By Horace E. Hobbs
Hampton Union, September 28, 1983
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Grades four and five in the 12-year public school system were called “intermediate” in 1912 and were housed in the so-called East End School in Hampton. To me, the school was “intermediate;” not much is remembered about it. The one teacher that I remember here was Miss Alice L. Beane from North Conway. Perhaps I remember her because North Conway seemed a long way off in those days.
Grade six through eight were located in the Centre School, upstairs. We were “elevated” above the first graders downstairs where we had begun school. The two-story white wooden building sat where the present Centre School is located. It was like coming back home to return to the building where our school days began.
The principal of our grammar school was Mary Elizabeth Carey Pollard. In 1912, she was tall, lean and lanky. She was a strong disciplinarian when she was around the building, but when, at noon, she walked across the field to have luncheon at her boarding house (the Dearborns), things went on at the school that you do not write about. It does not seem possible that so good a disciplinarian would leave the school with no one ostensibly in chare and the pupils free to do as they pleased after eating lunch. The “doings” were dubious.
Other teachers that I remember were the Locke sisters, Julia and Harriet. Their mother was my Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Martha Locke.
I am sure that the school was called “grammar” because that was the stress of our education there. The book, a thick green one, was called “Mother Tongue.” The training that I received at this time in reading, writing and speaking have been most helpful to me during my lifetime.
Another appreciation that I have is that of music. There was an itinerant teacher who served several schools, Mr. Carl Akeley. There was a grand square piano in our large classroom, which included most of the second story. Mr. Akeley would play for us to sing, and, because of the classroom’s structure, he had no trouble in watching his large class. I don’t think that he knew, nor would he have appreciated, the fact that once a week, his piano was used for fingernail inspection. In this exercise, the teacher would have small groups come up and place both hands flat down on the smooth top of the “|Grand Piano,” while their nails were inspected for dirt, hangnails and cuticle.
Along health lines, physiology was one of our subjects. I remember the grey book by Woods Hutchinson which advised, “Never put anything in your ears that is smaller than your elbow.” This was of special significance to those whose mother’s hobby was clean ears; “Are your ears clean?”