Now and Then - The Park Street School

(Now called Bright Beginnings)

The top three photos are from about 1915.

Bottom photo taken in 2015.

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    During the last half of the 1940s, I attended the Park Street School from first grade through fourth grade. Our
    class had gone to kindergarten (whole day back then) at the Chapel Street School, and then those who lived
    south of Route 16 stayed at Chapel Street for first through fourth, while the rest of us went to Park Street. We
    got together again, more or less, in fifth grade at Dutcher Street School. I say more or less because
    although we were in the same building, most of us from Park Street started Dutcher Street in Miss
    Cressey's class, while most of the Chapel Street kids were in Miss Murray's combined fifth/sixth grade
    class. (Miss Murray became Mrs. Durgin a few years later.) The teachers at Park Street were Mrs. Salter,
    first, Miss Crowell, second, Mrs. Farrell, third, and Miss Berenson, fourth.

    In those days the boys and girls were kept separate on the playground, and would enter and leave the
    building at separate entrances. The boys had the north side of the building, and going up toward Dennett
    Street it was rather overgrown and covered with boulders. One of the favorite things at recess was to be
    picked to get one of the three crowbars that were available for us to take out. We'd bang around on the rocks
    with them. Marbles and Red Rover were also popular recess activities. The object in marbles was to send
    your opponent home having lost all his marbles. The object of Red Rover was to send at least one member
    of the opposing team home with a broken arm.

    We'd go home for lunch, generally referred to as dinner then. Mothers would be home. It was quite rare for
    one to be working outside the home. I suppose we must have had at least an hour to go home, eat and get
    back. If I had any bad papers that had been returned, as it seems I often did, I'd stuff them into the hedge at
    the Northrop house at the corner of Park and Northrop streets. I confessed that to Mrs. Northrop a few years
    ago.

    There weren't any special education teachers. Lacking that, one of the things a teacher could do was to
    send the kids who were having a lot of trouble with the school subjects out into the hall with one of the
    brighter kids who would sit on the floor and read with them. In the scheme of things, I fell somewhere
    between the tutors and the tutees, so I didn't go out to the hall.

    At least in some of the grades, and maybe all, we'd get a little exercise each day by marching around the
    perimeter of the room a few times. This was accompanied by a John Philip Sousa march played on a wind-
    up Victrola. (I should probably mention for any younger folks reading this that the Victrola was what was
    used to play records in the first part of the twentieth century. Records? I suppose we could refer to them as
    early CDs.) It was considered to be a big deal to be picked to be the one to crank the Victrola. Dan Malloy,
    April 2015