Mr. McAllister, at John Deere Junior High, called us the Garfield Gashouse Gang. He said we were not like any other grade school kids going into junior high. We had a unity and spirit that drew us together.
Three of us, all friends, went to Yale. Larry Eyre went to Yale College and Yale Divinity. I went to Yale Divinity. Ann Johnson went to the Yale School of Music. At our 40th reunion she was playing music in Germany.*
Bruce Johnson and Larry Eyre seemed to clean up the awards when graduating from Moline High School.
My mother taught at Garfield for many years. She said our class was one of the smartest she ever taught. She meant the whole cohort - three sixth grade classes that year. She had one. Miss Maynard had one. Liz Copeland's mother, Mary, had the other class.
Mrs. Hallie Emory was one of our fifth grade teachers. She was strict, organized, and a great teacher. One basilisk stare from her could paralyze anyone. She made it clear that physical punishment was always an option. She liked to pinch the trapezius muscle, as debilitating as the future Vulcan death-grip.
We had wonderful teachers at Garfield: Mrs. McMillen, Mrs. Parks, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Emory. One was famous for her great singing voice (name?). My mother was enormously popular with students and parents, especially those parents whose children changed under her discipline. She preferred the knuckle-knock on the head, seldom used but always effective.
When one student spit at another student, my mother said, "Spit on my hand." He said, "Why?" She said, "Nevermind, spit." She got a good handful and rubbed it all over his face. The same student (name withheld) said, more than 40 years later: "Write a book about your mother. She was a remarkable teacher."
*"After graduating from Yale, Charles Deere Wiman returned to Moline to take over the reins of Deere & Company from his uncle, William Butterworth."