As I entered fifth grade in 1966, there was a crazy option: a male teacher. Throughout my elementary school years at Farm Hill School at 390 Ridge Rd., there had never been a man in our daily midst, except the principal ... and at no time could I have told you who that was.
But in 1964, Wayne Kensel was hired as a fifth-grade teacher, and it was a pretty exciting event! And I was completely terrified about the possibility of having a male teacher.
I needn't have worried. I was put in Miss Sweetman's class, and she became my hero and the object of all my adoration. I loved her. I truly wanted to marry her. I remember my mom and I even drove by her house down at the shore, just so that I could see where she lived.
I was quite surprised when I discovered that it was "Mrs." Sweetman, and she had a spouse already. Even that didn't seem to hinder my plans to marry her later on. When it was explained to me that I couldn't marry another girl, it seemed pretty stupid to me. I guess I struggled with the concepts of love and marriage.
At Farm Hill School I also had Mrs. Copeland for kindergarten. She was the sweetest woman on the planet, and it was an honor to correspond with her when she was well into her 90s. I also had Mrs. Footit, who checked each child's fingernails every day! There was also Mrs. Dimock, Mrs. Morgan and Miss Cannata.
Recently, I've been emailing back and forth with Wayne Kensel, the fifth-grade teacher I didn't get assigned to. He sent me the greatest pictures of the interior of Farm Hill School from the mid-1960s. This school has since been demolished and replaced with a modern facility built in 1990.
The photos to the right brought back so many memories for me. I hope they do the same for some of you!