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Glenwood Elementary School

By Sarah (Sally) Geer

Glenwood Elementary School is the oldest school in the Chapel Hill school system, but it was almost new when we arrived. The building is hard to see now, but it was highly visible when it was built in 1953. A new road had been cut to the crest of a small hill at the intersection of the bypass and the Raleigh Road, across from the new Glen Lennox apartment complex. The hillside was an open meadow, which we used for kite flying. That meadow is now the site of the Harris-Teeter shopping area.

Glenwood Elementary School Chapel Hill 1956
Glenwood Elementary School students including Charly Mann (white t-shirt next to left most pole) at front entrance in 1956

Until Glenwood was built, all white children went to the old brick elementary school downtown. Black children attended Northside Elementary School. The post-war baby boom made new schools essential.

Sally Gear in back playground Glenwood School
Sally Geer (the author of this piece) in back playground of Glenwood Elementary School Chapel Hill in 1960

Buses and carpools served Glenwood, but neighborhood children walked or biked to school from Glen Lennox, Oakwood/Rogerson Drive and Greenwood. Highland Woods kids walked on a path through the woods and across a creek. Mrs. Webb was the crossing guard who shepherded us across the highway. Walkers would sometimes stop at the filling station at the corner or at the Dairy Bar in Glen Lennox for ice cream or potato chips, and to browse the comics at George Harris’ pharmacy. Walking home usually felt very safe, although I clearly recall tension while walking home in October, 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We feared annihilation at any moment, and I felt especially vulnerable when outdoors, between the safe havens of school and home.

The Principal Of Glenwood Elementary School
Mr Kiddoo, the principal of Glenwood Elementary School in the 1956-1957 school year

The school was originally just one long corridor, with the principal’s office and library in the middle and a cafeteria on one end. Younger students were in classrooms at the back of the school, with individual bathrooms and doors that opened directly on the playground. Older classes got the front classrooms. It wasn’t fancy. The floors were green and beige linoleum squares. The custodian would clean them by sprinkling green pellets on the floor, then sweeping the pellets down the halls.

The playground was a large, raw space at the back of the school, with two broad terraces. Although a new primary wing cut into the playground area by 1959, we still had plenty of room for several simultaneous games of kickball. Kickball ruled the playground at recess, and the boys sometimes intimated any girls who tried to join the pickup games. Before school and during recess, we swarmed over the playground relatively unsupervised. We played jump rope, Chinese jump rope, hopscotch and dodge ball. There were usually several circles of kids playing marbles or jacks. We played marbles for “keepsies,” so you had to choose your opponents carefully or your marbles pouch would be empty quickly. During the hula hoop craze, a few of the girls were lucky to own one, which they brought to school to share at recess. Small groups gathered around each hula hoop bearer, all of us eagerly waiting for a shot at gyrating our hips and keeping the hoop going as long as possible. The best spinners could move the hoop from waist to knees, or waist to chest, then back again.


In February of 1952 the site is selected for new elementary school in Chapel Hill which would become Glenwood.

We wore “school clothes” and changed into play clothes when we got home. Girls wore skirts or dresses, often with a sash tied in the back. The skirts hung down over our heads when we hung from the jungle gym or did cartwheels. In cold weather, we were allowed to wear pants under our skirts, but girls were never allowed to wear pants alone. Boys usually wore shirts with collars and buttons rather than t-shirts. There were few t-shirts with any designs or lettering in those days, other than Carolina sweatshirts. Our shoes were usually leather lace-up saddle shoes, mary-janes or Weejun loafers (sometimes with a penny in the little cut-out on the strap). We carried our books in our arms or in satchels. Since we didn’t have backpacks, teachers would pin notes about PTA meetings or field trips to the coats or shirts of the younger children.

Charly Mann 2nd grade picture from Glenwood School

Glenwood Elementary School 2nd grade pictures,1957. Charles (Charly) Mann at 7 years old is on the top, and Joe Phillips is on the bottom.

Glenwood had six grades, 1-6. There was no kindergarten. The sixth grade was moved to Lincoln (the former black high school) in 1966 when the school system became fully integrated. Primary students were treated a little differently from the rest of the school. First graders got out of school earlier, and younger students took a brief afternoon nap, heads down on desks, room darkened – although I doubt if anyone ever slept. We would also bring in “milk money” for a morning snack of milk and crackers.

Glenwood School Cafeteria Line 1956
The cafeteria line at Glenwood Elementary School in 1956. Milk was the last thing everyone put on their plate.  After lunch you could go back into the cafeteria and get a piece cake.

No one went home for lunch. The cafeteria on the south side of the building served good hot lunches cooked in the kitchen. The cafeteria served some mystery meats, but there were also staples of old-style southern cooking, such as cornbread with honey and butter, collard greens, hot rolls, and white navy beans, into which we swirled excessive amounts of ketchup from squeeze bottles arranged up and down the long tables.

Mrs. Sarah West 3rd grade class 1959 Glenwood School
Mrs. West’s third grade class, December, 1959. Class members include: sitting: Prue Arndt, Robert Varley, Julia McCutcheon, Peter Kirkpatrick, Pad Wales, Bob Cherry, Dick Geary, Steve Piantadosi. Standing: Lane Crawford, Sally Geer, Louise Pettis, Stephanie Sugioka, Liv Taylor. Leslie Decker, Kathy Shinahan. Sarah Craige, Ditty Thibaut, Chris Hill, Brenda Marks, Jewel Hayman, Sarah Kreps, Biff Bream. Mollie Clark, Jack Spitznagel, Mrs. Sarah West, Ricky Barnett, Frieda Ellis.

