Former students, teachers, and administrators share with us their memories of Truman Elementary in St. Louis County.
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Roxanne DeVergilio Samuels, of Oceanside, CA, and former Lindbergh Middle School student, 1969–1972:
I went to 6th–8th grade there from 1969–1972. I walked every day through all types of weather, as I lived down on Manda Lane. Walking to school in a dress in the middle of winter was harsh! I do recall that in 7th grade they made a change to the dress code and girls could wear pants permanently. I wore them most days.
I have so many memories from those formative years, I cannot begin to single them out without going on and on!
Judy (Holtz) Hall, former Lindbergh student:
My favorite teacher (Mr. Alan Dryer), 8th grade history, 1972–73. Mr. Dryer made class FUN and interesting. Fond memories even after all of these years. He was a teacher I will never forget! I heard he passed away, what a shame, he will be missed by many!
I remember how impressed we were with the massive size of Lindbergh North and the amazing facilities. The gymnasium was monstrous, and the lab facilities were excellent (for those days).
Just as most adults will never forget where they were on September, 11, 2001, I will never forget sitting in Mr. Harvey Ordelheide's social studies class about 1:30 PM on Friday, November 22, 1963, when the PA system (with no warning) started playing CBS radio news that the President had been shot. It turned off and we sat in shocked silence for a few minutes, until the PA came back on and announced that President Kennedy was dead. I remember my French teacher walking past the open door weeping uncontrollably.
I went on to Lindbergh High School where a construction workers’ strike delayed the opening of the addition to the high school. We had to go on two shifts per day until construction was finished. Blessedly, the decision to use closed hallways with no classroom windows forced the district to air condition the school! We were grateful for that innovation.
It was especially exciting to work with the students in Jane Hake’s fourth-grade class on Chalkboards to Computers: A Lindbergh School Retrospective because it was like coming full circle for me! Just like the students that I was working with, I too, knew what it was like to go to school at Truman. However, I went there in 1988–1989, when it was the Affton-Lindbergh Early Childhood Education Center. I don’t remember a lot from when I was a student then, but one memory does stick out in my mind.
At recess, the metal tricycles, fire trucks, and police cars were immensely popular with all of the students. Some of these toys sat one person, and a few of them could accommodate two people. Because these particular toys were popular, the students had to take turns playing with them. Similar to my classmates, I loved playing with the riding toys, but I hated to wait my turn. One day, I decided that I was going to start playing with some of the toys that weren’t so popular—metal bicycles without training wheels—so that I didn’t have to wait my turn. Every day, while my classmates played on their toy vehicles, I would lug out one of the bicycles and try to ride it. I fell a lot, and I was often frustrated. However, I remember how excited I was when I finally figured out how to balance myself on the bike. How exhilarating—after all those days, I was finally able to ride just as fast as the other kids. My excitement was short-lived, however, because soon the other students wanted to be able to ride a bike like me. Yet again, I was back to waiting my turn as everyone tried out the bikes without the training wheels. Unfortunately, those tricycles, fire trucks, and police cars just weren’t as appealing as they once were now that I knew how to ride a “big girl” bike!
My family lived in Crestwood [Missouri]. I attended Watson School for my kindergarten class and was then transferred to Long Elementary. At the time Long was K-6th grade. As we neared the 5th grade, the middle school was completed. Our rooms often were loaded with 30 or more students. Instead of staying at the grade school, we were allowed to go to the Middle School for 6th grade! All of us were excited to be considered big kids and worthy to change classes. Of course we were nervous, as the school had a pool, where we swam for P.E., and we had to find our classes each hour instead of being led around as we were in grade school. I remember listening to music on a record player in the gym, Tommy James and the Shondells' "Mony, Mony," while doing our laps, and going to exploratory class to learn Jewish dances from Mrs. Goldberg.
We had multiple lunch periods [because] the student body was so large. We had typing classes and science in the same building as the lunch room (you could smell lunch cooking). Everyone rode the bus. It was standing room only for me since the bus was loaded to the brim. Life was pretty ideal, we were the baby boomers and strong in numbers and intelligence, and we were preparing to make our marks on the world.
I now teach art at Valley Park Middle School and High School. I carry with me the proud traditions and lessons I learned of excellence in education.