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Somerville School Memories

Corky Cummings


Somerville generated a lot of memories from my younger days that have stayed with me into my golden years. There were many unique and/or funny occurrences that took place in school and these are some of my favorite recollections.

When I was in 4th grade, one of the junior high boys decided to destroy the new wall plaster in the boys’ bathroom. Mr. Pryor, who was the principal, made a visit to each classroom attempting to find out who was responsible for the demolition. Since no one stepped forward and
admitted it and no one told on the person who did, Mr. Pryor had all of the boys from the 4th through the 8th grade line up in the cafeteria for one lick with his paddle as punishment. Toward the middle of the exercise, Mr. Nixon, who was the superintendent, came over to check
on what was happening. Many of the boys hoped that he would put a stop to it and they would escape without having their turn. However, Mr. Pryor told Mr. Nixon that his arm was getting tired, so Mr. Nixon took over from there. Much to the chagrin of the remaining
students, he hit harder than Mr. Pryor. Both school administrators would be receiving their mail in Huntsville if this occurred today, but as I recall, there were less than a handful of parents who complained. 

There was a Somerville tradition that all boys graduating from 8th grade into high school would go to the empty lot behind the drug store (now the site of Citizens State Bank) on the last day of school for initiation. Each outgoing senior was allowed 3 licks with a paddle and each incoming
senior was permitted 10. You could always tell which boy was in for it the worst based on the applause he would receive when his name was announced at the morning graduation ceremony in the school auditorium. I think that George Wight was the only 8th grade boy who ever received a standing ovation. As an outgoing 7th grade student who witnessed that initiation, I had a full year to think about what I would be facing. The following year when it came my turn, I didn’t suffer like George, but I will never forget that Glenn Davis elevated me off the ground with his 3 swings. Standing was my preferred position for the next few days.

As a freshman in high school, there was a requirement that boys take two periods of Agriculture, which was taught by Mr. G (Melvin Giesenschlag). Everyone would get very bored during the 2nd period and we would request that Mr. G take us on a field trip. During one outing Mr. G stopped the bus and was comparing a pasture on one side of the road to one on the other side. He asked, “Now if you were a cow which pasture would you rather be in?” Bobby Neinast answered that he would rather be in the one with a bull. That was not the answer Mr. G expected, but he found it as funny as the rest of us.

When the creator of oldartguy.com, John Pinkerton, started teaching in Somerville, I was in his first English class as a high school senior. As John will attest, I had a diversion of periodically clipping my fingernails during class. His ears must have been trained to detect any distractions because he always knew and would confiscate my nail clippers. I reminded him of this at a high school reunion a few years ago, and he told me that he would not be returning them. I guess this proves that what happens in Somerville, stays in Somerville.