BY CARTER E. ANTHONY
My homeroom teacher in the eighth grade was Mrs. Eula Williams.
She was known as a stern disciplinarian and a good math teacher.
There was a story about her and a green snake. Supposedly, someone in the class before us put a green snake in her right- hand drawer where she kept her roll book.
When she opened the drawer first thing in the morning, she saw the green snake, smashed its head with her fist, threw it in the trash can and without comment proceeded to call the roll.
The story centered around Judson Lewis, Tuffy Rainey and Wyman Rainey as the culprits.
During homeroom we were kept busy with a spelling bee. My word was “coliseum.”
When it came my time, I spelled it “coliseum.” She said it was wrong.
Not long before, I had been to the Garett Coliseum in Montgomery. Later, it was my turn again and my word was coliseum.
Once again, I spelled it “coliseum.” She asked if I thought the spelling had changed since I missed it last time?
Pretty tough ol’ girl! According to her, the word is spelled “colosseum” and it is but there is also “coliseum”.
One day after parents’ Visitation, Mrs. Williams told me she had met my parents and my dad was a handsome man.
I thanked her and sort of snickered. She asked why I snickered because I looked like him. We were friends after that.
Mr. Douglas Whittle was our very dedicated science teacher.
Early in the school year, he brought in slides from his summer’s visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn00.
Oak Ridge is the largest multi-program science and energy lab in the U.S.
It was obvious that he enjoyed the trip and had learned a lot. He wanted to share the slides and all that he had learned with us.
During the presentation, a slide of his “very fetching” wife in a swimsuit on the diving board popped up.
He chuckled and quickly went to the next slide saying he had no idea how that slide got in there.
A little while later, a similar slide popped up with similar remarks from Mr. Whittle. You can imagine what the conversation among 8th grade boys was during recess.
It was in this class that we learned to appreciate Billy Gene Stevens’s artistic ability.
A homework assignment was to draw the solar system to be scientifically accurate and to “color” it. It was a class contest and Billy Gene won going away.
A few years later, our artist was leading the football team out of the huddle clapping and saying “let’s go” as he settled over the ball at starting center.
Billy Gene was a well-rounded student and good friend. Miss you, Billy Gene.
Sometime in the school years 1957-58, we were required to take a couple of vaccinations.
There were no mandates, no masks, no protests, no stores looted and burned downtown. We lined up in our classrooms and nurses from the health department administered the vaccinations.
One of our classmates feared needles and shots and refused to take the shot. His mother rescued him and took him to their doctor where he took the shot.
There were two lines. Another classmate did not hear “two lines for ‘this’ vaccination” but he did hear “two vaccinations this year.”
He got in one line and was vaccinated, then he got in the other line and got the second shot for the same vaccination. He was quite healthy all year.
In the winter during basketball season, a crowd of junior high boys converged on the GHS gym on Saturday mornings.
We were called “Grasscutters” because in the other seasons, we would have been cutting grass on Saturday.
Some high school coaches came and tried their best to organize teams and play something of a little higher level than backyard basketball.
Coach Allen, who was the varsity basketball coach, arranged for 10 of us to play Starlington in an away game mid-week
We actually had some form of uniform jersey but Starlington did not. Starlington is west of Georgiana on Highway 106.
We were excited about going on a school bus to play somebody else. The game was in the school auditorium which was heated with propane gas space heaters.
Out of bounds lines were drawn around the heaters. The only seating was in folding chairs on the sidelines.
It took us a while to realize that the officials might have been football officials. We were getting clobbered physically.
Dave Whetstone noticed that their AHSAA badges were pinned on and not permanent. When we realized we could foul without its being called, it was too late.
Jim Kendrick’s last second shot that would have won the game if it went in, It hit a beam in the ceiling. The Starlington boys and their fans were ecstatic.
After the eighth grade, it was time to buckle down and get ready for a really challenging in a lot of ways ninth grade.