The Dark Angel Episode
(George Harold Fulks)
From an original photo shot in 1996 are George Harold Fulks, Ella Belle Abbott Fulks, Martha Dorcas Fulks Hallman(snapping photo), Euphama Fulks Jackson, and Betty Jean Fulks Garvin. It was the last Illinois reunion of the Rummage Ira Fulks family.
THE DARK ANGEL EPISODE
Dedicated to all the supportive staff who worked within Pnhandle School District from 1967-1994. Thanks for sharing with me all your knowledge and wisdom.
Separating from my wife and three children in 1986, the condition of my
personal finances prohibited movement into plush and luxurious
quarters. Choosing a small mobilehome near a trailercourt,
it was important that I find residence that was both economical and
furnished. Having agreed out of court that I would pay child
support after my spouse and I appeared in divorce court, the judge issued an
order that I make such payments at the circuit clerk's office. Never failing to meet that
obligation, the welfare of our three children continued to be
of high priority.
Adjustment to that tiny mobilehome and new neighbors required
some time and effort. Behind my rented place were several other trailers. To
my left lived the town policeman, a former U.S. Marine of the Korean
War Era, and to my right, in an older house were my former neighbors- Mr. Atwater and his wife. Choosing to reside in a small Mid-western town with a population of less than 1200, different personality types would provide zest; breaking the monotony of what a cloned world would be like. Never having lived for long in perfect environments or settings, working and living within that town presented a challenge that was not too difficult to meet.
One of the first conversations as a resident of that neighborhood was with the town policeman as he and the trailer court manager stood discussing something. Launching an inquiry as to: "Why does Virgil
sit there on his front porch and curse people as they drive by?" As I recollect, the policeman answered, "I've needed to write
Virgil a ticket on that. I've talked to him about it. If
I do anything to him for that kind of behavior, the judge will cause him to have to be committed. You know that anybody
who does that is not right. He has no medical insurance. I just have to let it go. I can't live this close to Virgil and cause him a problem."
An early riser and employed as an elementary teacher in that
Midwestern town, cups of black coffee and the radio news
accompanied the beginning of each day. It was one of those mornings just
before daylight that I took a drink from a cup of freshbrew and was called
by nature.( Nature said, "George, come to the restroom and pee!")Serving as a close friend and helper, Nature has continued to play that role in my life.
Momentarily returning to my favorite easychair, a radio was broadcasting a man hosting a talkshow. Listening for an hour or so with campfire coffee that was strong and bitter; and lacking courage to turn-radio-off, I sat and imaged that I could somehow stuff an oily rag into that man's mouth. Reason was that school was going well. No student in my classes was being abused. Most of the trouble existed within the talkshow host's mind. The content of that talkshow amounted to little more than nonsense. That man had endured abuses during "Early Times" and had an awful opinion of public education in rural-Illinois.
As that talkshow commenced each day, I'd stand at attention and salute as our national anthem was played by a badly out-of-tune band.(They're alright. At one time, I directed one of those myself.
The students had fun.) That talkshow host assured that this writer's bloodpressure was elevated for that part of the day.(Some talkshows are really bad, and his was one.)
That radio show was the commencement of another funday of imaging, hate, and frustration; but all those ailments mostly disipated within the classrooms filled with groups of wonderful children- youngsters who still had all their hopes and dreams together.
Then reaching for the cup of coffee I had brewed in boiling water, I placed the rim of the cup to my lips, and was shocked to find that the mug was empty.
"Dad-burnit!" I said."What happened to my coffee?"
What makes that a memorable event is that following that episode,
the author would glance down the hallway leading to the restroom; and catch a
glimpse of a dark figure draped in a black cloak. Wearing a black hood over its
face and complimented by a garment such as that worn by a father of the priesthood,
I began to sense that something incredible shared my living space. I was not alone there. The thing wearing a dark cloak and hood began appearing; but just long enough for me to catch a flash of it, and then it would disappear completely. Catching a hurried glance at that figure was all I was ever allowed. I thought that I might have been hallucinating, but several visitors confirmed my observations.
Relating that siting to those visiting in that mobilehome, all were able to verify that what
I had seen was not a figment of my imagination. "Would you keep an eye-out?" I asked. "Do you ever see anything when you look down the hallway toward the bathroom?" Most of my visitors did report it, and they described it in the same detail as I. "There's someone dressed in a black cloak, and they have a black hood over their face."
Witnesses included Kristal, Jennifer, and Tracy, my three daughters. Having no fear of darkness or unexplainable phenomena, I continued to live there somewhat satisfied. My company included the "thing" and several highschool age students. It's nice to have company while adjusting to a broken home; something at which I'd worked hard to avoid.
It was my feeling that such a thing should have a name and be accommodated. It seemed harmless enough, and perhaps it was there to assist in some way.
