Saturday, January 24, 2015

Russ Kawentel - Class of 1967

Recently, I received some great pictures and great memories of Memphis School from a former neighbor of mine, Russ Kawentel. It was nice reading Russ' reflections. I too, hold the bazaars that Russ mentions below as dear memories. I'm happy Russ reminded me of these special times. Let's now read Russ' recollections of our old school. I will also post more of his Memphis School photo-collection soon. Click on the above image or any images to enlarge.

Thank you, Russ!

I have some great memories of Memphis School as well. I started Kindergarten there in September 1961 (with Miss Eileen Goodnight, of course) and graduated in 1967. I too was in the safety patrol. I manned the Memphis Ave crossing along with Bertha Dudley, the school crossing guard. I also remember the “red-haired librarian” (though I recall it being bright orange). Her name was Mrs. Marquardt.  The photos of the swings brought back memories of the steel sliding board (burning hot in the summer) and the monkey bars (no padding underneath).  

I have attached a photo of my graduating class of 1967. I am in the back row, 2nd from right (click on image to enlarge).  You can see how large the class is.  Because they did away with the A and B classes in 1967, my B class was jumped forward half a year for June graduation. So this photo represents a combination of both the A and B classes.  

I never had Miss Baker, but my older brother and sister have vivid memories of her. She was in charge of the school safety patrol when my brother was a guard, and she demanded army discipline. All the boys in the patrol would keep a sharp lookout for her Checker car coming out of the parking lot, and would snap to attention as she drove by. And she would stand at the top of the staircase at the end of the day, watching as the students marched single file down the stairs and out the door for home. No running, no talking, eyes straight ahead, or else. When my sister's boot came off her foot on the stairs, she was so scared she just kept on going. She said she never breathed easy until she was across the street. 

If you remember Miss Dorn (my 1st grade teacher), she died just a few years ago. Her obituary (with photo) is at

My favorite teacher was Miss Krzepina in 5th grade. Years later, my sister, also an elementary school teacher, spoke with her when she was head of the Cleveland Public School's Math Department. She still remembered me. I hope for the right reasons.

My favorite school memory is of the bazaars they held in the basement gym. Games, contests, and cotton candy. Better than a church fair. I believe they were held as fund raisers for the PTA.

Anyway, great work on the web page. 
Keep it up, Russell Kawentel