In 1999 I sent my father a tape recorder and a list of questions and asked him to answer whatever questions struck his fancy. From time to time I’m transcribing bits of it for my blog. Here are some reminiscences of Tiburon School.
“School started at either 8:30 or 9 o’clock, I don’t remember, and lasted until… [train whistle in the background]… there’s a train that just went from… on its way from Oakland to Sacramento, and it’s nice to sit here and listen to those lovely sounds. We got out of school 2:30 or so, except when we had rainy day session, when it was a little bit earlier. Often we took sandwiches for lunch, but sometimes we were told to go to Grandma’s house for lunch. Grandma’s house was just up the hill from the Tiburon school and on rainy days we were sent over there, not the whole class, but just me, and Kathryn, to have soup or something.
But the classes, the classrooms were interesting. One class would be assigned blackboard work, another would be assigned paperwork to be doing with pencil and paper and crayon and so forth. Then maybe another one would be assigned a reading lesson and the teacher would go back and forth between all these groups doing a kind of a catechism work of asking questions and answering questions, and telling people to go up to the blackboard and do this division or that multiplication. From front to back there was four or five rows of seats and maybe eight or ten seats front to to back. The blackboard in the front and a blackboard on the side that didn’t have the windows, and it was, in these sessions, when I was in the sixth grand that Mrs. Bean became quite disturbed because she told my folks that, when she’s trying to teach the seventh graders anything, she’d ask them a question and before they could answer it, that Tom would spurt out the answer and disturb the class. It finally became enough of a problem that partway through the year, Charlie and Agnes and Mrs. Bean all agreed that nothing was being accomplished leaving things the way they were, so it would be okay for Tom to do sixth grade work and seventh grade work simultaneously, and the following year pick up and join the class in the eighth grade, which is what happened. And sisnce I had already entered the first grade a few months before I was six years old, my birthday’s in November and classes started in August, under those conditions I was graduated from Tiburon school when I was still 12 years old, and entered the seminar at age 12 as well.
The principal reason for saying this is to let your know that I was 16 when I got out of high school and 16 when I started at USF. And there may be a lot to be said for being a… I don’t know what you say… a nerd or whatever you want to call it, but there’s an awful lot that is lost that I’d have to consider now, that I didn’t, that I wasn’t considering then and that is in social life. I went to a non-co-ed high school for four years – St. Joseph’s for three and St. Ignatius for one, and went to a non-co-ed university for four years, and in all the time from age 12 to age 20 I didn’t know how to talk to girls. My classmates at USF were all one and two and three years older than I and far more mature, and even if they had gone to St. Ignatius in the City, the grew up meeting girls from Presentation High and going to dances and things like that, and commuting from 6:54 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, during the high school years, and then during the college years to working at the ferry building until 11:00 it was a situation I don’t say I regret, but I do say that I missed something in the growing up years that might have been beneficial.
Anyway, Ms. Bean finally got me out of there in 1934 and a year or two later she retired. I’m not sure that I know the reason.
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.