All of us adapted the name D.A. for "Dark Angel." (Could my visitor there have been my deceased ggfather Henry Andrew Jackson Fulks II? What do you think? Grandfather Henry deceased in 1924. He had made several appearances back during the 1940's; but not in such clothing.)
All that happened in 1989; the year of a divorce. During that period of my life, pets sharing the trailer with me were an Amazon Red-winged parrot named "Jo-Jo;" and a tarantula named Moody Bitch. That spider was a gift from Debbie Lamb, a teenager who later dropped out of highschool.Sharing with this former teacher her reasons for becoming discouraged, she could not control her hostility within the school environment. Communicating to me that she was demoralized by restrictions placed on her at school, and tired of having little or no money, my own problems had clouded my thought processes and emotional stability; propelling me into a dreadful daily awakening."I wish I could awaken and this nighmare be over." (The death of a marriage can be painful, but such suffering will eventually go away.)
As for Debbie, a desire for independence had germinated, matured, and produced blooms.
Meeting several other teenagers, both male and female, desiring early independence and unable to support themselves, it is felt that the schools were interpreted by them as being
prisonlike. A few of those teens were unwanted and not even welcome in their homes. At times, I shared that prison concept with those teens.
Perhaps I erred in not attempting to counsel those visitors, but that was made more difficult by the fact that I had also entered into a state of depression and discouragement caused by breakup of a maritial relationship. Subjected to frequent visits from disgruntled teens and falling in love with one, I began to experience highs without use of drugs or medication. Never allowing her access to my emotional center, that teen never knew I loved her. She was neither the first or last to capture a miiddle-aged fantasy.
Had I been a teacher for those teens, I might have encouraged them to stay in school. Several
teenagers entered my place there and exited with that attitude. Gaining knowledge that their difficulties were both behavorial and academic, I was an elementary teacher and not in a position to intervene. Able to recall well some of the feelings I had experienced as a teen and training in child and adolescent phychology, I felt some compassion for those who dropped out of school without receiving a diploma. Of course, not all teen visitors dropped out of school. Several of those continued and received diplomas. (Some behaviors should probably be forgiven within the school environment for sake of continuing education. It cannot be determined for certain that such is the case.)
In concluding, that tramatic episode in life might be dismissed and admitted to the shelves of past history by humming, hooting, barking, spitting tobbacco and proclaiming loudly: " As with 'The Lone Ranger' and 'Tonto' during the days of earlier radio and television:'"Who was that masked man?'(It's the Lone Ranger.) 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?'(The shadow knows.) 'Froggie- plunk your magic twanger!'(and Buster Brown Shoes)
'Who and what is the Dark Angel?'
A proportion of divorced fathers abandon their families and are reluctant to pay child support. Enjoying the time spent with my daughters and their friends during my visitations, we would frequent places such as zoos, restaurants, county fairs, and movies. Here we are at Henson Robinson Zoo near Springfield, Illinois.
My daughter chose the friends she preferred for our trips. Sometimes she chose " charmers," and here's one. Making our trips in a 1986 Nissan PU without any air- conditioner, it was good for us endure that kind of torture. Tracy and her friend were eighth graders when this photo was shot with a Minolta.(1996)
TRACY AND HER FRIEND
GEORGE HAROLD FULKS/2007
She was gentle, cunning, and kind.
Someone we'd been lucky to find.
Although not a perfect type of thing.
She would answer when her phone would ring.
Around a finger, she'd captured me.
Whatever she requested was sure to be.
T'was a waste of money and an ocean of tears.
Too young for me by forty years.
Among my private dreams were fish.
A magic well from which to wish.
There was a child who always smiled.
A quality of time had been reconsiled.
Painful to see them breaking free.
Came the end of Chapter I for me.
WHAT'S UP DOC?
|George Fulks |
For use of the above image, I thank/http://email@example.com/November 7, 2008./
Verne Pinkston Senior
Principal of the Old Raymond Grade School that was located on the present site of
the modern St. Raymond's Catholic Church was Verne Pinkston Senior. Dedicated, well-trained, and knowledgable in education and administration, Mr. Pinkston was a leader in the concept of non-graded primary schools. His writings and studies in
that area brought nationwide attention to Panhandle Schools.
Another Time Traveler
Another true incident by George Harold Fulks/December 2009
composed December 11, 2009/George Harold Fulks<
(It was during the 1970 or early 80's that teacher George Fulks experienced an odd and somewhat ghostly occurrence in room #4 at Waggoner Grade School. Recalled is that it was the year I worked with Matt Waldeck, Jennifer and Penelope Waggoner.)
Submission of this story is for the purpose of providing evidence( but not proof) of the existence of parallel worlds and their probable relationship to the occurrence of apparitions and other paranormal phenomonon; subjects not only entertaining; but of high interest to this writer.( Danke!)
