My Memories of Rison by Ann Schrimsher Franklin
While working on the Rison-Dallas website, I oftentimes looked at a picture of Rison School and remembered. In today’s computer age technology, one can go to a website, click on either a picture or a subject, and “enter” that site. I asked myself, “If I could enter the hallways of the old Rison School of my youth, what would I see?”
So, that’s what I’ll do – I’ll mentally enter Rison School and see what I will see.
o Under a spreading chestnut-tree
o The village smithy stands;
o The smith, a mighty man is he,
And so forth.
The most difficult poem for me to learn was The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe. It was,
upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'
And so forth.
Can’t you just see and hear Miss Monroe dramatizing this poem in a loud voice?
Miss Monroe could lose herself in these poems and seemed to transport herself to wherever the poetry would take her. While I thought that it was somewhat strange at the time, over the years I have learned to appreciate poetry even though I probably would be no better at memorization than I was then.
· Moving on from Miss Monroe’s classroom I’ll veer slightly left, walk into the auditorium and reflect on the many hours that I spent there.
o There was the first-thing-in-the-morning assembly time when Mr. Fain told us whatever it was that he needed to say that day. There was little noise in the auditorium; all Mr. Fain had to do was to walk into a room and there was an immediate hush. Was it respect or was it fear? Probably some of both.
o I remember the many operettas that we had, many in which I participated – ‘never the star!
o There were the during-school-time shows by a magician or a yo-yo expert or some other talent. It cost us a small fee to see the show.
o I remember winning a speaking contest about “Fighting Infantile Paralysis,” and I remember the speech to this day. ‘Don’t remember the award, just that I won. Bud Adcock helped me write the speech.”
o I was a cheerleader during my sophomore and junior years, something that I enjoyed very much. I didn’t try out for cheerleader in my senior year because by that time I was “in love” and had better things to do. I married that love, William Edward Franklin, in February of my senior year. Ed had the privilege of signing my report card at least once! As a parent, I would have been upset had one of my children married at such a young age.
o Outside the auditorium, turning left, to the right, was our senior class sponsor, Mrs. Velma Hanvey, a very expressive lady, very dramatic, with big eyes. She seemed to enjoy spending time with the senior girls in our class. At recess, lunchtime, or other down times, she would sit at her desk with some of us girls sitting around her listening to her “life stories.” We hung onto her every word. One story that she shared with us was that when her husband touched her on a certain place on her back she would just melt. As she told the story, she shuddered and rolled her eyes. Well, after I married, I told my husband about her story; we never did find that spot on my back! Years later when I saw Mrs. Hanvey, I recalled the story that she had told us and she said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about!” Oh well.
o Now for some random memories in elementary grades:
§ Going down to the SW part of the yard to hide behind a big tree near Oakwood Avenue, ashamed to let someone see me eat a sausage and biscuit for recess. Most of the other kids had snacks like cookies or peanut butter and crackers. How times change.
§ Volunteering to lead singing in my class and the first song that the teacher chose was the National Anthem. I pitched it too high and the teacher said, “Sit down; you can’t sing!” Poor little girl.
§ Being selected to sing the song, “I’m a Little Teapot” with two other girls, Connie Fisher and June Fitch. When we came to the part, “though since then…” I could never get it right because I didn’t know what a “thoughsensethen” was!
§ Taking notes to a male teacher from a teacher whom I adored, Helen Mathison, and feeling special for the privilege.
§ Asked to read aloud for a teacher who had laryngitis and pronounced the name of a type of road, “ma-cad-am” “MAC a dam,” that made the teacher laugh in a squeaking sound.
Well, my visit to Rison School is over; I’ve enjoyed the visit. I didn’t recall all of my memories; ‘think I’ll save them for another time.
I’m just sorry that I can’t actually enter the halls of the school and take off my shoes and socks and walk those well-oiled wooden floors; I wouldn’t even mind seeing the black on the bottoms of my feet.
I’m sorry that I can’t hear the school bell ring and see if I could once again fit into one of the school desks.
I’m sorry that there are people whom I will never see again.
I’m glad that I have the memories of the school – even the smells from the oiled floors.
I’m glad that great lessons were learned from the experiences in Rison School.
I’m glad that I am who I am and that I’ve never been ashamed to say, “I grew up in Dallas Village!”