Student Letters


Memories of my school days in the Mahoning School are many. Thank God no one can take them from me!
I remember . . .

Skinning the cat on the railing on the front stoop.

Playing “Barley Over” over the schoolhouse roof.

Our last-day-of-school picnic out on the playground — yummy food!

Walking to Normal Square to rehearse for the program we put on over in the chapel.

Having soup brought in to the school was a treat. We had to bring our own bowls, and I remember falling on the way to school and breaking my bowl. Don’t remember if I did without soup that day or whether I went home for another bowl.

Jumping rope on the playground (and also having softball games).

Wintertime inside meant playing jacks on the desktops.

Our art classes consisted of taking a picture, putting a plain sheet of paper on top of it, and tracing the picture up against the window.

When we couldn’t go outside, we’d open the windows and do stretching exercises to get rid of some of our energy.

And then the recitation bench! I’ll always remember Kermit Frey going up to the bench, but he refused to talk or answer questions. Now they tell me they can’t shut him up!

Walker Sensinger had a good idea when he put books in Wallace Miller’s store & we were allowed to take them out and read them — our first contact with a library!

Walking to Sanders School to take our exam for entering Lehighton High School.

Ida Edwards, my teacher (I’m not sure what grade), telling us she had eyes in the back of her head. I guess some of us believed her!

Clapping the erasers — what an honor to be given that chore!s

And . . How proud we were to give the pledge of allegiance to our flag every morning.

From Ferne Berner Sensinger – 1990


I hope you have a good response to you request for school day memories – it is a real project.

It was so nice for you to attend our special Sunday and I am glad you brought Jane too.

We have had nothing but compliments about the day. In September we plan on seeing the video that was taken that day.

It is hot and muggy here and we are hoping for rain.

Our garden is doing well. We do a lot of freezing and canning this time of the year.

We are encouraging people to send in their school memories to you.



Caroline’s Comment:

Does anyone know anything about the video that Ferne mentioned?


Mrs Sensinger sent me home for a cap on a cold winter day. I lived only the second home from the school.

Our mother never made us wear a hat unless we wanted to. During the winter as long as the teacher could come to the school, sessions were not cancelled. One day we . had a deep snow. Mr. Kershener stopped at our house and took me piggy-back to school through the snow. I believe there was only one other student there.

To Caroline Zimmerman Johns, after the first reunion

My sister and brother, Rose and Paul (both deceased) were also pupils at Mahoning School. I remember very well going for water to fill the water cooler to Mrs. Schock’s across the street and to Mrs. Sittler’s, next door. I also remember ringing the bell, and cleaning the blackboard and taking the erasers outside to rid them of the dust.

The one day, I will never forget is the class trip (1942) to Mrs. Edward’s house in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe). She had a big dinner waiting for us. From there we made a trip of the Asa Packer Mansion and then we took the train to Lehighton to the Classic Theatre to see “Gone With the Wind”.

The pupils in that class were:
  • Thelma Berner,
  • Anna Kalny,
  • Frances Garret,
  • Myrtle Frey
  • and Me.
  • Glenn Miller,
  • Dick Hughes
  • and Elwood Mertz.

We all had a good time. Hope I didn’t leave anyone out.

Caroline-just now I got a real surprise. The mail just came in and there was a lovely birthday card from Thelma. After all these years, she remembered. The only time we write to each other is at Xmas time.

I moved back to Pennsylvania about nine years ago. I lived in New Jersey 29 years. I lost contact with so many people, but I always managed to send Thelma a card. She wrote “when you sat beside me (June 3rd reunion), it was as though the years vanished and we just played together yesterday.” What a nice thought!

I think that the June 3rd reunion brought so many people closer together and so many memories were shared with each other. I was hoping that day would never end. As I was leaving for home-Stewart Mertz said to me … “We should have this more often …. What a wonderful day”

I live in the village of Mantzville, across the street where Dr. Wiesner had his office. It is really nice and very quiet-sometimes too quiet!