Completing the morning lesson plans and preparing materials for
students, I was the only one who had arrived at Waggoner Grade School that cold morning during the 1980's. Finishing preparation tasks in fifteen minutes, I'd begun to practice my writing skills on the chalkboard- an area in need of improvement. I'd been assigned to room #4.
All doors to the Waggoner Grade School were locked. I had entered with a key and had closed the front entrance doors behind me. No one could have entered without using a key. But as I was writing on the chalkboard, I was in for a shock.Someone began talking to me.
Behind some rectangular tables provided for students were three rows of schooldesks; perhaps fifteen. In one of those desks sat
a tall, blond-haired, and light-skinned teenaged boy. Neatly dressed in clean overalls, a white shirt with open collar, and brogans, he was a perfect image of what must have been a farmer's son.
"I've come here today to find out what you're doing. There is a way
that I can get back here, you know. I went to school here a long time ago. Everything was different then."
Standing in a state of shock that a teen should be addressing me, my first response was: "I don't mind your being here or sitting there, but how did you get into the building? It's locked. I don't work with students your age."
"I do come in it here sometimes." he said. "I've not come here to be a
problem. There is a way to get in this here. The school here is not like it used to be. You don't do badly here. You just don't know what it was like for me here. The teacher gave me an awfully hard time. I spent more time ouside
the class than I did in. They were really hard to get along with; so strict that we
couldn't even make a sound.
Remaining silent, I stood there with chalk and eraser in hand; not finding an appropriate verbal response. Glancing around that room, I must have presented a negative image. Having no conversation to share, there stood I, an elementary school teacher listening intently to a highschool aged student as he vented some of his hostile and rebellious feelings.
"Well," the boy stated without showing hostility: "I don't like the way you're acting or how you're treating me. I'm getting out of here now, but I may return sometime. Sorry I bothered you!" Then that boy arose confidently and somewhat indignantly from his seat at a desk; and then vanished."
Making a return visit to Waggoner Grade School; then renamed the Centennial Building, the years had passed from the late 1980's into 1996; two years past my retirement. The Waggoner Centennial Building had been chosen as the location for a rehearsal. My daughter and others in a class were preparing to perform a dance recital, and I drove her to what was once Waggoner Grade School for that purpose. At one time that building had also served as a highschool. Our rehearsal for my daughther's dance recital was in 1996.
Two years had passed since my retirement from teaching. As I found a comfortable seat on some grass bordering a wall of that building, there came Marie and Sara, two former students. We'd all grown two years older. Those two former students lived in a house across a street from the Waggoner Centennial Building.
With her usual quiet and gentle manner, Marie said, "Hello, Mr. Fulks. I haven't seen you in a long time. How have you been?"
"I love you, Marie." I said
"Are you kidding me"? Marie replied. "You absolutely gag me, Mr. Fulks. You're disgusting. Are you trying to entice me?"
"No, Marie"! I retorted. "That's the way I feel today."
Following that exchange of words, Marie sighed, looked around inquisitively and continued. " I have something to tell you. You're sitting there in a scary place." As Marie pointed a finger over my head, her voice trembled, and she said, " I wouldn't sit at that place there. I've looked out our kitchen window several times. Strange things sometimes happpen here. I've watched people going into and coming out of this building. That's weird to me. There's no door here where they are seen entering. I wonder who they are and what they're doing."
Such an inquiry as Marie launched is reason for my composing this story. How do those people enter and exit where there's no doorway? Who are they? Are there parallel worlds? Almost surely there are.
Reader might be interested in Art's Miracle by downloading to "All Stories" and choosing that story from a block index. Other stories of that nature are contained within "rummageandella.com"- my composition site.
Here Comes The Army
My service in the United States Army as a Nike Missleman had been disappointing to both the service and me. As a missileman, this writer had no skills
that the army needed. Many other soldiers shared that same situation. The year 1962 was a time of high unemployment; even for college graduates. Wages were poor for civilians, so many young men and women chose to enlist in the military. Enlisting in the U.S. Army in March 1962, this writer went through basic at Fort Gordon, Georgia and was sent to Presidio of San Francisco. Hard times prevailed for a time. Paid less than $100 monthly as a private, little could be purchased in San Francisco on that wage, but Army chow and housing were excellent. Room and board were free.
College trained in instrumental music and English, I applied for duty with the ARADCOM CHORUS headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was accepted after serving two and one-half months as somewhat a misfit. Twenty-four hours on passenger service of a railroad carried we passengers across the trail chosen by many early settlers. If I recollect, that was the Sante Fe Trail and Railroad- a lengthy and exhausting experience; but interesting.
