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home : news : history August 01, 2014

7/24/2013 8:43:00 PM
I Remember
By Charles Wall

Goodnight School was consolidated to Perkins at the end of the school year, May 1946. The building was continued to be used as a neighborhood meeting place.

Eliza Chrystal Harrison taught at the Goodnight School 1907-08. In 1949, she was postmistress at Goodnight. She and husband C. A. Harrison had the general store at Goodnight. She had the idea of having a Goodnight School reunion. The date set for the first reunion was Sunday afternoon, August 21, 1949. The idea caught on.

The meeting was publicized, letters were sent out, and 150 people showed up. About 55 were former students and the rest were spouses, children, and friends.

The group had a basket dinner.

After the dinner, food and dishes were put away, and the room was prepared for the meeting. The old school bell in the belfry was rung. Those inside the building were told to take their seats. Those outside lined up in two straight lines and marched in in orderly manner.

The meeting opened by having various activities and lessons of a normal school day. They sang "School Days," "America, " and "The More We Get Together, The Happier We'll Be." Then they had the flag salute.

The meeting had history class. Eight of the former teachers were present, an they were given recognition. Bee Chrystal, the very first teacher in 1903, was present.

As the name of each former teacher was called out, those who attended school at that time stood up. There were even three there who attended that first year in 1903.

The next lesson was geography. One person had come in from New York City, two from Los Angeles, four from Arkansas City, four from Muskogee, and the rest from an area within 70 miles of Goodnight.

After geography was composition. Each former student was asked to write a few words giving facts about themselves.

An added feature of the reunion was a 4-H Team Demonstration given by 4-H members Jacqueline Ridpath and her teammate from Tryon School on "Production of Clean Milk." Every time 4-H members present their demonstration, they can count attendance, and enter it in their record book. It increases their chances of a state 4-H award.

Jacqueline's father Jack had a dairy farm east of Tryon. Jack was a former student at Goodnight. Jacqueline's mother was Gladys Cooper Ridpath who taught at Goodnight School 1929-1930. 4- H activities were quite common at rural schools. The 1949 reunion group decided to meet again the next year on the third Sunday of August. These annual meetings continued until 1970.

The class dismissed and many of the crowd stayed around and visited and enjoyed cold watermelon provided by E.L. McCarty.

I want to thank Juanita Lamb, daughter of former student Earl Lamb, for furnishing copies of the Goodnight School Reunion Newsletter, which had been edited by my mother Sybil. I also had access to Perkins Journal news items about the reunions and an article in Robert and Yvonne Evans' book Cimarron Legends. I remembered the reunions, but I depended on these printed materials for details.

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