if you weren't good you ended up off in the woods and deep snow so a lot of kids would drag their feet coming down the first steep hill so they could keep their speed down and maneuver those bends but not Lynette she'd come down that first hill like a bat out of Hell and as she came through those turns she'd send up sprays of snow and ice and another thing was it was a big deal at Omlors to "get air" as you started down that last drop into the Hollow but it was hard because you slowed down coming through the S turns but Lynette would come screaming out of that final turn and soar out over the drop and then finally touch down about halfway down the descent and then she'd still keep control and cruise on out across the flats and behind her other kids even if they did manage to get air would lose control when their sled slammed down and they'd flip the sled or roll off. Russell Musta he was older but still sledriding with us said most kids rode their sleds but Lynette drove hers. She woulda been a tremendous skiier or Olympic skater.