Recollections of Steven Scott Smith
5th Grade Class of 1961
I attended Bratenahl School from kindergarten through the fifth grade and left with an indescribable sense of loss and sadness before adjusting to a much different life in Willoughby and then Mentor. Looking back, it was just like attending a private academy in a small English village – that tree-shaded, green-tinted, forsythia, highlighted hamlet by the lake.
Looking back, I have many memories of the mid-50s and early 60s:
The Bratenahl School:
- The large toy trucks in Mrs. Burger’s kindergarten. I ran one into a table and knocked off a table leg. The turquoise tea set.
- Finger painting.
- The little milk cartons in kindergarten.
- The kindergarten playground monkey bars. Billy Roediger [8th Grade Class of 1965], Bobby Zab [8th Grade Class of 1965], and I played rocket ship there in 1956 and 1957.
- Halloween 1957 – two people came as the “dancing cigarette packs” of a 1950’s commercial. Someone may have been dressed as a sputnik.
- Miss Warden's giant-sized copy of "On Cherry Street," which was on an easel. Or was this in Mrs. Arnold's Second Grade?
- Bus driver, Tony Misch, would put trouble-makers off the bus, and the police would drive them home.
- If you misbehave during the bus ride to school, you got “sent up” to Miss [Mary] Mounts.
- The 1956 Christmas program. We, kindergarteners, skipped around the stage in new shirts with ties and dresses.
- Miss Urshel’s fourth grade had a Thanksgiving play each year, with Captain John Smith, Indian Massasoit, and 40 offstage warriors.
- Summer school – Library Day.
- Playing the “Farmer in the Dell” with Mrs. [Dorothy] Burger’s kindergarten class in the gym.
- Digby swinging his whistle in fifth-grade boys' gym class.
- School open houses. It was so unusual to see the school at night when it was dark outside.
- In the early 1960s – Saturday movies were shown in the school auditorium/gym.
- “Johnny Appleseed” the spring school play.
- Miss Barr's kiln, to fire our clay items. She liked Henri Matisse, the French painter.
- Fanney, the school doctor.
- Music teacher, Mr. James Savage, and his sedan with real wood trim. When he left to go to a new music school, he was succeeded by Miss Jacobs (?), who drove a black Volkswagen Karman-Ghia sports car.
- [Dorothy] Burger’s 1956 violet and white Ford Crown Victoria.
- Bank day – Society National Bank sponsored this. Students acted as tellers. One day per week in, I think, Mr. Neely’s room.
- Miss [Mary] Mounts teaching us Geography. I remember studying Malaya and the fruit “Mangosteens.”
- Spelling bees in the fourth grade with Miss Urshel.
- Flashcards for arithmetic in fourth grade.
- The annual year-end school picnic in the park.
Growing up in Bratenahl:
- Village officials brought Santa through the village in a green dump truck, taking a goodies bag to every child.
- Every child received a long rubber sword at Chris McFarland's birthday party about 1958. That was probably not too popular with parents. Chris was good friends with Brian Macke [8th Grade Class of 1965].
- The annual Cub Scout Circus in the park. Monthly meetings in the gym.
- A 1960 (?) chartered bus trip to “The Blue Hole” with the cub scouts.
- In 1958 and 1959, the sad sound of power saws throughout the village because of Dutch Elm Disease.
- Summer day camp at the playground.
- At 140th Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, there was a Mobil gas station with a towering neon "Flying Red Horse" with moving red neon wings.
- The Lakeshore Country Club with its golf course, swimming pool, and cabanas.
- The Wellman's vintage gray Rolls Royce was often parked on 105th
- The Eagle Supermarket, barbershop, and toy store on 140th (Taken out for the freeway). The newer Lawson’s store on East 140th Street.
- The Persell girls, Bonnie [8h Grade Class of 1955] and Peggy [8th Grade Class of 1959], babysat for me and my brothers, Dan and Ted. Once, Bonnie took us downtown, in the evening, on the bus to the Palace Theater to see "101 Dalmatians."
- Sled riding on hills by Liberty Boulevard.
- Dining at Maharis’ Restaurant, off Liberty Boulevard, and the Black Angus Steakhouse.
[Steven Scott Smith was born on May 18, 1951 to Robert and Elizabeth Smith. While attending the Bratenahl School, Steven lived at 13401 Lake Shore Boulevard. Steven attended grades kindergarten to 5th Grade at the Bratenahl School.]