Memories of Bratenahl in the 1930s

Recollections of Anne Olsen (Gaskins), Robert Graham, Alice Buzzeli (Visci) and Gloria Fort (Lofman)

Anne Olson (Gaskins), 8th Grade Class of 1935

Memory:  My class from first through eighth grade was boy-heavy. I was the only girl for many of the grades. Memories are strongest of Miss [Edna] Aldredge, Miss [Julia] Miller's creative teaching, Miss [Jessie] McKee, and of course, Miss [Selma] Sandberg, who made me rewrite my autobiography because she remembered my sister's as having been so much better. When I was five years old, my five o’clock activity was to watch the lamplighter come down the boulevard with his small ladder and light each streetlamp.

[Anne Olson Gaskins was born on April 2, 1921 to Charles and Hilda Olson.  While attending the Bratenahl School, Anne lived at 13501 Lake Shore Boulevard.  Anne attended 1st Grade to 8th Grade at the Bratenahl School, graduating with the Class of 1935.]

Robert William Graham, 8th Grade Class of 1937

Memory: Those of us at the eastern end of the village had our special activities. Going back and forth to school on the bus provided some unique experiences. I remember the bus drivers. First there was Russell who fascinated me with his stories about airplanes, and how he claimed to be a pilot as well as a bus driver. Next, we had Al who was an older and more conservative driver. Although I remember him allowing Billy Waters [7th Grade Class of 1938] to steer the bus with Billy sitting on Al’s lap.

Lake Shore Drive, although short in length, had a great population of kids. There were two distinct age brackets: Helen and Victoria Divorky, Raymond and Florence Langer, and Margaret and Dorothy Sherod were the older set. Shirley and Norman Jones, John Baldwin, Morris, Dorothy and Sylvia Greenberg, George Scoville, and I made up most of the younger set. Sometimes the two groups mingled for a thrilling game of kick-the-can on a summer evening. Also, there were the baseball games at the vacant lot that bordered on East 140th Street. I remember breaking Greenberg’s dining room window with a foul tip. My Dad promptly fixed it and that event didn’t prevent us from continuing our coed sport.

Several who lived on Lake Shore Boulevard were involved in the activities on the east end. Eddie Smith, Henrietta (Louise) Scholl, Ann Olson, and Dick Cerrezin were some of them. White City Beach in the summer, and the steep banks down to the lake for winter sledding are great memories. I also remember the polio scares which prevented us from using the White City Beach for at least one summer.

All of us former Bratenahl students remember Mrs. [Zoe Long] Fouts for her dynamic instruction in music. I am not a musician, but I certainly enjoy good music and much of that appreciation of music I attribute to Mrs. Fouts. Often, when I hear a piece played on the radio or on one of my CDs, or I attend a concert, I remember being introduced to that music while I was attending Bratenahl School. I have distinct memories of how Mrs. Fouts acquainted us with various instruments comprising a symphony orchestra. Music appreciation is another worthwhile component of our education experience we gained at Bratenahl School.

Bratenahl School was an exceptional place. I know that I am deeply indebted to the devoted teachers. They gave us such a firm foundation in the three "Rs", the arts, and the intangibles that relate to the quality of life. Because our classes were small, we benefited from individual instructional attention. Miss [Sara] Bair gave me individual lessons in algebra, which enabled me to finish my high school math requirements before I finished 12th grade.

[Robert William Graham was born on October 10, 1922 to William and Annie Graham.  His father was a builder.  While attending the Bratenahl School, Robert lived at 13800 Lake Shore Boulevard.  Robert attended the Bratenahl School from 1st Grade to 8th Grade, graduating was the Class of 1937.]

Alice Buzzeli (Visci), 8th Grade Class of 1937

Memory: I should add my memory of Zoe Long Fouts and her always perfectly groomed blond hair. The kindly Mr. [Ira] Smith. Selma Sandberg and her ten words per week to spell and define. And still being fearful of going to Miss [Sara] Bair's office.

[Alice Buzzeli Visci was born on September 14, 1923.  While attending the Bratenahl School, Alice lived at 11808 Lake Shore Boulevard.  Alice attended the Bratenahl School from 1st to 8th Grade, graduating with the Class of 1937.]

Gloria Fort (Lofman), 8th Grade Class of 1938

Memory: God bless Miss [Sara] Bair, the principal; likewise, the teachers too, and all the little children that went to Bratenahl School. Miss [Selma] Sandberg, who taught me how to use the dictionary. Miss Bair made me a good mathematician, and last but not least, Miss [Rose] Schafer taught me the difference in red and white corpuscles.

[Gloria Fort Lofman was born on April 30, 1922 to Richard and Clara Fort.  While attending the Bratenahl School, Gloria lived at 10618 Lake Shore Boulevard.  Gloria attended the Bratenahl School for 7th Grade and 8th Grade, graduating with the Class of 1938.]