Anyway, the ARADCOM CHORAL GROUP, to which I had been assigned offered to me an introduction to The Panhandle and Hillsboro School Districts. Touring out of Scott Air Force Base in St. Louis, Raymond and Hillsboro were included on our agenda. We were quartered off-base for a number of days at the Moonlight Motel; now in 2010 location for Baker's Heating and Plumbing. While performing in Raymond, Hillsboro, and Litchfield, this writer experienced a cordial introduction to
Christine Hall, Randy Prange, Terry Todt, Stan McAlister, Darrell Canady, and Roger Webb who was then
superintendent of Panhandle Unit; and several other well-known people who lived and working in mid-Illinois. Performing at schools and on the steps of Hillsboro Court House, our group stayed busy. George Fulks, as a sort of monkey, played trumpet, sang, and starred in a hillybilly rendition of "That Good Old Mountain Dew". That was fun but on the ridiculous side. Being the only
member of that entertainment group with Kentahten connections, my role consisted of
something of a farce.
Vaguely recalled are visits to Vandalia, Greenville, Taylorville, Effingham, and the Edwardsville area; as well as appearances on KMOX and Springfield, Illinois
television stations. Included was radio station WSMI, Litchfield. Those thirty day tours were busy
and exciting times for us, and upon returning to Colorado Springs, all choral group members were exhausted. We would not resume rehearsals until after four days rest.
Our duty was among the best available, and we were pleased to be members of that select group of singers. I never complained, but some of our people did.
ARADCOM CHORAL GROUP visits to Montgomery and surrounding counties were felt justified for reason that numerous Nike Hercules Missile sites had been placed as an important part of NORAD.(North American Air Defense Command) Those former ground-to-air missile sites were dismantled during the 1980's and replaced with more sophisticated air-defense systems that included more effective and better armed jet fighters. The range and armament of the Nike Hercules Missile made it obselete. (Since those missile have been dismantled,, we have learned that they contained nuclear warheads. At one time, that fact was top-secret.) Discontinued were also the NORAD BAND and its afilliate- the ARADCOM CHORAL GROUP.
Important to note is that other members of my group made fun of George Harold Fulks. That was not simply an occasional occurrence. It was a continuous thing. The unusual growth of hair I possess and my anthropoid -like qualities distinguished me from other soldiers, and to be truthful, has been a life-long source of aggravation. Fortunately, my tail fell-off from the demolition charges encountered during an obstacle course in basic infantry training. I could never stand upright in formation. I lost Hazel, my sweet woman from Kennebunkport, and my personal appearance is among the reasons. It wasn't my falling asleep on her 1724 loveseat at all. Other than that, I'm perfectly normal.
That George Harold Fulks should have taught two years in Kentahten and then wound-up a teacher in Panhandle School District resulted from a search for better salary and conditions. That was a result. Later..later..later
GLADYS AND ROY BOLLMAN
Gladys and Roy Bollman resided in a small, bungalo within the village of Waggoner, Illinois. For a time, Roy was a custodian at the school. Both Roy and Gladys were softspoken and humble people. Back in my homestate of Kentucky, many stereo-types of those two "Illini" were present. Dialects were somewhat different, but behaviors, morals, and expectations were similar. "I expect to be treated decently and respectfully. I'm not staying where I'm not treated well." (Roy remained custodian until the district could find a suitable replacement.)
For the longest time, Gladys Bollman remained cook at Waggoner Grade School. The meals she prepared were excellent. During part of my tenure there in the school
district, my schedule allowed me to have lunch there around noon. Gladys would arrive at around 8:30 A.M., prepare the meal for the schools 105 or so, children,
teachers, and supportive staff. Dishes were then washed, and the kitchen was cleaned by Gladys. Then she was free until the next day.
As a teacher there at Waggoner Grade School, I enjoyed my relationship with Roy and Gladys. I relished her delicious, homecooked style meals. To my knowledge, no children or staff ever complained about Glady's cooking or work. She kept a clean kitchen and remained cordial to all the students and staff.
My work schedule for the first year taught at Waggoner required that I travel there on
Tuesdays and Thursdays. Working with small groups of children for thirty-minutes duration, the work was challenging and fun.
All regular classes were combined. Jess Harkness was principal and teacher of grades seven and eight. He was a man of few words and an excellent disciplinarian. Near or past retirement age, those two had many years experience teaching in one-room-schools. Many students did well under the oldstyle, traditional American education system.(Along came middle schools, junior highschools, and what was called core-curriculum. Those
were one product of increases in money spent for building construction and numbers of teachers.)Those had a wider course offering and less strict conditions. Much of school achievement progress must surely depend upon individual students.
I seem to recall that Jess Harkness and his wife retired after the 1967-68 school term. No negative images are associated with working with those two. We had little time to quarrel among ourselves. We never engaged in such a thing.
