by Linda Jo Childress Kapfer
One of my oldest and fondest memories was watching a community amateur show some time in the 1950’s (I assume admission was paid and used for a good cause). Two performances have stuck in my memory. The first was how proud I was of my parents, (Harold and Dorothy Childress) who performed a humorous pantomime skit entitled, “It’s In the Book” by Homer and Jethro. They were both in bib overalls chewing on wheat pretending to be from the back hills of the Ozarks. We sisters had great fun watching them practice and finally perform in the show.
The second performance I will never forget, was watching Flora Epperson, play the piano to accompany her two daughters Beulah and Bertha, who sang the song, “Sisters”. This song was originally sung by Rosemary Clooney, in a Bing Crosby Christmas movie. This song and especially the words spoke to me, because I have three sisters. The words of that song have helped guide relationships between we sisters and our spouses. The song verses say, “Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister, and Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man”! I will bet many of you remember the beautiful and talented Epperson sisters and Flora who could really rock a piano. Do you remember?
In the 1950’s our country was in a cold war with the Russian Communists. I remember being really frightened after I attended a program on Communism, presented in the school gym by Estel Leslie, from Rutledge. He was warning us that each home might need a bomb shelter, and that we should begin collecting canned food. Fortunately, the cold war ended in 1989. I also remember I won a case of car oil as a door prize. My dad was happy. I wasn’t!
I remember these things from being at school: Swinging as high as I could while daydreaming about my adult life, not being able to climb the peg board on the gym wall by the stage as a part of the President’s Fitness Challenge, and getting my sex education by reading the walls on the high school outhouse.
When I was trying to make a career choice, I remember how interested I was in Mrs. Cowles Biology class. We studied human anatomy and physiology the last weeks of the semester. I was amazed by the body machine. Then when I mentioned I wanted to help others, Mrs. Nelda Jones, Business Teacher, asked “What about becoming a nurse?” These teachers helped me find a career I have loved for 50 years. During my career, I spent half my time working on hospital nursing units, and half my time teaching. I especially enjoyed being a clinical nurse educator, teaching students to care for hospitalized patients.
Our bus rides to ball games were always fun. I remember the best basketball trips were to Downing or Lancaster. Bill Dale always stopped the bus at Keith’s Café, Memphis, MO, so we could all get a delicious hamburger, fries and a malt.
I remember going to the band room and making noises until Mrs. Ward or Corrine McMurry, music directors, would quiet us, and we became a band. I remember my pride in marching in the NE MO State Homecoming Parade, Kirksville, MO, first in old black capes and later in brand new gold and black uniforms. I remember the thrill of playing on the college field with all of the other bands. It was such fun being a small part of a John Phillip Souza March. As for singing, I sang “I Can’t Say No” in Corrin McMurre’s presentation of “Oklahoma” by Rogers & Hammerstein. And a big thanks to the school for housing all our 4-H events: Meetings, square dances, and “Share of the Fun”.
I remember flirting my eyes at a boy across the room, and Mrs. Ruby Jones coming down hard on him. I remember special necklaces, scarves, and fur collars. I remember the reaction from a tack placed on Mr. Gordon Matlock’s chair. I remember, with a little help of my friends, taking and passing Miss Eva Anthony’s trigonometry class, and testing out of math in college. I remember Mr. Joe Buford transporting us to Paris, France to learn about the Art Impressionists, and reading Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”.
I remember Rollie Dorsey (1962) jumping out of the window of the English room, and then the teacher politely allowing him back into the room. Fred Curtis (1963) has told me of other window jumpings. The large high school windows were perfect for that. Were there any jumpers in your day?
In 1959-60, I remember rather heated discussions about the Kennedy/Nixon presidential debates in Mr. Eldon Cowles’ history class. With my heritage, of course I took the Republican side. And who could forget watching the first launches into space on a TV in the science room? I remember you could actually see with the naked eye the Russian’s satellite “Sputnik” and our earth orbiters. There was also a neat song about it. Remember?
I remember that every Good Friday, the whole school was dismissed at 1:30 PM so all students could walk down the hill together to attend ecumenical services at one of the local churches. I sang in the community choir. I also want to thank all my Catholic classmates, because we were treated to batter fried fish every Friday. Our Gorin cooks were the best. We seldom left any food on our trays. I also remember the whole community turning out to financially support buying everything from band uniforms to stage curtains, to magazines to support a class project. Gorin schools always had excellent support from the community and these same citizens were wonderful role models.
After 50 years, these are just a few of the school events I remember. Isn’t it funny that each of us remember different events, and if the event had an impact on all of us, each one will remember different facets of the same event? This is where alumni reunions are so important, and of course, we never have enough time to visit. I hope whoever buys the Gorin school will allow us to continue to have our reunions in the school gym.
Although Gorin School has officially closed, there are several more of us who would like to tell another story. If you have more to say about your experiences at or with Gorin Schools, please continue to submit your stories to the Memphis Democrat. Within the next few weeks we will write a few articles which will seem to officially end this project. But throughout the summer, if you have more to say please feel free to send it in for publication.