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Looking Back at Woodbury,
 
Wads of Gum & Old School Houses
by Risa Clapper
Submitted: 2-17-2013

Boy-oh-boy was I in trouble!  A fellow student told on me and I was reprimanded in front of the whole class. My sixth-grade teacher questioned how breaking the "no chewing gum at school rule" had anything to do with breaking The Guinness Book of Records?

Our teacher, Robert King, was 65 years old and enforced old school rules. So he wasn't impressed that my friend Sharon Byers and I were making the world's longest gum wrapper chain and needed gum chewers. Before our detainment, I bought over 100 sticks of gum, took off the outer colored wrappers for our chain, and sold each aluminum piece on the playground for a penny. I clearly got away with my new business long enough to purchase a second batch of gum. But I undeniably ended up with more gum than I could chew and Sharon ended up making gum wrapper chain curtains for her bedroom.

My father, too, has a gum story from when he attended the same school in the late 1930s. Mrs. Yoder caught him chewing a whole roll of bubble gum before he chomped out all the flavor. She immediately sent him to the principal's office where Mr. Snavely instructed dad to sign his name to a piece of paper and stick his wad to it.

During the school's year-end awards assembly, kids were called up to center stage and were teasingly pinned with their wad of gum. Dad waited for his name to be called, but optimistically thought his wad to be overlooked as Mr. Snavely began his introduction about an honored student that he wanted to introduce to the school.

Dad's hopes soon vanished when he heard how that honored student just won the award for the largest wad of gum to ever be chewed at Woodbury Joint School. Bobby Guyer then took his place to be pinned with his huge wad of gum.

My granddaddy, Wineland Guyer, was never without a pack of Wrigley's in his pocket, so I can only imagine him getting caught with gum at school too. Granddaddy died 36 years ago when I was only nineteen. He was a great conversationalist and story teller, so it's a bit disappointing that I have never heard his version of the following legendary story about when he went to school.

Being the eldest of eight children, he graduated from high school before the new Woodbury Joint School was built in 1930. In his earlier years, he attended Mt Joy, the small one room schoolhouse which is still beautifully maintained and kept on the Herman Ritchey farm not far from Woodbury.

According to Granddaddy's brother Jake Guyer, who just recently passed away at age 96, Wineland was a preteen and just learning how to handle guns. One day his curiosity got the best of him when he slipped out during class under the pretense of using the outhouse. Instead, he quietly made his way into the coal house to check out the rifle he spied there earlier.  While fiddling with the firearm it shockingly went off!

Students were all in their seats when the gun fired a bullet straight through the school's front door hitting the centrally located potbelly stove.

The Game Warden was called, the school directors had a meeting, and of course, plenty of rumors went round. Although I don't know the actual outcome, I assume Granddad never forgot this incident; especially since he drove by that little schoolhouse every day. Interestingly, a mark from the gunshot remains on the front door to this very day.

Fortunately for many of us, we can still laugh about the funny things we did in elementary school; whether it was how we got caught chewing gum or a myriad of other experiences that flash across our minds.  Those long gone days of school will sweetly haunt us for all time.

[This is a revised story from Risa's "Looking Back" column that runs in the Morrisons Cove Herald.]

 


Click on photo to enlarge
Mount Joy One Room Schoolhouse on Pulpit Road near Woodbury, PA
Photo submitted by:
Kathy Baker
https://www.facebook.com/bakersphotobench


Click on photo to enlarge
Interior of Mount Joy One Room Schoolhouse
Photo submitted by:
Kathy Baker
https://www.facebook.com/bakersphotobench


Click on photo to enlarge
Stove in Mount Joy One Room Schoolhouse
Photo submitted by:
Kathy Baker
https://www.facebook.com/bakersphotobench


Click on photo to enlarge
Left to Right: Bobby Guyer's School Photo (1936),

Wineland Guyer at the approximate age of the gun incident (circa 1916),
 Wineland Guyer’s 1923 high school graduation photo
Photos submitted by:
Risa Clappr


Click on photo to enlarge
Woodbury Joint School (circa-mid-1940s)
Photos submitted by:
Risa Clappr







                       

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