An elementary student handed to me this school photo of his mother or sister from
the 1957-58 school pictures. I've found this photo and labeled it as "unknown." Please identify yourself.
Employed as a reading teacher in that school district, I had not completed my graduate training. Certain that the people would have preferred an older and more experienced person than I, a fact was that most of those teaching in Panhandle Unit #2 had neared retirement age. The district saw an advantage in hiring younger instructors. Several working in that district were veteran, highly- experienced teachers, and at the top of the salary schedule. "We don't pay enough here to attract young people. It'll be less costly to get young teachers if we can. They can be trained in a hurry. Let's get George, and see how he will do." The result was that my career was launched from a telephone booth at Murray State University in Kentucky. I was one on the first youngsters for that decade. My movement from Kentucky to Central-Illinois resulted in a $2,000 increase in salary.
A tall, darked-haired, well-dressed lady by the name of Mrs. Rhine taught the combined first and second grade at Waggoner Grade School. She controlled two large
groups, kept discipline, and did the best she could with students ranging in achievement from no reading ability at all to third grade. That's a difficult task.
Again, I had the good fortune of meeting a kind, gentle, humble, and soft-spoken
lady of Mid-west origin. Having little time for conversation, both she and I were under stress. She did share with me knowledge I had already gained, "George, we tried to get somebody from here to fill your position. They didn't want to teach the children you have or come in it here. We want to get into the Virden school district. You're welcome to come here, but I don't know how well you'll do." Several school employees shared with me that the position I had taken had been offered to them.
For me, first-year stress was significant, but I was determined to continue. I had no room in which to meet, and
there were few materials for use with students. The superintendent, Mr. Jensen, allowed me to fill-out a
$500 purchase order. Ordering some of the equipment and materials we had used in the reading clinic at college, soon the first graders were reading "I am a pig" instead of "See Dick, see Jane."
Placed first in the basement; that's where a thing such as I belonged." Some other staff members were not happy with me even there, but
I, George Fulks, had "fallen into a hole." That hole was one I enjoyed, and I was in physical and mental condition to continue.
Reminding me somewhat of a film-clip of three German infantrymen positioned within a bombcrater behind Omaha Beach following
World War II, D-day, the students and I worked in expectation of miracles in reading achievement. During the D-day invasion, a German defender, a sergeant was gazing anxiously into a center hole within a bomb crater. That hole, constructed for catching any grenades thrown, was frightening for him and two other infantrymen. Literal application was that "here we are up "-creek." If one surrenders and ventures from out of such a crater, he is shot. If one remains in such a crater, he exits in pieces. That is his grave. He must stay in the crater and fight to the end. I've been unemployed and without financial means amounting to a similar situation. Work was hard to find, and I was not about to quit.(Another photo from that filmreel shows the three Germans exiting that crater and taken as prisoners.)
It was during the final year of use for old Raymond Grade School. (Located on that
site is the beautiful, new, and modern Catholic Church.)
Teaching provided both financial security and an opportunity to use what had been taught in the College of Education, Murray, Kentucky.)
That, as a "hole," was fairly comfortable. The students and I were enthusiastic.
For those times, the pay was not bad. Gasoline was thirty-five cents per gallon, and
a new Ford could be acquired with three-hundred down and seventy-three dollar each month.
I'd grown-up on and near farmers. I had several friends and supporters there in Waggoner, and I had rented a place to live in that town for a reasonable amount.
Mrs. Rhine lived in a beautiful, well-maintained farmhouse located on the east side of old two-lane, HW 66. Surrounded by cornfields and a large lawn, her residence and land were later purchased for construction of what was long marked I-55. Access to the village of Waggoner was then blocked by chainlink fence. Thru- traffic was not able to enter Waggoner. Maintenance and use of Old HW-66 allowed local access, and one could reach Waggoner by exiting at Farmersville or Route 48. Two additional overpasses were constructed- one at Waggoner and another two miles North of that village, but the chainlink fence on both sides of I-55 prohibited entry into Waggoner. Waggoner could be reached by thru-traffic only by exiting at the Farmersville Overpass or the Route 48 exit to Raymond. That highway engineering feat ended tourist trafic for Waggoner, Illinois.
Two colorful figures adding "tang" to the writer's first teaching year in Panhandle Unit #2 were U.S. Postmaster, Raymond Browning and his energetic wife, Pauline.
Pauline taught grades three-four combined classes. A veteran of teaching in one-room schools, Pauline Browning was near retirement age. American history is filled with stories shared regarding pranks and mischief directed toward school teachers. I've had more than a few pulled on me- thumbtack in chair, being approached and lifted from my feet by a student, flat-tires, and sparkplug wires crossed among a few others. An account shared with me by the storeowner in Waggoner was that as a teacher in a one-room school in rural Montgomery County, the school was a remodeled barn. Mrs. Pauline Browning's students had locked her in a hayloft. Unable to find comedy
by hearing of such an act, I listened and recalled the pain of sitting on a thumbtack.