We had excellent teachers at Glenwood and were held to high standards. Our strongest memories are of Mrs. Fitzgerald and Mrs. Glasser (first grade), Mrs. Mary Frances Green and Mrs. Coleman (2nd grade), Mrs. Sarah West and Mrs. Brown (3rd grade), Mrs. Pepper (4th grade), Mrs. Blaine (whose snowy white hair was often compared to George Washington’s wig) and Mrs. Dixie Weir (5th grade). Mr. Jerome Stern caused some excitement when he arrived to teach sixth grade, the only male teacher at Glenwood. Mrs. Barbara McCallister took some students for advanced math and reading in a make-shift classroom in the basement under the cafeteria. Many teachers stayed only a year or two while their husbands were in school, and any teacher who got pregnant resigned well before the pregnancy was visible.

 
1957 second grade classmates Glenwood Elementary School Chapel Hill, NC

Mr. Battle was the principal when I started school, and I remember him wandering around the building whittling on a piece of wood. It’s hard to imagine a principal carrying a knife around a school today! He was succeeded by Mrs. West.

There was no gym, music room or art room. Our classroom teachers taught PE, art and music. PE took the form of organized games, often played on the paved parking lot in front of the school. I remember a lot of dodge ball, red rover, and relay races. The teachers would name team captains, who would then call out their first choice, second choice, etc. while we all waited impatiently and probably heckled or cheered those who were chosen. We did have a special music teacher, the legendary Mrs. Adeline McCall, who would push her piano from room to room, always accompanied by a sock monkey puppet. Mrs. Weir started a popular chorus for boys and girls in the 5th grade.

The classrooms were plain, but teachers put up new decorative bulletin boards every month. The light fixtures were large light bulbs, surrounded by concentric metal rings. Teachers wrote on chalkboards, and it was a great privilege to be chosen to clean the erasers by clapping them together outside at the end of the day, creating a cloud of chalk dust. Teachers drew parallel lines for neat handwriting by sticking three pieces of chalk in a wooden holder. When that chalk squeaked, our teeth were set on edge. There was no air conditioning, of course, and the louvered windows were inadequate for ventilation, so the classrooms had large rotating fans. The windows also had long, long shades, and teachers used a pole with a nail in the end to pull them down.

Page from 1956 Dick and Jane book
This is from the Dick and Jane book every girl and boy in Chapel Hill learned to read from. In those days many thought little sister Sally was based on Sally Geer.

Wooden classroom desks were arranged in rows (not the clusters of desks kids use today). The desks had lids that raised to reveal a storage area, with a hole cut in the top for an inkwell. I don’t think anyone brought in bottles of ink! We used “fountain pens” with plastic ink cartridges, which were small cylinders that fit into the pen and were pierced when the nib was screwed back on. There was no public address system, and the only audio-visual tools were movie projectors and film strip projectors. Threading the film through the projectors and onto large metal spools was the height of technology. However, on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, Mrs. West set a small black and white TV set on a chair at one end of the lunchroom. 6th graders and their teachers sat together and watched the unfolding coverage of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Glenwood Elementary School Library 1956
Mrs. Peacock and students in Glenwood School Library 1957

I loved our library time in the Peter Garvin Library. Girls would race for the Nancy Drew mysteries when the class filed in the door, hoping to find one they hadn’t read yet. Other favorite series for girls were the Cherry Ames nursing books, the Bobbsey Twins, the Happy Hollisters, and for me, anything about dogs by Albert Payson Terhune. Many of us loved the set of orange biographies with silhouettes on the covers called Childhoods of Famous Americans (Amelia Earhart: Young Aviator; Davy Crockett: Young Rifleman). We also read Beverly Cleary (especially the Henry Huggins and Beezus and Ramona stories), and the stories about the inventions of Homer Price. Chapel Hill had no public library until 1958. My recollection is that the elementary school libraries were opened one day a week in the summer, so we could check out children’s books.

Dick and Jane Before We Read 1956
This is a 1956 Dick and Jane book which was read at Glenwood Elementary School in Chapel Hill

We learned to read with the Dick and Jane readers (Dick and Jack, Baby Sally, Spot and Puff). We also had a formal phonics program of mimeographed work sheets. Book reports and other “reports” started in the 3rd or 4th grade on topics such as Great Inventors. We used the World Book and other children’s encyclopedias for these reports, and we had to copy any illustrations and maps by hand since there were no copier machines. “My Weekly Reader” covered current events, such as the space race and news about the addition of two new states, Alaska and Hawaii (which required the country to adopt new flags in one year, first with 49 stars, then with 50). We also did a lot of memorization. We had to learn the Gettysburg Address for Mrs. Weir, and some of us memorized a poem a week in the sixth grade. We would recite a poem orally on one week. On alternate weeks, the poem had to be written out, including correct punctuation and spelling. We picked especially short poems on those weeks!

1958 Weekly Reader front page
1958 Weekly Reader featuring article on exploring the moon before the United States had even sent a rocket into space.

Because of the school connection with the UNC Education Department, we also got some interesting student teachers and some unusual and progressive programs. For example, my class went to the library in 5th or 6th grade for “speed reading” lessons, probably based on the work of Evelyn Wood. A machine projected text on the wall in chunks of words, which would gradually be speeded up until it looked like a blur.

Although we had traditional arithmetic, we also got “New Math.” No New Math textbooks were published yet, so we used draft books that had been typed and printed on cheap paper. As part of New Math, we learned to handle numbers in systems other than Base 10, which was a puzzle to our parents.

Second Grade 1958 Glenwood School
Mrs. Green’s second grade class, 1958 , Glenwood Elementary School. Class members shown include Julia McCutcheon, Prue Arndt, Bobby Andrews, Sally Geer, Ditty Thibaut, Bob Cherry. Second row  Mollie Clark, Sarah Craige, Stephanie Sugioka, Chris Hill, Sally Morgan, , Ricky Barnett. Billy Palladino,  Carol Mann, Claudia Harris, Robert Varley, Beth Crawford, Christy Prange, Peter Kirkpatrick.


