September 30, 2013 11:28am
|I am proud to say I knew Leroy when! He and I started to Kasper School together in the 1930's. We went to school together and graduated together from Poth High.
I talked to him one day recently and then wrote this story about him for the Wilson County News. This is my story. Julia your married a good man. And your daughters and sons are a blessing to you, and I am sure they were to Leroy too. When I met them I saw the love they had for their daddy and grandpa, and then I knew you and Leroy did good as parents. Love and Blessings to you and the kiddos.
The story of Leroy Schneider and me at school
Leroy Schneider and I went through the 1st grade at Kasper School through the 12th grade at Poth High School together. There were times when Leroy and I were the only two kids in our grade at Kasper. We very seldom missed school.
I sat in Leroy’s living room visiting with him and his lovely wife Julia the other day. We talked about those long ago days at Kasper when Johnnie Carnes, Alfreda Poth, and Leissner Poth were our teachers, which was in the late ‘30s and ‘40s until 1947, when we went on the bus to Poth High.
We left Kasper to go to Poth when we were sophomores.
When Leroy started to school and for a few years, he rode to school in a buggy with his sister Ruby who was five years older. They had a two-wheeled buggy pulled by a donkey! A few years later, Leroy rode a horse to school along with his friend Alphonse Theis. They put them in some horse stalls, which were built specifically for students to put their horses during school. His horse, a red roan, was named Champion. They rode these horses to school and then they rode bicycles. They left Kasper to ride the school bus to Poth High in 1947. Leroy said he continued to ride his horse into Poth on weekends, during his “courting days”.
He related a story about something that cured him of cheating in school. He was in the first or second grade and during spelling he had his book open in his desk and would peek down to see how to spell the words and copy them. Miss Carnes caught him and she made him stay in at recess and that embarrassed him so much he said he never cheated ever again!
Leroy said “I always envied Billy Haese when he would come to school with his lunch and he would have his “bought bread” and mayonnaise and a big ole piece of bologna or sausage on there and here I would be with my home made bread and jelly sandwich! I would think how I wish I was rich like he was so I could have “bought bread” and mayonnaise!”
As we sat there and talked about the old days and the fun we had at recess and the games we played, Leroy brought up something I had forgotten. On Friday afternoons the classes would play games in the classroom, like “Blind man’s Bluff” or “I Spy”. We looked forward to that each Friday. Or sometimes the teacher would read “Treasure Island” to us.
Leroy talked about what a good thing it was for three or four classes to be in one room, because the lower classes learned from the older classes. We did that, because when the 5th grade was having spelling, we in the 3rd grade could hear and learn too. Leroy and I decided it was a big advantage.
Leroy said, “When we were in Mr. Poth’s room, it was the boys’ job to go chop the wood in the winter time for the wood heater in the school rooms. We thought we were important: we got to get out of class to do that!”
As we talked about our softball team back then, Leroy mentioned two things that stand out in his memory. Mr. Poth would play with us sometimes and every time he came up to bat, he would hit the ball so hard it went over their heads, over the outhouses way out back and into the pasture, where you could hardly find the ball. Mr. Poth was a big man! The other memory was when he was batting one time and Billy Haese was pitching (we played fast pitch), and my brother Lawrence was catching (he was two years younger than me), and when Leroy swung the bat, Lawrence reached up to catch the ball and Leroy hit him in the head with the bat.
He said, “I didn’t knock him out fortunately”.
Leroy said he was so worried about my brother that day, and felt so bad about what happened. But he was okay.
When Leroy went into Poth High, he decided to play football, though he had never seen a football in his life or even knew the game. He played football for three years. When he graduated he went on to college at Kingsville A&I. When he got his degree, he joined the army and was sent to France for two years. He got a letter in France, from Jack Lane, the superintendent in Poth asking him if he wanted a job teaching when he got home. When he landed in New York he called him and Mr. Lane offered him a job teaching 5th grade migrant workers kids.
He gladly took the job and began teaching the class in a hallway upstairs in the old two-story elementary school building. From there he was moved to Herman Sons Hall, and had his class in the front of the building, then went to the “club room” then to a “dressing room” at the Hall. Next year he was asked to teach science in 6th, 7th and 8th grades.
Leroy started teaching in Poth Schools in 1955 and taught for 34 years until he retired in 1989. During that time he drove a school bus, taught school, was Jr. High principal, and coached Jr. High sports: football, basketball, softball, and volleyball. The first several years he coached he was not paid. But he did it because he loved it. Finally the district had enough money to pay him extra to coach.
I run into people all the time since I came back to Wilson County who remember Leroy Schneider as their Jr. High School Principal or coach. They have good things to say about him. I am proud to say I knew him before that!