Raymond and Pauline were citizens whose frendliness and moral support assisted this former teacher in adjusting during my entry into an area where the land was flat instead of hilly. Finding it less difficult to keep ones footing, other advantages were no copperheads or timber-rattlers. Accompanying me to my new position was a black cat, and he was also pleased to find no poisonous reptiles within the village of Waggoner. Blackie had suffered a bite from a copperhead and
survived while I worked in Western Kentucky.
Ora Honnie, Custodian, Old Raymond Grade School-Mr. Verne Pinkston Senior,Teacher of Grades 5-6 and Principal
Commenting to me on his captivity by Germans during World War II, around Christmas of every year, he would approach me and state happily, "George, this is the day I was liberated." Behavioral patterns for Ora Honnies were to walk the school hallways satisfied to be sweeping dust, cleaning restrooms, windows, and keeping the
schools furnace running. He appeared happy to be alive, and his physical and mental conditions gave evidence of robustivity and outstanding mental stability.
A boiler burning highsulfur coal furnished heat for Raymond
Grade School, and much of Ora's time and effort during the cooler days consisted of
removing what he called "clinkers" from the large boiler located in a basement. The basement was also a place where three cigarette smokers could meet during breaks and engage in conversation. Of course, Mr. Verne Pinkston and I were into educational practice and theory. He was an innovator; known nationwide from his
work in the study of non-graded primary schools.
Although my recollection may be in error, I seem to recall that Ora was captured
by German Army soldiers as an infantryman during the Battle of the Buldge."The
Germans didn't treat us too badly," Ora related to me, "They did rough-us-up a little bit when we surrendered. We were required to clean debris from streets that
had suffered damage from American bombers. The people standing watching us would call us "swine."
"Our squad was on patrol there," he said, "I was ordered to serve as scout
sometimes. The scout's job was to walk ahead of the other squad members to see if he
could draw enemy fire and find out where the enemy might be hidden. I walked up a hill onetime. A few minutes later, I learned that I had gone right by a German machine-gun nest. They didn't shoot me. They waited for the rest of my squad, opened fire on them, and killed three of our men."
Ora was one of those born during hard times of the 1920's. He had landed on an appropriate year for drafting into the United States Army. Carrying the wounds of both the Depression and a terrible war, there were no visible scars. Damage to Ora Honnies were the time he lost and experiences one would rather forget. "We did
get packages from the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. And we received mail and were allowed to write home."
Ora assisted me in surviving my first year in Panhandle Unit by his conversation,
his hellos, and his kind treatment. My opinion is that
even a lower animal deserves to be treated in that manner. If done so, those may become gentle.
Life-safety and need for more modern facilities were among reasons for demolition
and sale of school property on the block that was the location of Old Raymond Grade School.(1969)
Mrs Virginia Elmore was Kindergarten teacher, and Mrs. Crump taught EMH. Grades 1 and 2 was taught by Mrs. Louise Chausse
The basement at Old Raymond Grade School housed a large coal-burning boiler. Water heated by that boiler supplied
the heat for that building. The boiler's pressure gauge would rise dangerously high.
As this occurred, it became necessary that the boiler be shut down for temporary
cool-down- much as a nuclear reactor. Having a lever for that purpose, Ora asked me early in my teaching career, "would you help me keep an eye on the pressure gauge,
George? This "son-of-a-bitch" here may blow-up. It scares me. The boiler here gets so hot that its dangerous." Taught to use the boiler's shut-off level, Mr. Pinkston
and I, as smokers, assisted Ora Honnies in many instances as he performed his other
duties there at Old Raymond Grade School.
Ora Honnies and I experienced quite a frightening experience while working in that facility. We happened to be in the building on a day when school was not in session, and an earthquake within the 4th magnitude affected Montgomery County, Illinois. We were into November, 1968.
For historical record, two men were replacing shingles on the roof of a home located across the street from where Ora and I were. It surely must have frightened them. The two reported difficulty in staying on that roof. They were able to ascend an unstable ladder and get-off that roof. That tremor might have lasted for thirty seconds, and there were aftershocks. As for the school Ora and I were in, it commenced a violent convulsion, and we listened to age-old plaster falling between the wall-partitions of that old schoolhouse. Ora said to me" "The boiler's
blowing up, George. You and me are dead."
