Mercer School

Mercer Elementary School sat on Quarrier St next door to the YWCA.



My First Grade Class with Miss Burke in 1957/58.  I visited her throughout the years until her death



My Third Grade Class with Mrs Lampton 1959/60   (WONDERFUL teacher)


My Fourth Grade Class with Mrs Ferguson in 1960/61   (This is when things really got serious)



Two of my favorite memories of Mercer School was Miss Bessie Stewart reciting the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Mercer at Christmas.  Here's how it worked: Miss Stewart would call each class in one at a time. We would sit on the floor and listen to the story.  However, it was the little tree that she had decorated with hanging gum drops that kept us quiet, no matter how many times we had heard the story. (and we heard it every single year)   At the base of the tree was a large area full of gum drops.  After the story, we were allowed to pick up all the candy that one hand could hold.  (probably a great way to transmit disease)  We loved Miss Stewart because even though she was made of old fashioned stern stuff,  we knew that given respect, she was both fair and kind.

The other thing was Mercer at Christmas!  We had a HUGE tree in the middle of the great hallway, beautifully decorated.  Every class would surround the tree and sing a song.  Naturally the sixth graders were much better than say... the second graders, and we were always jealous.  Christmas in grade school was as normal as the As-Bs-Cs,  and we had a completely different outlook on our elders and authorities than most kids today.   It was called... respect.  The following article appeared in 1959.  I would have been in 3rd grade.

Mercer School

The Great Dynamite Disaster...

The strangest story ever told from Mercer Elementary School has to be the following:

I had a friend who's father was a gynecologist. ( both my friend one of his sisters appear in one of the photos above.)   We were in second grade at the time,  and my friend found a box of tampons "somewhere" in the house.  ( His fathers office was also the house they lived in).

So my friend brings a box of tampons to school, having NO idea what they were.  He THOUGHT they were play dynamite!   To us, they LOOKED like
dynamite what with the fuse hanging out and all.....  

So he passed out all the "
dynamite" to about 6 of us and we started playing WAR on the playground at recess.  We threw the dynamite at each other as far as we could, making loud explosion sounds when they hit the ground. BOOM!.. we'd yell.  This went on for maybe 3 minutes when one of the sticks landed  directly at the feet of the fourth grade teacher.  Her eyes got big as tennis balls and she grabbed the dynamite up and looked around to see who was involved in this disaster.  She quickly rounded us up and marched us into the Principals Office.  After a short conference behind closed doors,  she and Miss Stewart came out with very grim looks on their faces.   Miss Stewart addressed my friend first: "YOUNG MAN,  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?" ... she held the dynamite under his nose.  "NO MAM!"  my friend quivered.  Then she turns to the both of us (she knew we were always the ringleaders)  "DONT YOU EVER BRING THIS TO SCHOOL AGAIN!  DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"  "YES mam!" ... we said, our eyes pretty big too, because we had NEVER seen Miss Stewart this upset!   She addressed the other boys behind us with some warning that I dont remember, but I'm sure it was just as forceful.  We never talked about the "incident" ever again.  We pretended that it simply had never happened.  Nothing more was ever said by Miss Stewart, the teachers, or us.   It was years later that I would understand why Miss Stewart had become so upset.  I'm sure today's teachers would have handled it differently,  but "back in the day",  these things were not something you talked about... nor used as war toys to blow your friends up with....

In 2022, at the age of 72, I walked from my old house to Mercer School just like I did in 1957.