We had some excellent hands-on experiential education as well. When Mrs. West’s third grade studied the pioneers, we made soap outside the classroom by dripping lye through ashes. Mrs. Pepper organized mock debates and voting for the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election. A 6th grade science experiment about water pressure ed in some flooding in Mr. Stern’s classroom.

We took field trips to the new Planetarium and to Raleigh. I seem to recall that we would take buses to the train station in Durham, then a short ride on a train to Pullen Park in Raleigh, where we would have a picnic. There was probably a visit to the Capitol or the NC Art Museum in there, too, but all I recall is the train and the park!

We also took an annual trip to hear the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra (led by Benjamin Swalin), either at Memorial Hall on the UNC campus, or the auditorium of the high school downtown. The program was called “Symphony Stories.” Mrs. Swalin would introduce the instruments and their sounds. A highlight of the concert was a song we would sing with the orchestra. I remember singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” at least a thousand times with Mrs. McCall, in preparation for the concert. Sometimes we learned pieces on plastic “tonettes” in preparation for playing along with the symphony.

 Mrs. Dann, Glenwood School Second Grade Teacher 1956
Mrs. Dann, Glenwood School second grade Elementary School teacher 1956-1957

The Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, one year after Glenwood opened, but Chapel Hill schools remained segregated until a progressive group was elected to the school board in 1961. Glenwood was integrated in the early 1960’s, belatedly but peacefully, beginning with first graders and a few older students whose parents requested assignment to Glenwood.

Mrs. Dann's Second Grade Class Glenwood School
Mrs Dann's Second Grade Class 1956-1957, Students include Elaine Blyth, Mike Fields, David Kohn, Charles (Charly) Mann, Kate Taylor, Nancy Nottinghan, Mike Earey, and Elizabeth Alden.

Every spring the school had a potluck picnic on the grass under the pine trees at the front of the school. All the families would gather and sit on blankets, and the younger siblings would get a look at the great school they would be attending. It was a terrific place to begin school, and a wonderful group of kids. We were proud of being at Glenwood, and felt like a real community.

Several people helped me in collecting these memories of Glenwood School: my sister Anne Geer, her husband David Scott, Frieda Ellis Harden, Laura Gaskin, and Nora Gaskin Esthimer. We all entered Glenwood between 1957 and 1960.

Pictures for this article supplied by Charly Mann and Sarah Geer

Comment
 
 

Comments:

Larry Holder      8:27 PM Tue 3/10/2015

I went to Glenwood from the 4th thru 6th grades. My favorite teacher was Mrs. George. At the time, the principal was Mrs. West. I remember that Mrs. George suggested a book in the library, "Alvin's Secret Code" by Clifford B. Hicks. It became not only my favorite book, but also was the earliest inspiration for my becoming a computer programmer, related to a fascination with codes and ciphers. I remember many games of dodge ball and 4-square during recess. I've reconnected with my best friend from 4th grade, Marcus Ollington. A few years ago, I also located Mrs. George (retired in Chattanooga TN) and was able to tell her "thank you" after all those years. I think she was then in her early 90's, so I am guessing she has passed away now, but I'm so thankful to have been able to locate her and tell her thank you for making such a difference.
 

John Floyd      2:03 PM Tue 12/2/2014

Wonderful piece about a special place. I went to Glenwood with Ann Geer, Sara's sister. I recall first being carpooled then graduating to walking to school with Matt Moffitt and Johnny Maxwell. Mrs. Blaine and Mrs. Green stand out as good teachers in my memory but we had a good group of quality young teachers as well. Big treat was to go to the Dairy Bar in Glen Lennox where ice cream was 5cents per scoop. Big adventure was crawling under the storm drain pipes around the neighborhood.

We later moved to Coker Hills so I could ride my bike to Guy B Phillips. Very glad to trade kickball, where I was never very good, for basketball. Perhaps it was a sign of the times but don't remember ever feeling unsafe or seeing any real violence during that period.
 

Sandy Smith Shepherd      1:06 PM Tue 2/11/2014

Although I did not attend the elementary school with you guys, I do remember quite a few names fro Guy B. Phillips and Chapel Hill High. I also fondly remember your mom, Sally, and the library on Franklin Street in the old house with the creaky floors and many rooms. Your mom taught me to love public libraries - so much so that I eventually got my MLS and actually worked with Laura Gaskin in Asheville for time. Walks down memory lane are sometimes fun and inspiring.
 

Shahane Taylor      9:11 PM Mon 12/16/2013

As I was reading down further on the site I saw a Susan Norwood. She last wrote on the site in 2010. I may remember her as Sally Norwood. She would have lived on Flemington Road. Does anyone know her email address. I would love to write to her. I left my email below but here it is again. shahanetaylor72@gmail.com. Thanks
 

Shahane Taylor      8:39 PM Mon 12/16/2013

I posted a comment earlier. I thought I had included my email address. It's shahanetaylor72@gmail.com. Thanks
 

