Back To School — Circa 1900
In the early 1900’s, in Little Old Canarsie, we had 2 public schools, which were P.S. 115 at E. 92nd St. & Ave. M, with Miss Katherine Callahan as Principal and the other at School Lane, and what was to be know in later years as Remsen Ave. They were both wooden structures. P.S. 115 only went to the 4th grades. We had to go up to P.S. 114 for 4 more years to graduate. This school had as its Principal Miss McKench, and just around 1909 or 1910, the old school burned down and the pupils had to go to Harms Hall on Rockaway Pkway and Smiths Lane to finish out the term, and stay temporarily there until the new school was built at Glenwood Road and what later became Remsen Ave. When this came about, P.S. 114 had as one of its first Principals in the new school Alex Fichandler, who play-ed the piano as the classes marched in the auditorium each morning to salute our flag and open with a prayer.
Some of the early teachers at 114 were Mrs. Leks, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Behan, Miss Glenn, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Bransky, Miss Susie Robinson and Miss Alda Watkins and who could forget the graduating teacher Miss Irene Winham. And after Dr. Theodore Barringer was principal, until he went over to New Jersey to be-come principal there.
When we were in the 6th grade with pop Henderson our teacher, some boy would shoot a pea through a putty blower while pop was writing on the black board, and hit him in the back of the neck. He would spin around and shoot the piece of chalk he was holding between his fingers and hit the guy who shot the pea that hit him, just as if he had mirrors or eyes in back of his head to see who had done it.
Then when we were in the 8th grade, with Miss Watkins as our teacher, the girls in the class would roll apples down the aisle for her at Halloween time and the boys would stick out their feet and stop the apples as it rolled down the aisle. With all the fun we had, we still were able to get a good education form the wonderful teacher all through the year.
At P.s. 114, another teacher there who I couldn’t leave out was Grover Stilliman, who lived up around Nolans Lane. And so ends another chapter of “Little Old Canarsie.”