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Testing and Teasing a Teacher by Dale Hughes ‘55
Mrs Neola Drum

In the spring term of 1955, when I was a senior, I signed up for a coarse that turned out to be the most useful of any course I studied in school, both high school and college,---typing. At Milford that year there was a young petite lady with blondish hair that was combed as a Hollywood star would comb her hair. And she liked to kid around, to a degree, with the high school boys. Well, she, Mrs Drum, was the teacher of this course.

On the faculty that year was our coach, Ev Cochrane, who was in his second year at Milford. Once a year Mr Cochrane, Ev, liked to take the boys on the team to a varsity college basketball game down at the old fieldhouse in Iowa City where he was an alumni. We drove a couple of cars down. Because he had been one of the stars for the Iowa University Basketball team just a couple years earlier, he easily obtained enough tickets for his Milford high school team. We took our seats, and of course, we were in the first or second row of the balcony right behind a big ol’ support beam and it made it very difficult to watch the game. Shortly Coach Ev says, “This isn’t going to do the job so come along with me”. We tagged along and went down to the main floor where one of the ushers, probably another “letter winner”, was doing the “security”. He, at first, started to motion us that we weren’t permitted down there. Coach goes over to him, the fellow sees who he’s actually dealing with, and with a big smile and a wave, he motions us past his sentry station and we go set in the first and second row from the court about even with the free throw line and watch the game.

Anyhow, the game was against Minnesota. They have a big shouldered center who is about 6’ 11’ and had to weigh about 300 pounds-- Big William Simonovich, but most of the people, at least the Iowans, called him Big Bill Savonovich.

After the game, back to Milford we go and, of course, on to the typing class and Mrs Drum. One of the first days in class, I move my stuff that’s besides my typewriter and in the process, dump my typing book on the floor. Having it instilled in me for years that one does not cuss in the school class room, and without really thinking about it, I quietly said, and emphasized each syllable a little more than the previous, “Big Bill Savonovich”. That created a few muffled chuckles from the other fellows in the class and a glancing, but silent, glare from Mrs Drum. That was all it took, at most any error in typing or any other excuse that seemed to warrant a exclamation of irritation, one of the fellows would do the same thing “Big Bill Savonovich”. Finally, at about the third or fourth exclamation, she had had enough of the teasing (and it did sound like an inappropriate exclamation) and with a stern face and almost whining high pitched frustrated voice said, “Now, Boys”. For better or worse, that’s all it took to quieten us, because we all kinda liked her and didn’t want to cause her too much irritation and also ‘cause we knew of Supt Hopkins’ desire to support his faculty in behavior problems. And then, that became a joke for us, and when something was “frustrating”, a guy would say in a high falsetto ‘singsongy’ voice, “Now, Boys”.

On rare occasions, to this day, if something really irritates me, I still might quietly mutter, “Big Bill Savonovich”.

1927 Library Facilities

In the fall of 1927 the School Library consisted of 450 “volumes, mostly of latest editions and first rate in every way”- not including encyclopedias and each grade room had their own library. Surprisingly, there was a Iowa Traveling Library available.

An Advantage of Being a Farm Kid By Dale Hughes ‘55
When the younger generation asks questions about how things were ‘in the olden days’, at least if they hear them from me, I usually add something to the effect that we farm youngsters had a real advantage over the kids from families with other occupations- the town kids. We farm youngsters learned a degree of responsibility and developed skills and judgements, at age 8 to no later than 10, that had to do with farm chores, farm machinery, and farm animals and this transposed itself into the ability to care for and to drive cars, trucks, planes, etc. I do know that, for a while when I was very young, that pulling a wagon of ear corn in from the field with the horses was still done and when one got it to the overhead hoist to lift the front of the wagon so the corn could be more easily gotten out of the wagon-- one had to unhitch the horses-- not unharness, just unhitch. After a few loads of corn had been unloaded, the horses would learn they had nothing to fear by all this noise and movement around them and they’d stand there patiently waiting, or perhaps even sleeping, while this unloading process was occurring. One year unloading the wagons was Grandpa Hughes’ job-- Dad had a two row Oliver pull picker- and I would watch. Grandpa was somewhat apprehensive about letting us kids “help” because, looking back now, it was a very much more dangerous job than anything done by current
Not from Milford Twp but a good example of unloading ear corn with only one tractor for both pulling the wagon and powering the elevator. The overhead hoist has cables that lift the front axle - the cable comes from the top, passes between the wheel top and the box of the wagon. through the spokes of the tire and loops around a short extension of the axle. Picker on the right.
farmers. There also was a long pole that went from the gearbox on the hoist and crossed the elevator. This was a pushpull device to activate the gears to wind up the cables that lifted the front of the wagon. Oh, what a great important job for a youngster to lift the wagon by pulling the lever and then releasing it or push it to the neutral position when the wagon was at the desired height. Then the real excitement would be, when the wagon was empty, to push the lever forward and down the wagon would come with all the noise and shaking. The lever had to be returned to the neutral position to activate the brake to prevent the cables from unrolling too far and that would mean the next time the cables might overlap when the pressure was put on them and that might cause a weak spot that could be susceptible to breakage-- O, the respon- sibility. And what a ‘grown-up’ moment and occasion when he let a lad operate the lever without his (Grandpa’s) hands being just within a half second’s motion of the lever. In reality, one could screw things up if he let the front of the wagon go too high and also, as the wagon went up, there was a ten- dency for the back of the wagon to move forward and then the corn would flow onto the ground-- which would involved scooping up the mess before the operation could be done and the feeder hopper could be lifted and folded back onto the elevator. But doing such a ‘simple’ routine would be a portion of learning; Most farm kids were doing ‘hauling and unloading’ ‘solo’ by the time of Junior High.
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© 2012 Mark Christian
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