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Back In The Day
I interviewed my grandmother Iris Manning Songy. Iris is 80 years old and was born August 5, 1929. She is a very joyful, religious woman who I look up to and admire greatly. I picked her to interview because I wanted to learn about the past, high school in particular, from a woman who had a great life and experienced it all. I wanted to see what old time high school was life from her eyes.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Sulphur Springs, Florida. I lived there all throughout my childhood life.
What were your parents like?
A. Well my dad loved to go fishing and he owned and worked at a battery business where they made and sold batteries. He was a dedicated hard working man. My mom was a stay at home mom that was always happy and jolly. Whenever I came home from school she was always singing and always walked around barefoot.
What did you like to do most as a child?
My friends and I loved to go swimming in the Sulphur Springs pool and play all the pool games like volleyball. We would race from one end to the other everyday.
Did you have a favorite teacher? How did they influence you?
A. Sister Marie. She was my 1st grade and freshman teacher. Her love of children passed on to me. She was so dedicated to helping every student out.
Who was your best friend and what did you do together?
Audrey Roe. She was my best friend from 1st grade to 12th grade. She lived down the street from me. When we were young we would swing and jump rope during recess. We played all the childhood games together.
What was the happiest moment in your childhood?
When I won a Jesus of Prague statue in school. I was in 1st grade. The teachers put everybody’s name that had been good all year in a hat and they pulled my name. I was very proud of that statue. My aunt stole the statue without me knowing. She had put clothes on it so I wouldn’t recognize the statue. I told her that when she died that I wanted the statue. When she did die I found out that the statue was the one that I had won.
What was high school like?
High School was interesting, fun, and hard, but the nuns were always there to help. We thought of it as a fun place to learn and we were excited to go to school. All the students from the 1st grade class graduated together. We did not have any drop outs or any students move away. All of the classmates new each other and worked together. We were like one big happy family.
What subjects did you study in High School?
Latin, Algebra, Geography, Typing, Religion, English, Civics, Biology, and Physical Education. We had the same subjects as students have today except Latin.
What is the biggest difference about high school today compared to high school when you were there?
We had a lot more all girls’ school. Today you see a lot more public schools. I also went to an all girls’ college and you rarely see those these days. It’s different because there were many types of school back then. Today theirs mostly public and catholic schools.
Did you participate in any activities in high school? For example band, sports, or clubs?
I participated in a few clubs mostly the Latin Club, Science Club, and Sociality Club which was a club formed with a group of people over certain interests. I tried out for the basketball team a couple times but never made it sadly.
If you could go back and change one thing about your high school life, what would it be?
Nothing. I loved my high school just the way it was. I wouldn’t change a thing.
As I asked each question I could see her eyes light up as if she were being interviewed on national television. Her school was the world to her and she wouldn’t trade it for anything. As she thought long and hard about the past school I thought,” Wow, I wish we could all be dedicated to school like she was. It would make school a much better place.” In the next story she talks about her struggles getting to the only catholic school in the area so she could get a fine religious education. She had to travel so far because the section of Florida she lived in was mostly Baptist and Protestant.
“Going to school for the first time was tuff. There was only one catholic school and the area and it was over 30 miles away. Every morning me and my mom would drive 7 country blocks to the public bus line. Then I would get on the bus and ride for 30 miles. When I got off I would have to walk 3 more country blocks to the school. It was tough to do every morning. The first morning my mother would ride with me but after that I would have to go by myself. After I finished college my mother told me that she got her best friend to follow me and watch me go to school secretly so I would get there safe.”
After hearing this story my admiration grew knowing she would work so hard and go so far for this education. Most students dread getting up and going to school. But this little girl loved to do it, all the way through college. In the next story she talked about one afternoon on the public bus as she was on her way home.
“I was in 2nd grade and I was riding the bus home one day and I was leaning out the window. I accidently dropped my schoolbag out of the window. I asked and begged the driver to let me go get it but he wouldn’t let me. Some old ladies sitting in the front of the bus told the driver to let me get my schoolbag and he finally did. As I ran to get it I cried the whole way saying “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me.”
So after interviewing this great woman I learned the true dedication of a great scholar. Also I learned how far a person will go to get a good education on the way to become very successful in life. My maw maw is a great leader and inspirational person to me and I always will look up to her. After I did the interview I helped her get the Christmas decorations down and still I thought of how great of a woman she was. I respect this great woman and always will.