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Thursday

September 2014

18

Fred H. Keller | Retrospect


North Lisbon School (1845-1975), part 2

The North Lisbon School, which ran from 1845 to 1975, recently held an all-school reunion at Lisbon Town Hall and Park on Woodside Road, spearheaded by brothers Lee and Thomas Rolfs. Lee Rolfs, who attended the second and third school buildings from 1958 to 1963, lives in retirement in Sussex.

All three rural schools are in a half mile radius of Woodside Road and North Lisbon Road, with the last one being built in 1958 and closing in 1975. It was quickly taken over by the town of Lisbon for its town hall and adjacent Town Hall Park.

Lee Rolfs brought the "specifications" book for bidding for the third North Lisbon School to the reunion. It had two large rooms, a long central hallway and then six cubby hole small rooms, listed as storage, kitchen, furnace, girls bathroom, boys bathroom and principal's office on the east side of the hall.

Meanwhile, a hand-written inventory of the school for legal purposes included $42,450 (building and site), plus the contents, "16 pairs of scissors ($3), every book in the library, two pencil sharpeners ($5.20) and globe ($29.25)." There was also $12,028.63 in the school's bank account.

Neat little side stories of the reunion attendees were gleaned for a Sussex Lisbon Area Historical Society three-ring binder on the 130-year history of the school.

Following are some highlights from former students:

Lee Rolfs listed his memory of school as "hanging around with Mike Wilson (who was killed in the Vietnam War)."

Other memories were of the "second school, being the outhouses for boys and girls." His favorite teachers were "Miss Vereguth, Mrs. McGill, Mrs. Schumann and Mr. Pomplin." Rolfs went on to serve in the Army from 1967-71; he was in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971.

His brother, Thomas Rolfs, had this comment about his life at North Lisbon School, "We learned more interesting things during recess than in the classroom." His favorite teachers were "Mrs. McGill and Miss Gault." However, he added, "I was a smart aleck, and Miss Gault whacked me on the back of my head and said, 'When I want any comments from you, I will ask for them.'"

His big memory in grade school was when President John F. Kennedy was killed and Miss Gault crying.

Les Koebler mentioned the mile walk to school on North Lisbon Road, adding, "past Mrs. McGill's home."

Meanwhile Toni Mayer (married name Hexom), who graduated in 1963, remembered a horrifying experience as she wrote, "The (nearby) woods flooded and froze over one winter. I fell in and a big eighth-grader saved me."

Robin Walters (married name Rateau) had a lengthy set of memories.

"I loved this school (which she attended until fourth grade). We had so much fun building (snow) forts, catching tadpoles in the spring time in the little pond in the woods, and skating on the pond in the winter. It was interesting to have so many grades in one room. The older kids helped the younger ones."

Then she had a story about Mrs. McGill.

"She threatened to use the hole puncher on my nose because I was talking in class."

She added, "Miss Gault and Miss Veraguth once came to our house for a visit in the winter and went sledding with us."

However, the big story Robin related was this. "When President Kennedy was shot, a boy in class had some appointment (maybe dental), when his mom came to pick him up. He quickly ran back into the school and told our classes the president was shot, and classes were stopped for the day. We all gathered around the radio and listened for the rest of the day."

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