Roger M. Goetz - Chapter 18

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz

CHAPTER 18

LOUISE CRAWFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
 415 STANTON AVENUE

PART FOUR - ACADEMIC YEAR 1951-1952

Our teacher for sixth grade at Crawford School was Miss Morgan.  She was quite a contrast to Miss Emmert, and I think that colored our attitude toward her.  Our new teacher was an older woman and almost always had complete control of the classroom.  We didn’t like her strictness; but, looking back as adult, I cannot fault her for being that way.

One of the things I decided to do at school that Fall was to participate in group violin lessons.  To begin with, we only played one whole note, the note A above middle C.  We progressed, however, over the next four weeks to bigger and better things!  We played this same A as whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes.  Would we ever get to play a second note?  I already had figured out how.

I was bored out of my mind, for I had been playing the piano for years.  So, I quit and never missed it.

 * * * * *

September 1951 also brought a change at home.  The road past our house was paved.  It had been a gravel road prior to that time.  My mother was delighted that she wouldn’t have to put up with a west wind blowing dust into the house every time a car drove by or the wind was particularly strong.

I mentioned this to Mary Ruth Pierantoni, nee Jameson, over the phone on January 19, 2010; and she reminded me that her brother Benny used to water the road with a hose to keep the dust down.  I had forgotten that but now remember we followed his example from time to time.

After it was paved, the road was closed for eleven days.  But that was not the end of the matter.  Dad decided to put in a new driveway himself.  I helped Dad with the digging one day, and Chuck helped the next.  I don’t recall how long the process took.  Dad didn’t hire it done to save money.

This business wasn’t over though.  The people living along the newly paved road had to pay a street pavement assessment since we would drive on it the most.  The amount my parents paid on February 18, 1952, was $670.50.

In terms of buying power, $670.50 is equivalent to about $5,463.92 in the present year of 2010.  I can understand that my parents were most unhappy about how big it was.  The Jamesons were outraged, too.

 * * * * *

The entry dated Sunday, November 18, 1951, concludes with a sentence that gives one a bit of information about me and school:

Last Wed. PM   I went to [Roger’s] school Open House and looked over his work and one exercise was to write words with the ending "let," like booklet and he gave the word toilet.

 * * * * *

Even though I was now in sixth grade, I was still a collector of things as Mom’s diary noted in March:

Roger: "I’m starting a pencil collection.  I just realized that I took a fancy to pencils.  I’ll save them through the ages."

I should mention that I didn’t save them through the ages.  Why?

Well, there’s no question that the decorations on pencils can be intriguing.  As a kid, however, I had a dilemma with regard to pencils: when you want to use one, you have to sharpen it from time to time.  Eventually, the pattern is gone.   Sigh!!!

 * * * * *

I should mention that I also liked to read certain comic books.  One was Little Lulu.  So, Mom ordered me a subscription on March 18.  It cost $2.00.

 * * * * *

Mom described my birthday in her diary as follows:

Roger had a birthday party on May 17 and he is 12.  Had 4 boys over for dinner and then took them to a movie.  I fried hamburgers and they ate so much they couldn’t eat any birthday cake.

From Mom’s financial journal, I discover that she spent $1.61 for the birthday party itself and $42.00 for a grown-up wrist watch similar to the one my dad wore.  I was thrilled with the watch.

And I should mention that I didn’t miss the birthday cake at all.  I never really liked cake and when I was a bit older I got pumpkin sponge pie for my birthday with whipped cream on top.  The recipe is at the end of this chapter.

 * * * * *

When I planned to attend school the last day that academic year, I thought long and hard about whether to bring Miss Morgan an apple.
I didn’t particularly like her so I didn’t feel like it.  At the same time, I thought I should because it was the proper way to thank the teacher for all she had done for me that year; and there was no question she had been a conscientious teacher.  In the end, I decided I would take her an apple because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

When the day was over, I was embarrassed about my classmates and felt sad for her.  Why?  I was the only one to leave anything on her desk when we left for the summer between our sixth-grade year there and our seventh-grade year at Welch Junior High School.

Thus ended our formal connection with Louise Crawford Elementary School.  Miss Emmert was gone.  The next year they got a new principal.  Miss Myers was the only one left there I knew.  And so, the building no longer had any attraction for me.

Nevertheless, over the years that followed, I would stop by Miss Myers’s home to say hello once in a while.

 * * * * *

 PUMPKIN SPONGE PIE
 by Sidonia H. Goetz

2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
12 oz. evaporated milk
8 oz. water – add to milk
¼ tsp. salt
1¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
c tsp. nutmeg
1 Tablespoon melted
         butter per pie crust

First, line two nine-inch pie tins with pie crust.

Second, in a small bowl beat egg whites until frothy, add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch gradually.
     Beat until soft peaks.

Third, in a large bowl beat egg yolks until thick (they will perhaps be lemon colored).
     Add sugar and spices and salt – Mom used setting 2 on her mixer for this and the following, but do mixers have such settings today?
     Add pumpkin
     Add milk

Fourth, add egg whites to the large bowl – mix on setting 1 until just mixed.  If egg whites don’t "fold in," leaving lumps – use mixer speed 4 until the lumps are broken up.

Fifth, butter each pie crust with 1 Teaspoon melted butter before adding filling.

Sixth, add filling to the two nine-inch pie tins.

Seventh, bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
Eighth, test like custard by sticking a table knife an inch from the center of the pie.  If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done.

Ninth, serve with sweetened, vanilla-flavored, whipped cream. [What this means is have this whipped cream available to plop on top of your piece of pie.  It’s delicious!!!  And far better than birthday cake!!!]