I, George Harold Fulks, managed to engage most uncertified employees in cordial and friendly conversation by arriving at work by 7:30 A.M. for much of twenty-five years, preparing materials and lesson plans; then entering the quarters of those whom I admired most- my elders. There were fifteen minutes breaks between some of my classes. We never discussed other employees or belittled anyone. The talk was small and informative. We discussed life within the rural communities and current events. My uncertified friends were often in tune with present times and those of the past. Those are the melodies I enjoy hearing the most.
Enjoying good personal relationships with the supportive staff at Waggoner Grade School, this writer learned much of mid-western values and expectations. Robert McCleam, custodian at Waggoner Grade School, was certainly one of the most interesting and mature individuals encountered during my teaching career with that Central-Illinois School District, and fortunate for me, he shared parts of his WWII combat experiences.
Having digested those stories Robert McClean was willing to share, I recall questioinng him once: "Bob, did you ever come to a point you did not think you would survive the war?
"Yes, there was one time," Bob answered. "During ring the Battle of the Bulge, we'd spotted a lot of Germans partially hidden behind a long row of hedges. But for some reason, they never fired on us. They may have thought we just scouts running ahead of a larger unit. I know they could see us. My buddy and I had been running as fast as we could for fifteen or more miles. We'd managed to run just ahead of their infantry, armor, and artillery shells that they kept throwing at us. I said to my comrad, and I thought. "This is the end of us. We're gonna' be killed for sure.
According to Robert McClean, he also participated in the campaigns to capture Sicily and Italy from the Germans. Following those conquests, he entered and fought in Germany.
Germany: "A buddy and I took-up quarters with a German Mother and
Father near Endendorf. They had a nice farm and house, and they were dog-goned good people." said Bob."The strangest thing was that they had a milkcow, and they had boxed it up inside their barn in order to protect it. They thought we might slaughter the cow and eat it. The cow was boxed in so tight that she could hardly move. I heard her bawling in that barn, went out and unboxed her, and I milked her for the five days that we boarded there with the Germans. They were surprised that
an American soldier knew how to milk a cow."
"We shared our supplies and rations with the two of them," Bob
said. We had coffee, sugar, and tobacco,and a few other things. They were happy to
be able to share them with us. When we moved out, we left them some of our supplies."
"We soldiers slept comfortably in a spare bedroom they had. We learned that it was the bedroom of their son, a soldier in Hitler's army. After we found
that out, we took turns standing guard; afraid that their son would come home for a
a visit with his mother and father, but he never did. We moved-out after about five days. We were rested and refreshed, and we continued on with our unit. I just have to say truthfully that they were nice people; very little different from the farm people we have here.
In discussing his participation in the invasion of Sicily, Bob
related to me of how impressive was the operation. "On the day of that invasion, there were so many airplanes, troops, and materials on the move that it was terrifying. It made my hair stand on end to see that it was happening to me. I was a part of it. It was frightening. It was something that seemed unreal, and I wish to God that I'd been somewhere else."
In discussing his participation in "the Battle of the Buldge" and "the Siegfried Line," Robert McClean commented: "Members of our unit were standing at a high place on the terrain. Looking out and scanning an area of fifty miles, we spotted half-a-million Germans coming towards us as far as we could see. That's a frightening thing to look out and see that many of the enemy coming towards you. There were all kinds of vehicles and weapons. They had spotters, and they started shelling us. A buddy and I started running as fast as we could. We must have run twenty-five miles
without any rest at all. Finally coming upon elements of an American unit, we felt secure for a time.
Later that day, we regrouped and were reassigned to
a different combat unit. That was the German counter-offensive you hear about- "the Siegfred Line". 'The Germans had it going, and they very nearly succeeded in driving us out.'
Robert McClean survived WWII; returning home to farm near Chatham,
Illinois. That's just south of Springfield. Then selling his farm, he and his wife and family moved to Waggoner; purchasing a fine, well-maintained home. Hired as custodian and schoolbus driver for Panhandle School District, I had the good fortune of encountering him when I taught school children during the 1980's.
Having the stories he shared, I bequeathto you a small part of what he related to me.
Waggoner Grade School (1967-68}: Cook (Gladys Bollman); Grade 1 (Mrs. Rhine);
Grade 2 (Mrs. Leticia Stead); Grade 3-4 (Mrs. Pauline Browning- the postmaster's wife; Grades 5-6(principal's wife, Mrs. Jess Harkness; Grades 7-8(principal and teacher, Mr. Jess Harkness;(janitor,Paul Irwin),/p>
First teaching year for George Fulks, Title I reading, was 1967-68.
