LETTER: Memories of Great Falls School

To the editor:

A while back, I wrote an article about Rockingham as I remember it in the late ’30s and early 1940s and I mentioned that there were four schools inside the city limits at that time.

Two of the schools were Great Falls and Rockingham grammar schools and I have had quite a few people tell me that they had never heard of Great Falls and three folks did not know about Rockingham Grammar.

Great Falls School was located on the hill going west on Washington Street out of town on the right-hand side of Old Hwy. 74. The buidling is still there, just below the Days Inn and is now used for storage by the city of Rockingham, I think.

I entered first grade there in the fall of 1931 and there were four grades there. My first-grade teacher was Miss Herndon, my second-grade teacher was Miss Kilgore, my third-grade teacher was Miss Ewing and my fourth-grade teacher was Mrs. O’Daniels, who was also the principal.

At the end of my fourth-grade year, they added a fifth grade, so I continued my education there and then up to Rockingham Grammar for the sixth grade.

Things I remember about attending Great Falls is that when, not if, you got in a fight, they would let you fight as long as you didn’t pick up a rock or open a pocket knife.

There was no lunch room, so everybody brought their lunch, mostly in a brown paper bag or a lard bucket. Sometimes, I would have a baked sweet potato, sausage biscuit, cornbread, small jar of pinto beans, cold biscuit, or whatever else was available.

This was in the middle of the depression, so there was not much to bring.

The janitor’s name was Uncle John; that is all the name we knew him by. That was the name that all of us (children) called him by. He was a kind, gentle man and every kid loved him. ‘Nuf said.

George LeVander Jr.