Shahane Taylor      8:34 PM Mon 12/16/2013

I'm so glad I found this site that talks about Glenwood Elementary School. I went to Ms Coney's in 59-60 and started Glenwood in 1st grade during the 60-61 school year. I think my first grade teacher was Ms Cheek and it's getting tougher to remember but I think Ms James and Ms Knox were my 2nd and 3rd grade teachers. I remember Ms McCall also. Im getting to the point that I don't remember many classmates. We moved back to Greenboro in the summer of 63 after 3rd grade. We lived at 40 Flemington road in Glenn Lennox. Many great memories of childhood there. One of my good friends was Tony Norwood who was a year or two older. Tony had an older brother Jeff and a sister Sally and the oldest was Corky. I have no idea where any of them are now. Some of you on this site may know. Also the Fordhams were our neighbors in Glenn Lennox. Pam Fordham was a little older than me. If any of you know or knew any of these people please feel free to email me. Great memories if kickball and dodgeball on the playground at Glenwood. I also remember President Kennedy coming by the front of Glenwood shopping center in the bubble top limo on the way to give a speech at the university. A few of you have mentioned the Cuban Missile Crisis in 62. I remember how we all sat glued to the TV wondering what was going to happen. If I remember correctly we just had two channels WRAL in Raliegh and WTVD in Durham. I remember listening to WKIX in Raleigh for all that great music we grew up with. I do remember the filling station and the Dairy Bar. It was a very safe time. Our parents would let us off at the movie theatre downtown. I think there were 2. I went to see Premature Burial with Ray Milland and didn't sleep well for a few weeks! We'd watch Ozzie and Harriet, 77 Sunset Strip, Donna Reed, Bonanza and all those great old shows. Thanks for letting me stroll down memory lane a little. If any of you were at Glenwood during these years please email me. Thanks
 

Kathleen Yonce      1:16 PM Sat 11/9/2013

In Mrs. West's 3rd grade class picture, I see me peeking through between Lane Crawford and Sally Geer, two of my very best Glenwood friends! Love all the memories -- amazing what it triggers.
Kathleen "Kathy" Yonce

 

ellensandifer51      2:04 PM Fri 2/22/2013

It has been such a pleasure to find this website. I am Ellen Sandifer Bubenhofer, and I lived in Chapel Hill from the time I was four until we moved to Raleigh at the beginning of fifth grade. I’m a bit late in discovering this website, but I hope some of you might still be reading.

To Sally and those who posted comments, you have triggered so many wonderful memories, and I remember a number of you. I went to the Little Red School House (I still remember the first lines of the school song, “In the Little Red School House, With our book and slate.”), Mrs. Coney’s kindergarten and first grade, and Glenwood Elementary. Working backwards from when I graduated high school, I think I entered Glenwood in the 1957-58 school year. I had one of those weird birthdays that would have made me an older first grader, and my parents started me at Mrs. Coney’s school. As I was pretty ill during that time and doctors were considering major surgery (which fortunately, didn’t happen), I started at Glenwood in Mrs. Fitzgerald’s first grade. I’m really confused when I look at the picture of Mrs. Green’s second grade because I remember so many of you, but I may have been in the class behind the one pictured. I remember having a number of friends in the class ahead of me, especially among the girls, but I could be the girl on the back row on the left end. I’m just not sure… Besides the girls, I remember Billy Arthur, Rusty Meade, Hugh Taylor, George Cox and Fred Fuller usually being in my classes (I took dance from George’s mother!), and Jeanie Spitznagel was one of my good friends. I haven’t seen her pictured or mentioned here, but I remember Jeanie fondly and somewhere along the line, I saw a picture of her brother, Jack. Fred Fuller: If you read this or someone is still in contact with you, your birthday was November 4th and mine was on the 5th, so at school, our birthdays were usually celebrated together. I actually still think about you on November 4th! I look at the calendar and say, “Somewhere, it’s Fred Fuller’s birthday!” Does anyone remember when Rusty Meade decided that he wanted to be called “Walter” and pinned a headline he’d cut out of a newspaper that read, “My name is ‘Walter?’” Funny how things stick in your head… I remember Walter Gottschalk and his father being a collector of butterflies. Believe it or not, a story appeared in our paper in Louisville when Dr. Gottschalk passed away. I also remember James Taylor being perpetually in the hallway outside Mrs. West's classroom door, and Hugh taking this in delight as we walked to the lunchroom. I think Liv was the middle brother, and I actually saw a book he'd written in our vet's office in Lexington, Kentucky. Maybe, "Can I be Good?"

Here are some of the other memories that were triggered in my finding this site:

Stephanie Sugioka, I still have a picture of you, your brother, Colin, and me in your yard, and I remember my mother and me frequently visiting your home. If you’re reading, you had a red cape that was either attached or you wore over your coat!

Christy, I remember being in Mrs. Coney’s school with you and your mother’s pottery. I still have a jelly jar she made (Perfection! The lid is an exact fit.) and our making coil pots and slab boxes at your house. In those days, children didn't always attend funerals, and I think I stayed with your family when my grandfather died. I remember Sally being your mother’s name, but didn't you also have a sister “Sally?”

Ellie, our third grade teacher was Miss Sutherland and she got married over Christmas, becoming Mrs. Griest. I remember being so disappointed when I wasn’t assigned to Mrs. West’s third grade, but you’re right: Mrs Griest was a wonderful teacher, and I have fond memories of being in her classroom. I actually remember your teaching long division and being grateful it wasn’t me! Remember the rubber band planes we got to shoot on Fridays if we’d been good?

In fourth grade, I was in Mrs. Tuttle’s class who, thankfully, was left handed as I am. I credit her for my handwriting not looking like it was done by a contortionist. Elaine Blythe, I remember you being in that class, and we were in a tiny classroom that was across from the principal’s office.

To be a little off the subject of "schools," we lived on Ridgefield Road, and of those pictured or mentioned here, I remember Prudent Arndt and Mike Earey from that neighborhood. The Youngs, Hammers, Flynns and others were among our neighborhood pack, and we used to do weekend “capture” chases, the boys against the girls. Alvin Whittinghill lived on Ridgefield and I remember him playing “Auld Land Syne” in our yard one New Year’s night. My father streaked out the door in his pajamas and green seersucker bathrobe to chase him away!