Farmersville Grade School(1967-68): Cook (Mrs Clark); Grades 1-2(???????);
Grades 3-4(Mrs. Hamilton); Grades 5-6 (Mrs. Emmett Brubaker); Grades 7-8( principal
and teacher,Mr. Ralph Korte;(janitor: Louie Durston
Old Raymond Grade school, a brick structure, stood on the block which now is
the site for St. Raymond's Catholic Cathedral and at least one modern home. School
employees I can recall were: Cooks (Elsie Pitchford, Ruby Eaglehoff, and Lois Riemann;) TMH Class(Mrs. Crump); Principal and teacher of grades five and six was
Verne Pinkston,Senior); Grades 1 and 2(Mrs. Veryl Chausse); grades three and four (Geraldine
Hendricks); Teaching kindergarten in the Old Raymond Grade School building was Mrs Virginia Elmore.Custodian and good friend was Ora Honnies, a WWII veteran and former prisoner of war; captured at the Battle of the Bulge; liberated from German prisoner of war camp on Dec. 21,1944. Verne Pinkston, Senior was also a veteran of
World War II and had taught for several years in one room schools. A strict disciplinarian, Mr. Pinkston was always cordial, helpful, and worked for the highest
of standards for himself, his students, and his staff.
Ora and I shared quite a scare once. An earth quake of the 4th magnitude struck in the area
and the building shook violently. Two men were replacing shingles on a home across a
street from the Old Raymond Grade School and it was necessary that they stop their work for a time. Plaster fell between the partitions of the school walls and during
that quake,Ora was concerned that the boiler in the school basement was "blowing-up." That was a frightening experience for us.(Date of earthquake was November,1968
Today is Friday, April 18, 2008. During the early morning hours, we here in Illinois
were shaken by another quake- magnitude 5.4.)
The Village of Harvel and Its School
Closed during the 1980's for life safety concerns and efforts to reorganize in order to improve the instructional program and economy, I began my teaching career in the Panhandle School District commencing during the 1967-68 term. For my Chapter I reading program, facilities were a problem. Meeting first in the cafeteria where clattering dishes and conversation were distractions for me, my students did not seem annoyed.
Later, the students and I were placed in an tiny 8'X 8' office- also the location of the school's telephone. As years commenced to pass, my students and I found ourselves working in a hallway adjacent to restrooms, water dispensors, and lavoratories- continuing to annoy me; but not of much concern to students. Most students were pleased to have time outside their classrooms. Of course, understood was that little could be done to improve those facilities. I continued to teach there during the afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays through two school terms.
A single, twenty-six year old former veteran, my residence was in a mobile home located at Waggoner, Illinois. An itenerant teacher, I was paid mileage and worked with needy students from six attendance centers that included St. Isidore. Such a schedule was not as strenuous as one might expect. Army training, two years teaching in a Kentahten Highschool, physical conditioning attained on two wildlife refuges and beyond; combined with a rural-American background, I'd developed a lifetime love-relationship with farm country. I'd seldom been far from farm people, their animals, their children, and wild beasts of all kinds. For those reasons, I managed to persevere until conditions began to improve gradually.
Howard Hartke served as principal and teacher of seventh and eighth grade during that first year. At fifth and sixth grade was Harry Jackson, and Pauline Bruin sat at the helm of ship three and four. Dorthy Smith reigned over grades one and two as Clara Neunaber and Ruby Eaglehoff cooked, washed dishes, and cleaned Harvel Grade School's cafeteria. The custodian was a dedicated, careful, and precise man named Rueben Smith. No diary has accumulated on my fellow employees. Those were busy times. Children and the school's employees were somewhat fatigued by day's end; but we returned refreshed and sedated each dayafter, Monday, or holiday.
Following that first school term, (1967-68) Howard Hartke continued as principal and teacher; as did Harry Jackson in his same capacity. Wilma Lebeck and Vivian Hefley took over the lower grades, and I don't recollect who taught grades three and four there at Harvel.
>In a few years following construction of the new Lincolnwood Highschool, Superintendent Roger Jensen resigned. He was replaced by Thomas Oates who led the school district into reorganization. All combined classes were abolished. Several older and experienced teachers retired, and soon most of the teachers were in their twenties.
Just a note
The skull of George Harold Fulks is as thin as an eggshell. It is not thick and
hardened as is "Jennie's". To have thrown an eraser at someone as delicate and frail as is George Fulks could have been injurous. Drops of rain cannot touch the skin, hair, and bodice of a creature as fragile, but that happens. This writer has never told. Nor has he related to others that Dawn, Dewey, and I looked-on from a short distance during a Summer of 1989 as Harvel's grocery store burned to the ground. (And
we never "done" it). That fire was caused when the cord to an electrical airconditioner short-circuited. Now, a man cannot buy a loaf of bread there. Go right now, my friend, to Aldi's. The meat cuts there in Harvel were as tough as horse-harness and as greasy as Joe Harned's barbecue in Paducah, Kentahten. God forbid a greasy, hickory-smoked barbecue of pig! As for being struck with an eraser, I've never told!
never forgiven you, Jennie. What if I should tell!