While living in
Ferguson Park, I attended Parkview Elementary from
1953-1955 for 2nd and 3rd grades. My 2nd grade teacher was Mrs. Minnie
Massie, and my 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Barnes. While I don't remember
much about 2nd grade, my strongest recollections of 3rd grade were not
academics, but of making those big cubical Christmas candles. The aroma
memory is so strong that, even today, when I smell candle paraffin, I am
immediately transported to that classroom. If the school still existed, I
could go to that very classroom and find the exact spot where my desk was
located. In addition to the candles we also weaved potholders, using these
little metal looms and multi-colored yarns. We were all so proud to take
them home and present them to our mothers.
I can't recall if it was in 2nd or 3rd grade, but the school staged a
Spring pageant of some sort, with costumes and dancing and such. The
female part of "Spring" had already been cast. When they went looking for
someone to play "Mr. Sun", somehow I got the part. I like to think that it
was due to my cherubic appearance and "sunny" disposition, but it is more
likely that I was the only boy who didn't run shrieking at the very idea of
standing in front of an auditorium full of beaming parents and of uttering
some inane soliloquy.
Had I known what was coming next, I, too, would have run shrieking. My
Mother had to construct this Mr. Sun costume to school specifications; it
was like bright yellow pajamas, which was bad enough, but also had this
enormous sombrero-like hat, also of blazing yellow. In retrospect I must
have looked like some psychedelic Viet Cong. Well, "the show must go on,"
so with my entourage of Little Sunbeams, also in costume, I enter, stage
right, spread my arms in some Jovian gesture and say, "Come Little
Sunbeams, let us go and help Spring ..........." And then, my show biz
career was over, just like that.
Epilogue: I moved to Maryland in 1955 and returned to live in Newmarket in
1961. Soon, I was to meet the Dempsey Sisters, Patty (NNHS 66) and Katie
(WHS 64), of whom I have spoken previously in this forum. One day while
elementary school recollections were being shared, I let slip the story of
my 15 minutes of fame as Mr. Sun. To my amazement, Katie let slip the
story of HER 15 minutes of fame as one of my "Little Sunbeams". What a
glorious reunion that was.
- Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 07/11/03