I very much enjoyed writing to you and am so glad I saw you and Jane that day.



Caroline’s Comment:
When I read the letter to Thelma Berner Reese over the phone, Thelma said that day was so memorable that she had planned on writing about it too. She thought she would like to add that the train ride from Mauch Chunk to Lehighton cost 10 cents. She also commented on how impressive the lunch was that Mrs. Edwards had provided. She felt that she had often seen tables laden with food before, but this had every kind of thing imaginable. Also, it was served in the DINING ROOM.

Jane Edwards Berger – 1990

We lived near Bobby and Jimmy Spence. Bobby was having a time getting used to first grade in the New Mahoning School. One day my father asked Bobby how he was getting to like school by now. Bobby replied “it is all right but I don’t like the darn eating out all the time.”


I remember collecting scrap during the war with Lewis Zimmerman’s horses and wagon and putting the pile in the schoolyard to be picked up.

Compilers observation: We saved the tin cans and after taking out the top and bottom, stomped on them for collection-was it the Boy Scouts? We saved the tin cans and after taking out the top and bottom, stomped on them for collection-was it the Boy , . Scouts? The scrap metal was stored in the school yard.

Caroline’s Comment:

Although Marlin is younger than I am, I notice that when he says “the war” he means World War II.

My mother used the term “The Great War” to refer to World War I. Younger people mean Viet Nam – and more recently Desert Storm.


My memories of the school days in Mahoning are special. I enjoyed the upper classmates being friendly to the younger ones. I also have the closeness of my girl friend since third grade which is Dorothy Smith Waick. We try to walk 4 miles a day, 5 days a week (weather permitting). The reunion was really nice. I do hope we can have more and get more local people to attend.]


I’m late as usual. We had a meeting here yesterday and had a lot of fun and laughter with it.

I have so many good memories of New Mahoning. One was holding the hand of my first grade teacher, Ester Gerber as she took me to school. I was 5 years old.

Another is all our good neighbors and getting spanked in Carrie Zimmerman’s yard for something I shouldn’t have done.

One other one was Carrie sent me to Millers Store for cookies, any kind I liked. Well 1 got a pound of animal crackers, and a pound of marshmallow with coconut. When she saw what I got, she called Wal Miller and told him she didn’t want any God Damn nik naks and sent me back with them. Wal never said a word. That was what I asked for, so he sent me home with washboards and Carrie was happy.


Please pass the following on to Carolyn and thank her for doing this.

I remember fondly — jump rope in the summer, jacks in winter, flash cards, ringing the bell, my very one desk, weekly song fests, the long bench up front, smell of the paste, drawings hanging on the wall, Christmas shows, drying my socks by the fire and so much more.


Also my most memorable days were not talking till the first report card.

Mr. Kerschner had completed the report card and had to change them because that day I decided to talk.

He admitted he had to change the report card.


One of my most memorable experiences of the one room school in New Mahoning occurred when I was in first grade. I took a police whistle along to school. I was sitting in my seat with the whistle in my mouth. Suddenly I sighed and I blew the whistle. I grabbed and took it out of my mouth. Mr. Harry Kerschner was the teacher. He asked who blew the whistle. I didn’tsay a word because I was scared. Someone finally said, “Orville did it.”

Mr. Kerschner told me to bring the whistle up and place it one his desk. When I took it to the desk he asked me why 1 blew it and I told him, “I had the whistle in my mouth and it went off on me.”

I never forgot that episode and neither did Mr. Kerschner.


I attended the New Mahoning one room school from 1940 to 1942 for the first and second grades. Several things left an impression on me, such as the older boys carrying drinking water from the neighbors house and being frightened of having to sit on the one-legged dunce stool. I remember standing the wood burning stove to keep warm, listening to the older girls chatting and giggling in the cloak room, and having to wear those awful long brown stockings on cold winter days. I think I actually got to ring the school bell a few times.

Having gone of to school with my sister and my cousins, I always felt safe. I’m glad to have had the experience of attending a one room school.

Contact Caroline