Class History 1928-1939
Turley School

Contributed by Lois (Carnes) Wilsey and
Guy Tomlinson, Jr.
Class of 1939

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September 1928, saw a group of about forty children leaving the 'home nests' for the first time, to ride a school bus to Turley School. There they were greeted by a nice young woman, whose name was Ozema Manasco. For the next nine months, she was to tutor this lively group of boys and girls, in reading, writing, arithmetic, phonics, and grammar. Her jobs were many, drying tears from unhappy faces, wiping runny noses, getting the children's lunch boxes/snacks distributed at lunch time, and helping children get into coats and caps, when the cold wind blew.

The elementary classes were held in the old structure built in 1908. The school rooms were heated by a large coal burning stove, which the school janitor came in occasionally to stoke the fire and add additional fuel to last through the day. In the hallway was a drinking fountain where we took turns satisfying our thirst. The bathroom facilities were located outside, on the school grounds. (just outdoor toilets).

We joined reading circles, where we repeated line after line, from our Reader, "I am a Gingerbread boy, I am, I am; I can run, I can, I can", etc. We colored, cut and glued in our workbooks (remember the smell of the white paste we used? - and some probably remember the taste too).

September 1929, saw most of the same faces starting their second school year with a young teacher by the name of Ada Brown. We were fortunate to be in a much newer building and would remain, the rest of our "Happy" school years at Turley, in the "hallowed walls" of this same structure, made of red brick and mortar.

In October 1929, the Stock Market crashed. This was the beginning of the "Great Depression", which was to last through our remaining school years. Our young minds did not realize the hardships our parents would experience in the months and years that were to follow.

Under the tutoring of the following elementary teachers: 3rd grade - Kathleen Baker; 4th grade - Elsie (McBurnett) Sexton; 5th grade - Evelyn Higdon; and 6th grade - Kathleen Baker ... we grew in wisdom and knowledge. We mastered our time tables, long division, and multiplication. We read and spelled with accuracy. Geography taught us the location of other continents and oceans. We learned about other races of people, how they lived and where.

September 1934, found us entering Junior High School. This year was a challenge for all of us ... with a different teacher, in different classrooms for each subject. Homework assignments seemed endless ... nine-week term tests and semester exams kept us in a dither.

Something new had been added to our school system ... a newly equipped "Home Economics" department for the girls. There, many of the girls made their first dresses and aprons. The skills learned in 'Home-Ec' ... sewing and cooking were invaluable in the years that lay ahead for them as homemakers. Anna Stoffer guided us through the trials in this department.

Also added to the school was an Industrial Arts department, actually a wood working shop, where many boys got their first "hands on" experience using a bandsaw, hammer, wood planes, etc. Raymond Johnson was the Instructor for the wood working shop. FFA classes were also available for the boys, where they had projects of raising animals, (cattle, pigs, rabbits), and chickens.

There was a teacher by the name of James M. (Matt) Hesser, our sponsor in our first two years of Junior High. He also served as coach for the wrestling team. Later he left the teaching profession and returned to college, becoming a physician.

The 9th grade saw new faces joining us, students from "Barnsdall 55" grade school, (located just west of Turley, on the Barnsdall Oil lease property). In May 1937,our class graduated 22 girls and 22 boys from Junior High School, with Raymond Johnson, class sponsor, at the helm. We had a special assembly where we were given our diplomas by our school principal, L. G. Roberson.

September 1937, we entered High School ... Hiram Alexander was our sponsor. He had coached both football and basketball at Turley, but for most of us, we will always remember him as teaching our Social Studies class from the 7th through the 11th grade. We covered everything from Chinese Culture to American History and U. S. Government.

Rumors were flying that Turley High School would be closing in a year or so. No confirmation was made until we entered our Junior year. Finally, we were officially told that this would be the last year there would be high school at Turley. For our Senior year (1940), we would be bussed to Tulsa Central High School, and be the first graduating class of Turley students to graduate under the new system. Although we were disappointed to know what the future was, (not graduating from Turley), we did enjoy our last year as classmates of so many years. Our approximate number, 50 "Turley Seniors", was merged into a Tulsa Central graduating class of over 1,000.

At Turley, Hiram Alexander and Marguerite Smith, were our sponsors and worked together in the "Progressive Education" course that was being introduced for the first time in the Public School system. We made the year a memorable one, celebrating with a "Hawaiian" dinner at the English Tea Room, in Tulsa.

September 1939, we started at Tulsa Central High School which was a trying experience for all of us. There we found halls and classrooms filled with strange faces. One class was made up of only former Turley students and we looked forward to that class period where we would be "among friends". Somehow we all survived that year and when graduation time came, we donned our caps and gowns with pride, walked down the aisle at the Coliseum, received our diplomas and bid farewell to our friends. Not many of us had made definite plans for the future, things were still in the throes of depression, jobs were scarce and college education was out of reach for most of us.

Germany was marching through Europe, swallowing up all the small countries. With this accomplished, she dropped bombs on England and spread her forces into Russia. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked our Naval base in Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt declared us officially at war with Japan and Germany ... the start of World War II. To my knowledge, all of our male and two female classmates served our country in some branch of the Armed forces. All survived to return home safely to our families.

It can be said that we are a generation of 'Survivors". We survived the "Great Depression" ... "the move from Turley, as Juniors, to graduate from Tulsa Central's class of 1940" ... and the "Big War" (World War Two).

This writing has been a joint venture into our class history at Turley from 1928 through 1939 by Lois (Carnes) Wilsey and Guy Tomlinson, Jr. Classmates from the "Beginning to the End" ... Turley School through High School Graduation from Tulsa Central.

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