Centerpoint School Days  by Floree Ray King  

Center Point School was a one room building located in northeast Monroe County Mississippi. This building was used for both school and church. According to records the school building was on the third site, when I started to school in the fall of 1920. It was located about one and one half miles from our home. Some homes were farther from the school than ours, and a few were closer. Everybody had to walk to school in that day. Our heat was from a wood burning heater.

The first thing every morning after we got in the school room and were seated, our teacher would call the roll. If you were there you answered by saying "present".

We had chapel exercise once or twice each week. We had an organ and Ruby Pickle, a student, played it for us to sing. The only song that I can remember we sang was "Where the Soul Never Dies".

During study period, if we wanted to talk to a classmate about our school work, we got permission by snapping a thumb and finger loud enough for the teacher to hear, then we held our hand up to see if she said that we could or could not go.

We got our water from a spring that was a long distance from the school house. We had a tank or water cooler that held five or more gallons of water. Two of the boys would carry it to the spring and bring water and set it on a table in the school room. All the students stood in line and marched to the tank, which had a faucet on it, and filled their glass.

This one room building had only one teacher. From the first grade throught the eighth grade was taught.

What we called recess then, is now called break. We had two recess each day, one in mid morning and one in the afternoon. I do not remember how much time we got, but I suppose just long enough to grab

a biscuit from our lunch bucket. Everyone carried their lunch in a bucket, which was lined with a piece of newspaper or a sheet torn from a Sears Roebuck Catalog. We had one hour for lunch. After we had eaten our lunch, we made our way to the ball ground. Sometimes we played other games, but baseball was our favorite game. Our ball ground had a low place on the right of it, we called that a "hollow". One of the students, Sallie Black, was a left handed batter. I remember what she said once when it came her turn to bat the ball. Sallie said "I’m going to put this one way down in the bottom of the hollow"! I suppose she did for she was a good batter. The balls we had then were made of thread that was raveled from a home knitted stocking. The thread was wrapped around a piece of sponge. It was wrapped in different positions until it formed the shape of a ball. It was wrapped until it was a normal size ball. It was hard and firm.

Miss Maude Grace was mine and two of my sisters, Mila and Onay Ray’s teacher in 1920. We never knew where her home was, but she stayed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lucian Pickle while she taught our school.

My sister, Onay Ray Beard, who is 88 years old now, borrowed a history book from a friend in March of this year, 1998. While she had the book, she found some history of a Grace family that had moved from Walker County Alabama and settled in the Lackey Community in Monroe County Mississippi in the 1800’s. After reading this, she found that it was Miss Maude Grace’s parents. Maude was born in 1878 in the Lackey Community, Monroe County Mississippi. Maude Grace was 42 years old when she taught our school at Center Point in 1920. The history book shows that she died in 1946. She was 68 years old when she died. She was buried in New Prospects Cemetery in the Lackey Community.

My sisters, Mila and Onay Ray and I went to school at Center Point for five years. Miss Madie Nunn taught in 1921. Miss Erma Posey taught in 1922. Clyde Camp taught in 1923 and Mrs. Pauline Brown taught in 1924.

There are only 12 of us Center Point students living today. They are Lula Scott Camp, Sulligent, Alabama; Minnie Pickle Gilliland, Detroit, Alabama; Fannie Mae Scott Gilmore, Care Center Vernon, Alabama; Sallie Black Gilmore, Detroit, Alabama; Eula Thompson Camp, Hatley Mississippi; Mamie Thompson Easter, Hatley, Mississippi; Florence Lewis Prestidge, Greenwood Springs, Mississippi; Onay Ray Beard, Greenwood Springs, Mississippi; Floree Ray King, Care Center Vernon, Alabama; Estell Pickle Perkins, Personal Care Home, Columbus, Mississippi and Eligie Adams Irvin, Sherman, Texas; and Curtis Scott , Amory Manor Nursing Home Amory, Mississippi.

After our school was moved to Sipsey Fork in 1925, we still had wood burning heaters and some of us still carried our lunch in buckets. One morning at recess, Leo and Orlen Blaylock opened their bucket to get a snack, and they both were very much disappointed! They had their Mother’s bucket of lard instead of their lunch. Their dad was hauling wood to the school that day with his mules and wagon, so they caught a ride home with him before lunch hour.

Note: Floree King lives in Care Center, Vernon, Alabama and is active in helping other with genealogical research. Article was written 1999.

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