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Not just a school, but a way of life.

Posted By: D. Michael Gohman

Fall 1951 we moved from Minot ND to Cedar Falls for the beginning of my 3rd grade.

My experience may be somewhat more intimate than others as my father was a science teacher at the laboratory school from then until he retired and my Mother was secretary to the Dean of the Social Science Dept. of the collage. Being a rich kid (one of 4 brothers) of a teacher, our family of 6 moved in to “Sunset Village” which was a military metal corrugated housing complex called a "Quonset Hut” with two full bedrooms, a 32” metal shower and a space heater. Best days of my life literally. There were many teachers and students with families that moved in to this part of the school’s facilities. The rain was loud against the metal roof but, you could not hear yourself think when it hailed.

The whole campus at that time was on the edge of town bordering farm land and the "passion pit" called Hillcrest outdoor theater. There was an adjoining “driving range” (no, not golf) that i took my first lesson to learn how to drive before attempting the ‘treacherous' roads of Cedar Falls.

The photo album here sparked memories of finding a 25 cent piece under the jungle gym ( pictured out side the original school) and taking it to the “Hill” (collage Hill soda shop and related stores) to buy 25 baseball cards that each had a flat piece of bubble gum wrapped within. It was also where i collected my bundle of the Waterloo Daily Currier for my paper rout a few years later.

The collage campus was so much a part of that school. From the Commons where we enjoyed Prom Night to the Campanile tower that announced the time of day and, at times, music when the wooden handles that rung the bells were expertly played by some talented person. The Large physical heating plant with its water retaining pond that turned in to an ice-skating rink and it’s interior warmth to thaw out in.

In 9th grade, my parents bought their first owned home at 1216 west 23 st. Right across from the Freshman Girl’s Dormitory. So at 15, I though I had died and gone to heaven with a 3 story facade of girl's bedroom windows right in front of my bedroom window. Not that i was a studious student, but it did give me the excuse as to why my grades were so poor. (surprised i did not go blind). I remember Mrs. Divelbess in 7th grade telling me i would regret not knowing how to spell.. You may catch some of that here but both of us did not realize the impact “spell check” would have on my life. As long as I could get through words like Knife starting with ”K" instead of “N" I am able to muddle through, or use other words like a "sharp pointy thing". But you can still tell, she was right.

I think i could go on and on with our relationship with CF High, Teen Time friday nights and the Regent theater down town, The city's power plant retaining pond as a gigantic municipal swimming pool with a sand bottom and the local A&W root beer stand not far away. I still remember sitting in front of the “boob tube” watching 'Sea Hunt' with my flippers and mask on in our living room, then going to that pool and pretending to be Lloyd Bridges. And of course, the Cattle Congress with its adjoining theater where I vividyly remember the Everly Brothers Live.

Being a child of one of the teachers gave me an intimate relationship with the other teachers ( Both a curse and a blessing). Aldrich was the perfect Drill Sargent in Physical education. I stuck out 4 years on the wrestling squad with William Happ - never making varsity. I was better suited for art and in the end made a successful career out of it. Paul Brim, Al Potter, Don Wiederanders Myrtle Stone, Marguerite Struble, Ross Neilson and many more including my Dad, all impacted me where I feel the results every day. I know who physically lifted and jockeyed Corrine Harper’s (Language Arts teacher) midget foreign car between two trees that needed a tow truck to extract, but will never tell.

You got used to being in a “laboratory” environment with, sometimes, having more student teachers than us - filling the back of the room I will say we seemed to get more personal attention with the abundance of teachers and the privilege of having some of the best facilities and equipment available.

I just google earthed what it is now and of course do not recognize much of anything. I know our home was turned in to a girls sorority house ( another fantasy i had growing up in it ) but all that is gone now. What is not gone is that TC High / M P L school was not just a school for many of us.. but a way of life. All my bother’s turned out successfully winning Nat’l Science awards and Varsity Letters… but I think I truly got the most out of it

Michael Gohman


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