Sally I remember you and your sister, Anne, and from your lovely article, I remember Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff (and Alice and Jerry in the older readers), being happy when Mrs. Mc Call rolled her piano into our class room, dancing to the “Syncopated Clock,” the squeaky chalk and it’s holder, and even, the janitor’s green crystals! Your details about the light fixtures and shade pulls are so real to me, and besides your recollections, I remember being excited when the school introduced lefthanded desks. As you’ve described, it was a special treat when my mother would let me bring my hula hoop to school, and the annual Glendover picnic is an event I remember fondly. Jim, I remember the stories about Mr. Battle’s “Spanking Machine,” and I even remember a version that involved rusty nails sticking through the paddle! Mr. Battle was really such a nice man, and I remember his stopping to talk to us, widdling away on his stick.

Sally, thank you so much for writing this article about our days at Glenwood, and Charlie, I can’t say I remember you but I wish I could! You’ve put together such a lovely and entertaining website. In addition to the stories and pictures, I’ve really enjoyed the music. After Chapel Hill and Raleigh, our family moved outside New York City to Tenafly, New Jersey and settled in Lexington, Kentucky. For the past twelve years, I’ve been in Louisville with my husband of 38 years and our daughter lives in New York City. I’m visiting Chapel Hill next weekend, and this website is going to make my trip so much better! You have triggered so many wonderful memories

Fondly (and I hope I haven't gone too far beyond a "comment," but I couldn't help myself!),

Ellen
 

Pris McCorquodale Phillips      10:11 PM Fri 8/12/2011

I went to prep school with Nancy Nottingham and saw a picture about halfway through this with her name on it. Her Father was Charlie and ran a hotel in Chapel Hill as I recall, back in the day. Does anyone know whatever happened to Nancy? None of us who were in high school with her have been able to find her. Please feel free to write me at pmp@sc.rr.com if you know how to contact her. Thanks so much!
 

Katy Pace Byrd      2:29 PM Thu 6/16/2011

Sarah Geer's recollections of elementary school years in Chapel Hill were delightful to read. I remember "Sally" and her beautiful mother from school, Scouts, and the public library. My mother Betsy Pace, my sister Shannon and I moved to Chapel Hill--or in my mother's case, back to Chapel Hill, since she had lived and worked there in the 1940s--in summer 1961. I went to Estes Hills for the 5th grade that first school year (61-62) and Glenwood for 6th grade (62-63). Compared to the children of New Bern, where I had come from, and considering that I was a year younger than most of the children in our class, all seemed very sophisticated and knowing to me. My first clue that I was in a different social milieu was Divvie Powell surveying the students in Miss McLeod's 5th grade as to whether they would be taking "social" from Mrs. Bagby. I was very embarassed when she got to my desk, because I had no idea what she was talking about.

At Glenwood, I remember the torture of reciting aloud from memory the weekly poem, but in fact, retain portions of Longfellow's "The Children's Hour" and Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" to this day, so maybe the pain of having to stand up in front of the class was worth it!

The students of Estes Hills and Glenwood all ended up together for 7th grade in the brand new Guy B. Phillips Junior High School, of course, and it was during that year (63-64) that we lived through the assassination of President Kennedy. I remember being in French class in the afternoon and our teacher, a pretty young graduate student wife named Jane Atchison, being summoned into the hall. She returned to stand in front of us with tears in her blue eyes and give us the horrible news. I think we may have all been taken to the cafeteria then, to watch televisions that had been brought in.

The next year (8th grade, 64-65) was the first year I had ever been to the same school two years in a row, and for me, that was welcome continuity. A new English teacher, Miss Stein, announced to our class that she was from "Big D, where they got one and should have got two." It took some of us a little while to figure out what she meant. She was a horror as a teacher, and thankfully, did not return after that year. I have always wondered about what the parents may have said or done to get rid of her.

Chapel Hill in the 1960s was a rich, challenging, turbulent environment in which to grow up. I have always been glad of the experience, though I often felt different from and less capable than my classmates. That was not their fault--it was a highly intelligent, talented and creative bunch, and everyone was navigating that decade of change in his or her own way.

Thanks again to Sarah Geer and the other contributors for sharing so many fabulous details of that time!

Katy Pace Byrd
Lakeland, Florida
 

Shimou Lu      8:08 PM Sun 5/1/2011

I went to Glenwood now(2011). Um....... Now Glenwood's Playground, Creative is better then 1956. Ms. Randby/ Ms.Ouyang is our teacher.

I read this article and I did read about the OLDER Glenwood it's pretty intersting(To me......) and Mrs.West is still in our school right now.

You guys may visit our school any time, address is: 2 Prestwick Rd, Chapel Hill,NC 27517-4428.

Plus Mr.Battle is still pretty funny right now, and Mrs.West. I guess...... All the teacher?

I Love Glenwood!
 

Larry Holder      9:26 PM Tue 8/10/2010

I went to Glenwood, then Guy B. Phillips Jr High (before moving to Memphis mid-7th grade in 1972). My favorite teacher, Mrs. George (4th grade) introduced me to a book "Alvin's Secret Code" by Clifford B. Hicks, which started up my interest in codes and ciphers, leading eventually to a career in computers. My best friend from 4th grade, Marcus Ollington, is now a cartographer in Texas. I lived at 706 Churchill Drive, back when they were building a whole bunch of new houses further up the street. We'd collect the coke bottles and cash them in for about 3 cents each. Several Catholic families in the neighborhood, with big families, so getting a game of touch football started in the street was easy. Halloween was great for kids there, too; you could fill up a large grocery bag with goodies back then.
 

Christy Prange Rappoport      10:35 AM Mon 7/19/2010

What an excellent compilation of memories, pictures, and history! I attended Mrs. Coney's School in KG and 1st grades, Glenwood 2 - 4, Lowes Grove (Durham County) in 5th, Estes Hills in 6th, Guy B Phillips 7 - 9, CHHS 10 & 11, and (!) Greenacre School for Girls (Banstead, England) in 12. Elementary memories are by far the fondest and least complicated! I was an academic slacker (well, underachiever anyway!) until I hit midlife, but I can certainly recall Mrs. West's adamant requirement for completing all work and doing it neatly, to boot!

