Doug Keeler's experiences in grades 1-4 in the 1960s

I don't know what triggered it, but somehow I started reflecting back on my days as a student at the old Jefferson school back in the 1960s.

The old school is nothing but a distant memory for us now. 

It was torn down in the early 1980s, a victim of Ford City's settling soil.

But it was quite a school in its day, I have a lot of memories -- some good and some bad.

Here's what I miss, don't miss, and some things that just happened.

I miss the taste of crayons and library paste, but I don't miss having little bits of rubber in my mouth from chewing on my eraser.

I miss the intoxicating aroma of mimeograph fluid on a piece of paper so fresh from the mimeograph machine it was still damp and curled up.

I miss spaghetti in the cafeteria, which in those days was in the old kindergarten building a block away.

I miss riding Irv Freeman's bus to and from school when I was in Kindergarten. For that year, I got picked up and dropped off at Cedar and Van Buren. After that, the powers that was decided I was too close for a bus ride and had to walk or get a ride from my mother.

In fact, I missed riding the bus with Irv so much that sometimes, just for fun up through grade 4, I would ride his bus on the afternoon run. My dad was a school bus driver, so I'd just tell my mother at lunch that I'd be late from school. Irv had a great bus run. We got to go down North Lincoln to the 1-C houses, then across the street to the General American lease. It was always great fun to go right past the 1-C gas plant.

After the route, I'd go back to the bus garage and catch a ride home with my dad.

I don't miss getting knocked down while lining up at the end of recess in second grade and ending up with a concussion.

I don't miss the time my third grade classmates dropped a bench on my ankle and I ended up with a bone bruise.

I miss spaghetti in the cafeteria.

I miss playing kickball at recess. 

I miss going out to recess and seeing three or four huge black smoke columns off in the distance. It wasn't anything big,  just oil companies burning off  sumps.

I'm not sure how I feel about the time Bill Porter leveled me with one punch because I called him a "butterball."

I had it coming, and, if you know Bill, it wasn't personal. I asked for it, after all, and heck, he probably helped me up right after he did it. I never told the teacher, because that would have violated the Code of the Playground.

I don't miss having to stay after school for 30 minutes in the fourth grade while all the other kids were playing right outside where I could see and hear them.

I remember the time my fourth grade teacher, tied one of my classmates to his desk chair with a jump rope because he wouldn't sit still. The rope was wrapped around his chest and was tied to the chair and all he could move was his arms and legs.

I also remember the time my first grade teacher, Mrs. Dodson, took me by the ear lobe and marched me to the principal's office after I wadded up a math worksheet and threw it to the floor saying "I hate math."

Don't judge my teachers by today's standards. That was a different time, and what they did was perfectly acceptable in that era.

By the way, I still hate math.

Did I mention I miss spaghetti in the cafeteria?