Letter to the Editor

Early days at Eastside

Sunday, May 16, 2010

To the Editor:

Regina Paullus' recent article about the Eastside school cafeteria awakened my own memories.

So hear it goes.

I was a student at Eastside school during its opening years, 1958-65. Since there were no buses then in town to take the children to school, I walked to Eastside from my home on Tennessee Street.

In winter, my mother Marjorie would walk through the 7-9-inches of snow to bring and get me to and from school in my first three years there. We only had one car that dad used for work.

As mom said goodbye and I entered the rear entrance to the school near the boiler room, tempting smells awaited me from the kitchen cafeteria. Eastside's head cooks, Hila Sine and Pauline Julbert were preparing home-cooked meals for students throughout the day.

Since there were no restaurants near the school then, students depended on warm meals from the cafeteria to keep them going all day.

Only a few homes and a big woods occupied the area where Kroger Plaza is now.

My first memories of the cafeteria, though, were of 10 o'clock recess. Mrs. Betty Roberts and Mrs. Shirley McCullough would take our first-graders down for a milk break first. What impresses my memory now is that the milk came in glass bottles, sealed with a cardboard cover.

For 5 cents, you could get either cold chocolate or white milk, in 8-ounce bottles. I'd love to touch one of those bottles today.

But the noon meals, everyone's mouths would drool for.

Beef and noodles would consist of an "ordinary" meal one day.

Served with them were mashed potatoes, green beans (seasoned), carrot sticks, applesauce cake and milk. And the price for these homemade creations? Only 35 cents a meal.

I remember mom would save the menus printed each week on a "blue-rollered machine," and pattern her meals at evening around them.

Baked beans was also a specialty, and to this day, I try to make mine like those prepared in early days at Eastside.

I call them, "Mrs. Price's baked beans," named for Mrs. Dorothy Price, fifth-grade teacher then. She dearly loved them, while my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Dorothy Allen, loved Mexican flavored burgers, rare in those days on menus.

Mrs. Irene Swindle, Mildred Bucklin (sixth-grade) and Helen Newton and Helen Cheeseman (third- and fourth-grade) enjoyed just plain home-cooked, which Eastside cooks were known for.

Around 1963 or so, the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade library was located in the cafeteria in shelves along the north side. This was its home several years before the 1970s addition was built.

At days and the cafeteria were stilled filled with smiles of the meal of the day.

It's too bad now that only memories of those smells exist now, but still appetizing in so many ways of the early days of the cafeteria at Eastside.

David Krampe,

Student 1959-65,