Thank you, Sarah and Charly!
 

Brenda Marks Eagles      9:38 AM Tue 7/6/2010

Sally, I remember playing over at your house on Oakwood. It seems like a lifetime ago, as indeed it was. Thanks for the memories!
 

elisabeth davis wharton      9:03 PM Tue 6/29/2010

Thank you for the wonderful article. My brother and sister and I all went through Glenwood 1-6. I had Mrs. Weir for the 5th grade - the best teacher I have ever had, hands down, and I am now 47 years old. Mrs. Weir ran a tight ship - she had 2 lines to walk everyone - one boys and one girls. She made EVERYONE take a test at the end of the year where you had to write all the state capitols and state names on a blank map. And, everyone else had "Social Studies", but if you had Mrs. Weir, you had "History, Geography and Geology". I still know more about the Spanish Conquistadors than most people, because of that wonderful teacher. She scared us all to death, but the woman MADE you learn.

Mrs. Sarah West was principal then, and Mrs. Hines the librarian. I still have many friends who were in my first grade class. I also have very fond memories of the "Glenwood Picnic" every year. All the families would come, and it was a really big deal for everyone - happy, happy memories.

Thanks for sharing how things were in the very beginning.
 

Susan Fisher      7:20 PM Mon 6/14/2010

What a great site! Sally, your memory is amazing. I must be about a year older than you; I started first grade at Glenwood in 1956. I lived on Oakwood Dr. and it was a good little walk to and from school. And, yes, I certainly did stop at the Dairy Bar and the drugstore (for comics) on my way home.

I loved Mrs. West - one of my all-time favorite teachers. She let us paint and do many creative projects and I especially loved making puppets for Scheherazade. She also allowed me to choreograph a dance to music from it and I performed it with Stuart Tolley in our unique telling of one of the famous tales. I, too, remember Mrs. McCall, the music teacher,who used to let us push back our desks, take off our shoes and socks, and dance to Leroy Anderson's "The Syncopated Clock" & "The Typewriter." I was a dancer at Barbara Bounds dance studio and my friend and fellow dancer, Valerie Diebler and I competed to see if we would be the last student to be tapped to sit down. I, too, loved the annual concert that the symphony let us participate in; it was a highlight of each year for me.

I saw Brooke Barnes' name in the comments. Her younger sister, Ricky, was a friend of mine. They also lived on Oakwood Drive. I had fresh pineapple for the first time at their house - it was a bit more unusual back in the fifties.

I was surprised to see how many people I recognized in the picture with Nancy Nottingham (a very vivacious redhead). It wasn't my own class group, but I knew many of the people in the photo from other years and my neighborhood, like Ann Hunt (very wiry and athletic with white-blond hair) and Ann Blythe (who had a laundry shoot at her house we found fascinating when she had a slumber party).

My closest friends were Patty Swan, Susan Jane Curtis, Karen Locke, and Ann Carson (who came late in my time at Glenwood), and also Valerie Diebler and Cathy Cummings, both of whom I shared a tent with at girl scout camp. I also fondly remember Bob Brashear who had a deep love of snakes and spiders and brought them to class for all to look at; Jeannie Sparrow, who lived on a real farm; Anis Arthur and Dockery Roberts, who were both very popular; and Muffie Sprunt , because who could ever forget her name! I also remember Jaime Burnett (we both took acting with Louise Lamont) and Jane West (Mrs. West's daughter and she was in my girl scout troop) very well and many others.

I moved away from Chapel Hill the summer after my 5th grade year with Mrs. Blaine (1961). I have always missed the place I lived as a child and eventually came to live in another town closely affiliated with a major university (Ann Arbor). My kids grew up having some of the same kind of advantages we all had in Chapel Hill and I was glad of it.

My best to you all,

Susan Fisher (who used to have a blond ponytail)


 

Brook Barnes Foltz      12:38 AM Sat 3/20/2010

To Bob Easter, are you by ANY chance related to Francis Easter??? He was in my class at Glenwood and I would love to know how he is.

Charly, this site is magical. Thank you so much for all your hard work.
I, too, remember walking home from downtown Chapel Hill on the path below the Gimghoul Castle. Those days were SO different. Free. Safe. Kind. And Chapel Hill was a wonderful place to grow up. I wouldn't walk on that path alone now for anything!
 

Brook Barnes Foltz      12:28 AM Sat 3/20/2010

Mrs. West was my third grade teacher and the best teacher I had in all my years in Chapel Hill. Whatever we studied came to life in her room. We studied Indians who lived in pueblos that year, so she had us push all our desks back against the walls and we built a huge pueblo out of stacked cardboard boxes right in the middle of the room. That pueblo became our pueblo, we became the indians who lived there, all because of her imagination and enthusiasm.

Mrs. West would come out at recess and sit on the little brick wall as the Recess Monitor. That year "Flying Purple People Eater" was popular and a group of us taught her that song. She came down to our level and became our friend during recess, which was a very precious thing for her to do. She a wonderful teacher as well as a very kind person. I have never forgotten the warm feeling we all got just being together in her room.

I also remember Miss Adelaide McCall very well. Her grandaughter, Tricia Koch, was in our class, so we felt like Miss McCall was our special teacher. We would have music expression time in the cafeteria, and she would make us put imaginary rubber bands around our hands and move in time of the music. She rolled that piano right into the cafeteria.

Last but certainly not least is my memory of being a Junior Fire Marshall. I remember doing that for at least two years. The offer was this: whoever would (bravely) agree to be the last person in the room during a fire drill and make sure the windows and the door were closed, would get free movie passes to The Carolina and The Varsity for the whole year.

