A Memory From High School Days

A Memory From High School Days

The following is a guest post from my dad, Howard Weilmuenster. He was a member of the last class to graduate from the high school at Middletown, Missouri; the following year the high school was closed, and the Middletown students in these grades were bussed eight miles away to Wellsville.


A Memory from High-School Days

 It was, to the best of my recollection, in the fall of 1944. World-War 2 was in full force, and we didn’t know when the end would come. The Middletown school was a 3-story stucco-covered building. The grade-school was the lower-level, then two floors of high-school, and above that, the attic – used for storage, with flooring on perhaps half of it. No air-conditioning in those days, some windows were left partly open, when the temperature was pleasant outside.

 One day, we were in class, and soon we could hear a strange sound, a sound that was completely different to anything we were used to. A humming sound, that kept getting louder and louder, and soon we were looking at each other with quizzical looks. One of us went to a window, and there were already a couple kids and a teacher outside, looking up. Within two minutes or so, the building was emptied, and everyone was looking up at the sky.

 Then, they came into view – American Bombers, a huge formation, coming from the west, heading east, (years later, I learned that they stopped in St. Louis for refueling). No one could count them; it seemed they blotted out the sky. Thinking back on it, I would estimate there were more than 100, perhaps even as many as 125… or more! The noise was so loud, many of the kids had their hands over their ears. It seemed that every window in the building was rattling; we learned later that a few of them cracked.

 And then, we heard a much louder sound – one of the bombers had dropped out of the formation, and ‘buzzed’ the high-school. It was so low that we could see some of the personnel waving from the gun-turrets.

 It was an experience that would be very hard to forget, I would say — as I think back on it now, 72 years later.

 Epilogue:  I phoned Willard Leverett in Middletown last week, and he had something to add. The pilot of the low-flying bomber was W. H. Steele (a first cousin to Gloria, Willard’s wife), and very shortly before he reached the high-school — he had just buzzed his parents’ farm out west of town. He got just a bit too low, and clipped a few branches from the tops of a couple trees. When the planes arrived in St. Louis, they had to pull a branch off the wing – where it was still hanging.

A few men, neighbors of Henry and Ruby Steele, got together (perhaps the day after the incident) and, with tree saws and axes, they cut more branches off the tops of several other trees, north and south of the damaged tree(s), so that the damage, now more wide-spread, could not possibly be blamed on one airplane–just in case there would be an investigation that might cause trouble for a hometown pilot. 

 —Howard Weilmuenster

Are You a Junkie?

Are You a Junkie?

Alright, it’s time to ‘fess up.  Everyone who knows they’re a Junkie, raise your hand.  Think you’re not?  Don’t make any bets just yet.  Pretty much everyone probably is, at least of the type I’m writing about today.  How many of you out there can truly claim to have no junk drawer in your home?  In fact, if you can limit the stash to one drawer, you must be pretty well organized!

In my house, it’s one of the bottom cabinet drawers in the kitchen.  Today when I tried to open it to look for something, the blasted thing got hung up by a small section of leftover plastic drain pipe (the kind that goes under the kitchen sink), which was sticking up just enough to wedge itself against the framework on the cabinet front and prevent the drawer from opening more than a couple of inches.  Grrr, don’t you hate it when that happens?!  And never having been a plumber (nor having been married to one), it’s not as though there are enough plumbing supplies hanging around here to dedicate a shelf or a box in the workshop to those items.  This time, however, I was aggravated enough to get a plastic grocery sack and pitch all the plumbing items I could see from the drawer into it.  It’s now hanging in the mudroom until the next time I traipse up the hill to the shop in the barn.  Since the son-of-my-house and the grandkids worked together to clean the shop out last summer, there’s a lot more space in there for storing things I may or may not ever need again.  At least it freed up a bit of room in the junk drawer so it’ll open and shut much better. . . for now, anyway.

Looking through a junk drawer can be a little trip down Memory Lane, though, if you’re not in too big of a hurry.  (Hah!  I hear you laughing; when do you ever open the junk drawer that you’re not in a hurry?  Good point.)  But just fish around in there for whatever it is that you’re hunting this time, and surely you’ll come across at least one item of sentimental value.  The extra hardware that came with the special-colored mini-blinds for your daughter’s room, for instance.  A hand pump for airing up the basketball, soccer ball, volleyball.  A single earphone that you used to plug in to that little transistor radio you hid under the pillow at night when you were 14 and couldn’t get to sleep when the folks said “time for bed.”  And–OH!–there’s that chuck key for the electric drill!

Now and then I get the feeling that my space should be in better order and that everything should have its designated storage spot where I’ll know exactly where to find it.  But then real life kicks in and sure enough, “where do I put this?” happens again.  Oh well.  There’s always the Junk Drawer.

 

Wordless Wednesday #4

Wordless Wednesday #4

SO ready for Spring!

Wordless Wednesday #3

Wordless Wednesday #3

From the garden at the Mayflower Society Museum, Plymouth, MA, October 2013