My father, Rod MacKay, was a custodian at Garden Home School. When the Throckmorton store was starting to burn someone called our house and asked if Dad could get the fire hoses from the school and try to put the fire out. Dad got there about the same time as the fire department and didn’t think the fire hoses would actually pull across the street to help. Mr. Throckmorton and Lee Schisler, former neighbor, ran up the back stairs and were taking furniture and anything else they could out of the top of the store since that is where they lived. The windows blew out from the heat. The fire happened on a weekend—Sunday probably.*
A day later, it was strange seeing all the burned goods and the burned candy counter where they used to keep the candy.
When the school decided to get a school bus the Russells (well-to-do-family) bought the school bus and then the school district paid them back since they couldn’t get a bond passed to buy the bus outright. My dad got his chauffeur’s license and drove the bus as well as being custodian. They didn’t have a place to park the bus so it was parked at our house. One of my chores (along with my sisters) was to wash the bus, vacuum it out and wash the inside windows. I also had a job at the school in the 5th or 6th grade when I’d stay after school on Fridays to vacuum all the erasers and the chalk dust out of the stands. One summer I had to go up to Mr. Thurman’s with my wagon and get the new school books for the year and take them to each classroom.
My mother filled in as custodian at times as well. My father came out of construction in ’53 or ’54 to take job as custodian because it was steady.
In the eighth grade all the kids took shifts working in the lunchroom and helping the cooks prepare the food.
There were mesh-type curtains that used to be on the stage and ended up at our house when new ones were purchased. My mother used the curtains to make all kinds of things around our house (table cloths, upholstery).
There used to be a chalkboard in the gym where they kept score for the basketball games. I would keep score but sometimes not keep very good track as I became sidetracked and would have to correct my work often.
Dictated at the Oct. 2012 100th Anniversary by Darrell MacKay
Corrected and approved, Dec. 2012
*The Oregonian newspaper places the fire on April 22 or 23(Sunday), 1956. Other residents recall an October date.
Reviewed by Elaine Shreve