That was just great...until one weekend, my father happened to pay attention to what was on at the movies. When he discovered "Susan Slade" on at The Carolina and "Splendor In The Grass" on at The Varsity, my free movie pass became a whole lot less free.

I have missed Chapel Hill so much and am truly thankful for this wonderful site. Everyone is doing such a great job with their fantastic memories and precious pictures!
 

Nancy Preston Cherry      3:51 PM Mon 3/15/2010

Correction to my comment:
Uncle Charlie-not Uncle Henry and Roberta or Robert:)
 

Martha Schutz      2:17 PM Tue 2/2/2010

By the time I entered Glenwood, in 1968, as a third grader, Mrs. West had become the school prinicipal! She was aunt to my classmate, Suzette Holbrook, another resident of Greenwood.

In those pre-gymnasium days, we performed our small plays and took music class in the cafeteria. When we performed a full sixth-grade musical, The Sound of Music, in spring 1972, we made use of the Carrboro Elementary School auditorium. The legendary Chapel Hill teacher, Terry Greenlund, taught sixth grade that year.

A notable fourth-grade field trip was made to the Liggett-Meyers tobacco factory in Durham, where we watched the cigarette rolling machines and inhaled the fragnant fresh tobacco that permeated the entire city block. Fortunately, this trip has been replaced by wonderful trips made since 2000 to the Chapel Hill Museum-- for a Fire Safety program in the second grade; and a Paul Green's Lost Colony program in the fourth.

In 2003 Glenwood celebrated its 50th anniversary with a sock hop and root-beet float party. Principal Gail Turner sported a poodle skirt, and fifth graders shagged to the sounds of the fifties!

Though the library is now called a "Media Center" and a blacktop intrudes on the playground's abundance of honeysuckle, the diverse and intimate atmosphere of the school has prevailed, and it has been almost as much of a delight to be a Gator parent as to have been an elementary student at Glenwood.



 

Nancy Preston Cherry      5:23 PM Sat 1/30/2010

My brothers, Mike and Andy, attended Glennwood, but I started first grade at Estes Hills in 1960. Oddly enough, Raymond Kiddoo, Principal at Glenwood, was a "foster" brother of my mother, and I grew up knowing him and all of his family. His wife, Lib, is still living and does so in California. Ben Battle, who came after Kiddoo, was our next door neighbor in Lake Forest (the "first side with its dirt roads and Uncle Henry and Roberts's cabin at the "entrance") , and our families were very close friends. We made many trips to Cullowhee after the battles left CH to return to his homeplace and become a member of the faculty at WCU..

 

Barbara Tyroler      4:37 PM Sat 1/30/2010

You guys were so adorable!!
Sarah, thanks for doing this.
Let's do try to find some more pix..

Barbara
 

Barbara Tyroler      4:33 PM Sat 1/30/2010

Great memories.
We arrived in Chapel Hill from Asheville by way of New York City and Florida and settle into Estes Hills Elementary. Wonderful memories and I love looking at all the faces of the Glenwood crew!
BarbaraT
 

Ellie Vernon Altman      12:13 PM Sun 1/24/2010

Sarah, thank you. This brings back a flush of wonderful memories. I don't think I could ever tire of reminiscing about these days. I don't remember wearing anything but canvas shoes, Kids, year round until we were in junior high. No one was rich or poor, we just were and all our needs were taken care of.

And the train ride to Pullen Park and the Natural History Museum also remain one of the most vivid memories of my youth. Once I saw the caged monkey in Pullen Park, I wanted to have a monkey of my own. I imagined this unisex monkey that never deficated would live comfortably under my bed and be a perfect companion.

I didn't have Mrs. Green or Mrs. Blaine for teachers, but they both had reputations of being wonderful teachers.

I only remember Mrs. West as our principal.

Do you remember the annual school picnic and the fire drills?

I wish I could remember my 3rd grade teacher's name. I learned so much from her. Arithmetic was my strong suit so she gave me the chance to teach the entire class long division. Don't know that I was good at this task, but I enjoyed doing it.

Ellie



 

R. Barnes      6:47 PM Fri 1/22/2010

Would you be interested in posting other class photos from Glenwood? I have some from 1966 to 1970.
 

Nancy Vernon      2:36 PM Thu 1/21/2010

Sally, good job. Jim V forwarded it to me via Anne. Of course, I was looking for Ellie but was happy to settle for lots of "kids" I knew and still know.
Could pick out a lot -- starting with Liv and Julie McC. I remember your house on Oakwood and, of course, your parents. Good to have Anne and David here.
 

Cathy Shannon      8:26 AM Tue 1/19/2010

Thank you Sarah and Chapel Hill Memories for this wonderful piece. I started Glenwood in 1962 and I do not recall we were lucky enough to enjoy the train trip you describe. You have really captured the essence of my elementary school years, and the pictures make it come alive. The Weekly Reader, as I recall, had more depth and was better written than most newspapers today.

Sarah please continue this series with an article on Guy B Phillips.

 

Sarah Geer      9:25 PM Mon 1/18/2010

Billy,
Yes, my mother was Betty Geer, the librarian at the original CH Public Library. I hope someone will do a piece about that library. Chapel Hill had no public library until around 1959. It opened in a small apartment at 115 W. Franklin, and books were stacked in every room, including the bathroom. There are many great stories about that building, and the tenants who shared it. Are you the tenant who drove the converted hearse? Eventually the library took over 4 or 5 apartments, until the lovely new building was built.
 

Billy Wilson      8:06 PM Mon 1/18/2010

By any chance is Sarah Geer related to the Mrs. Geer who ran the public library downtown next to the Baptist Church? Do you have a photo of that building? There were apartments upstairs where I lived for a year while at UNC.
 

