Jogging Your Mind

Questions from your classmates about Oxford Elementary; answers in red
Key to respondents: JD = Jimmy Dean; JM = Judy Mazia; JSH = Janet Scott Humphreys

Jogging Your Mind #1 (from Kent Rasmussen)

--what became of Bruce Duncan? Where did he go after Oxford? Did he go to Garfield? Is he still alive? Did he ever do art work professionally? Bruce is very much alive and may be coming to the Reunion on the 30th.  If so, ask him (JD).

--when did Oxford's Twilight Frolic (an evening event) become the daytime May Day festival, or whatever it was called?

--who played Santa Claus at the Christmas songfests? I remember Mr. Burgess playing Santa (father of Alethea, Blanford, and Warren). Correct? In our time Mr. Burgess often or usually played Santa.  He stopped eventually for reasons of health (JD).

--was the game of four-square newly invented while we were in grade school?

--did anyone ever die of chalk inhalation while cleaning chamois rags on the chain link fences? (I recall that chore as being highly coveted--even more so than passing out lunch cards.)

--why was Jimmy Dean wearing a sergeant's cap in the 1954 traffic boys picture?  I don't know but Norm Randolph also has a sergeant's cap (JD).

--who chose Ruth Kuznets as May queen?

--why did Jimmy Dean defend Ruth's honor after she treated him like dirt? Because he read too much Tom Sawyer. Besides, she was nice to him despite his idiotic phone call (JD).

--where did Tom Geiser go after Jimmy chased him out of town?

--what were the games we played on the bank of the lower playground? Dinky toys? trading cards (movie stars and sports figures)? sanding and smoothing
rocks?  Dinky toys for sure.  Mara, Eleanor Wootten, and other girls traded cards (JD).

Jogging Your Mind #2  (sent in by various classmates)

- I know I rode a bicycle to Oxford, at least by my last year, but I can't remember where we parked bikes. There must have been a special area for bikes--but where?  As far as the bike rack is concerned, I believe it was on the South end of the building, between the building and the bungalow (Miss Setbacken's room).  (JSH)

- Monday morning flag salutes. Didn't we line up in front of that porch and recite the salute? Who held the flag? I remember the day that Mr. Rhodes said that the phrase "under god" had been added to the Pledge of Allegiance. I seem to remember that in the first grade and rising next to our desks and putting our hands over our hearts to recite it.  I vaguely remember the flag/outside ceremony, but not as vividly as the next-to-desk pledging.

- Was there really a room "behind the cafeteria," as everyone keeps putting it.

- Does anyone remember a classmate kicking the kickball from the lower terrace and hitting the clock on the upper terrace, demolishing its protective glass? Or is it my imagination?  Who could kick a ball that far?

Jogging Your Mind #3  (from various classmates)

1. I notice that some Oxford classes are split up in odd ways. It appear that there were two first and second grade classes, but it was not always the case that all sixth graders (L6, H6) were together. In 1955, nine L6 graders were in with the 5th grade class and six L6 graders were in with the H6 graders. The Feb. graduating classes were always very small and Oxford administrators just fit the students where they could. It wasn¹t always the same students who were put in the upper class. Does anyone know how these divisions were made? By the parents? By the teachers? Randomly? By the intellectual level? By last name? To separate troublemakers?  To put friends together?  I'm at a loss for the reason.

I thought we were assigned to "'high" or "low" grades by our birthdates.  The cut-off was December.  I was a late Nov. birthdate, so I was one of the youngest people in our grade level.  At the time that was really important to me.  There were some exceptions to the rule.  For instance, Dave Gordon was skipped up a half grade because he was "smart".  As to classroom assignments, I think Mr. Rhodes made the ultimate decisions.  But I don't know for sure. (JM)

2. I know I rode a bicycle to Oxford, at least by my last year, but I can't remember where we parked bikes. There must have been a special area for bikes--but where?  While we were at Oxford, a bungalow classroom was added to the campus. (I think it was moved there from another school, not built on the site.) My
recollection is that it was used for classes younger than ours. Does anyone recall the bungalow? Were you ever in the bungalow?

I think there was a bike rack on the Upper Terrace, outside the boy's bathroom (to the right of the steps leading to the cafeteria).  There was a portable classroom on the Upper Terrace, on the south side of the school building.  I think it was there the whole time I was at Oxford.  One of the lower grades used the classroom.  (JM)

3. It now appears certain that there were multiple classes for at least a few grades that our group went through (we have two different first grade pictures from 1950, and the sixth graders were divided in 1955). What mystifies me now is *where* the extra classes were roomed. Was Mrs.Swartout's first grade class in the north wing of the main building? I've never had any doubts about the existence of a classroom at the west end of the cafeteria building. My memories of being there through the second grade are too clear to have doubts on that point. I'm now wondering if that room could have been used for other grades in other years.

4. Does anyone else have any Bruce Duncan artwork? Does anyone know where he is?

I used to have Bruce's sketchbook, but it burned in the Oakland Firestorm.  (JM)

5. Does anyone have a photo of Mrs. Rutherford? She passed away only a few years ago.

I don't have any photo of Mrs. Rutherford.  I know she lived well into her 90's.  She had a cabin on Fallen Leaf Lake and would go hiking up in the Sierra's until shortly before she died.  (JM)

Jogging your Mind #4 -- submitted by various classmates.

1. Does anyone remember the staircase going up to the bell tower?

2. Was there ever a bell in the tower and if so, when was it rung?

3. Which other girls were in the Blue Birds besides Marcia Miller, Melody Meyers, and Ann Walsh?