By David Craig, July 1999
[My father] Charles W. Craig was clerk of the Quarry School Board for a number of years. He served for 18 years, from 1935 through 1952. His duties were to chair the annual school board meeting and oversee the operations of the school. That included reviewing and/or hiring teachers, checking and maintaining the heating and watering systems. He also verified the incoming monies and expenses that were recorded by the board treasurer. As a student there, it was a big deal to have new basketball posts, backboards and baskets installed in about 1942. They were located on a flat area between the school and Highway 164. We played year around, even in the snow.
Recreation at recess and noon ‘hour’ was a year around activity. During winter, sledding and snowball fights and tag were common. The hill behind the school was excellent! The longer rides went down the north side past the girls’ outhouse. The shorter rides toward the south went between the school and the boys’ outhouse. The short route went straight down the hill, and sometimes you hit the school building! Riding scoop shovels and cardboard boxes provided variety.
The springtime brought on baseball, tag, and marbles. The variety of space—hill, flat and new found area (hill, pasture and wooded thicket) west of the boys’ outhouse provided several tag games or team tag to go on at once. There were some girls who were somewhat aggressive and loved chasing the boys.
Playing marbles was another spring activity, and it took place anywhere there was a small flat area. It was mostly a boy thing and each brought his own bag of marbles. Bags were homemade. Sometimes we shared with those who could not afford them. Two to four played, anteing marbles into a 16-inch circle and then tossing your shooter from a line five or six feet from the circle. Each boy in turn snapped his shooter (thumb and forefinger) to hit marbles out of the circle. You kept the marbles you hit out of the circle. There were great discussions on rules. We compared each others unique marble designs. Obviously the bigger your bag and more marbles you had, gave you status.
Softball became a big sport in the school from about 1943 to 1946. We organized a team and found a hayfield one or two blocks west of the school. We played other elementary schools in the area. School was out early one day a week and all attended the games. We were undefeated and that added a lot of spirit to the school.
One of my most memorable experiences of Quarry School was serving as the Santa Claus for the Christmas program in the late 1950s. I arrived early at the Buslaff residence to change and to be ready on time. As school clerk, my dad was to ring the school bell to signal my time to cross the school yard to join the concluding student Christmas program. However, about five to ten minutes before the school bell ringing, a train locomotive was switching tracks near the school, and its bell was ringing loudly. I thought the train bell was the school bell. So I went to the school banging on the door and yelling “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Someone came to the door and said that I was early. I was so embarrassed. Later I came on cue, greeted everyone and gave out gifts. What an incredible experience to play Santa Claus at “my” school.
I had two teachers during my eight years at Quarry School, 1938-1946. Miss Leone Lambert, grades 1-4, and Ms. Alma Bischel in grades 5-8. Their values and expectations were excellent and were consistent with my home life. I owe them much thanks and gratitude. I still use many of their rules and habits in my adult life.