A classmate of Sally in Mrs. West 3rd grade class      3:34 PM Mon 1/18/2010

I remember that at Glenwood in the late 1950s the realities of social interaction and popularity. In early grades I was popular and had more friends that at any time in my life, later on things got more complicated. I began getting rejected, first because of my athletic ability and later for not being able to fit in with the clothing look and social norms of other students. Life began getting hard and I saw other kids like me just dropping out and becoming misfits. Few of those kids ever recovered in later life from their outcast status.

After leaving Chapel Hill for about a decade and going to several schools in other states I found that other kids were more accepting of differences than at Glenwood. The groups I hung out with were far more diverse economically and culturally, and I think I am much better for it.

 

Bill Baggett      2:58 PM Mon 1/18/2010

Thanks for the article.

I remember well watching about the Kennedy Assasination on TV at Glenwood Shool. One of those moments where you always know where you were.
 

Tim Collins      12:11 PM Mon 1/18/2010

I came across this article while doing research on the Dick and Jane books. This is a very useful article for a research paper I am writing at Stanford, and hope you will allow me to use a few excerpts and photos. I will credit and source the article and website.
 

Doug Lorie      11:31 AM Mon 1/18/2010

Great Project, Sally. I still haven't finished, but since I'm an Estes Hills Alum I won't remember the teachers or the school. I do, however, know many of the students who would become my friends at Guy B Phillips Jr. High. I do remember thinking that Glenwood kids were rich and priviledged. I wonder how y'all felt about yourselves and had any class awareness. Marc McCook transferred late from Glenwood to Estes Hills..was it 5th grade?..I can't remember, except he was this gorgeous, natural athlete who I envied and admired, not just for his looks, but for the way he could kick a kickball out of the park and do this amazing kind of spitting with his curled up, rigid tongue. BTW, I learned how to drive a straight/stick shift car in the parking lot of Glenwood. Mollie Clarke's dad took us out in their Volkswagon and in about an hour I got it. Thrilling!
 

Chip Harris      10:20 AM Mon 1/18/2010

From my experience going to Glenwood in the 1970s and reading this article I was wondering if there is a list of principals of the school. It seems that the principal turnover was very high, and might average a new one every three years. I would also be interested in knowing what the average tenure of a teacher there was.

Does anyone know a teacher who taught there for more than 15 years?
 

Jim Baucom      10:06 AM Mon 1/18/2010

Remember Mr. Battles spanking machine? No one ever saw it, but the fear was there!
 

Nora Gaskin Esthimer      9:50 AM Mon 1/18/2010

Thanks to Sarah for refreshing memories and to Charly for the forum.
 

Susan Norwood      8:39 AM Mon 1/18/2010

Thanks for this reminder. I attended third through sixth grade at Glenwood from 1959 to 1962. Your article really captures so much about what made this a wonderful place and time. One thing that we often forget is that we all had so much in common. Almost all our parents were new to Chapel Hill, arriving in the late 40s or early 50s, and everyone was living in new neighborhoods, even our school was brand new. Our parents and our generation redefined Chapel Hill and had much to do with what it is today.
 

Bob Easter      10:00 PM Sun 1/17/2010

Thanks for such a great piece. I had Mrs. West as my sixth grade teacher. Her husband ran the Monogram Club, and they lived on Christopher Road in Greenwood. They had two children, a son Tom, and a daughter Jane.

The train ride from downtown Durham to Pullen Park in Raleigh was indeed magical. I do not think there was an Art Museum in Raliegh then, but we did go to an early version of the Natural Science Museum.
 

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Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.

 

 

What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.

-- Charles Kuralt

 

 

Dark Side of the Hill -- Pink Floyd, the creators of the most popular album in history, Dark Side of the Moon, took the second half of their name from Floyd Council, a Chapel Hill native, and great blues singer and guitarist. He once belonged to a group called "The Chapel Hillbillies".

 

 

Check out Charly Mann's other website:
Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies

http://oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com

 



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There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.

 

 

The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.

 

 

 

 

The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.

 

 

 

 

William Ackland left his art collection and $1.25 million to Duke University in 1940 on the condition that he would be buried in the art museum that the University was to build with his bequest. Duke rejected this condition even though members of the Duke Family are buried in Duke Chapel. What followed was a long and acrimonious legal battle between Ackland relatives who now wanted the inheritance, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina, each attempting to receive the funds. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in 1949 UNC was awarded the money for the museum. Ackland is buried near the museum's entrance. When the museum first opened, in the early sixties, there were rumors that his remains were leaking out of the mausoleum.

 

 

The official name of the Arboretum on the University of North Carolina campus is the Coker Arboretum. It is named after Dr. William Cocker, the University's first botany professor. It occupies a little more than five acres. It was founded in 1903.

 

 

Chapel Hill's main street has always been called Franklin Street. It was named after Benjamin Franklin in the early 1790s.

 

 



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Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill Junior High were on Franklin Street in the same location as University Square until the mid 1960s.

 

 

The Colonial Drug Store at 450 West Franklin Street was owned and operated by John Carswell. It was famous for a fresh-squeezed carbonated orange beverage called a "Big O". In the early 1970s, I managed the Record and Tape Center next door, and must have had over 100 of those drinks. The Colonial Drug Store closed in 1996.

 

 

Sutton's Drugstore, which opened in 1923, has one of the last soda fountains in the South. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Franklin Street that was in operation when I was growing up in the 1950s.

 

 

Future President Gerald Ford lived in Chapel Hill twice. First when he was 24, in 1938, he took a law couse in summer school at UNC. He lived in the Carr Building, which was a law school dormitory. At the same time, Richard Nixon, the man he served under as Vice President, was attending law school at Duke. In 1942, Ford returned to Chapel Hill to attend the U.S. Navy's Pre-Flight School training program. He lived in a rental house on Hidden Hills Drive.

 

 

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