I have been a student in the Neosho School District throughout my primary school career. I started my visit in first grade field school. Ms. Land was my first grade teacher. After completing three grades of Field School, I went to Intermediate School and sat under Mr. Allen.
There were no breaks at Intermediate, instead physical activity was provided through participation in a fitness class conducted under the guidance of Mr. Bud Powell. (This will become relevant later.)
From day one, I took the same bus and sat next to Steve Cook. Steve lived a mile north of me and was a year older, but he was my bus mate and friend. Two short weeks into my fifth year, which was vitally important anyway because that year classes began with teachers teaching certain subjects, I was presented with the news that we were moving.
The move was due to my father’s employment as a ranch manager at the Breeding Oil Transport Company, based in Tulsa. Hugh Breeding, owner of the company, owned a ranch in Maysville, Arkansas. This ranch had about three hundred registered Polled Hereford herds and several hundred acres of land. While not a major operation, it provided the manager and his family with a huge home that did not reflect the size of the community or school I wanted to attend.
I traveled from fifth grade with multiple teachers to two room school with first three grades in one room and fourth through sixth grades in another. Before I arrived, there were only second and sixth graders in the second room.
This school had cutouts for all grades and every lunch was prepared by a cook who lived directly across from the school house. It was home cooked meals, good food, with no institutional food. Behind the west edge of the schoolyard was a harvest field that was actually in Oklahoma. You see, Maysville was a frontier town with an extraordinarily rich and violent history. Positioned with one leg in the Indian Territories in Arkansas, it had been a destination for many infamous characters. It was entertaining to see certain “notorious” students cross this invisible plane and challenge teachers from another state. A position they had reason to believe would save them from retaliation. It has not. It was a stone’s throw from the schoolhouse steps.
I only had one year in Maysville. We finished fifth grade and then moved to our new home in Newtonia. I completed the remaining seven years of public education in the East Newton School District. When I got into high school the Triway Campus and Granby Campus were combined and I found myself back in school with Steve Cook. We had a couple of hours together. Steve now lives three miles north of me, just across the street from where my parents lived when I was born. Little world!
-Paul Richardson is the owner of In Sane Marketing. He also writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.