Metuchen Edison History Features
In Old Metuchen
David Trumbull Marshall
Published by The Case Publishing Co., Flushing NY 1930
(Second Edition)- (c) 1930
Metuchen Public School.
When I was a child of about seven or eight years I went for one year to the Public School, located where the present school is now.
I had learned how to read from my sisters before I was seven.
My brother Bruyn and I walked every school day to school from our house on Amboy Avenue near where it crosses the Pennsylvania Railroad.
While in school I learned the multiplication table and how to read Roman numerals from hearing the other children recite.
My teacher was a Miss Robinson from Rahway and the teacher of the next grade was Miss Stelle.
My sister Julia was in Miss Stelle's room and we at home were regaled with endless accounts of Miss Stelle and her doings and sayings.
I presume every school child has the same endless accounts to give of the doings in the school it attends.
I remember that Dan Whalen was in my class and I think, his sister. Whatever the girl's name was I remember giving her a piece of chewing gum. Chewing gum in those days was a mixture of paraffin and sugar and chewed pure white, but was not supposed to be swallowed.
This little girl announced, "Dave, I swallowed that gum what you gave me."
One day Miss Robinson sent me up to Principal Anderson's room on some errand. I was chewing a piece of tar when I stutteringly attempted to deliver my message.
Mr. Anderson first made me go to the open window and throw out the tar and then finish the stuttering.
I was dead scared of Principal Anderson.
My brother John was in Mr. Anderson's room and as near as I can recollect Mr. Anderson gave my brother a licking about every day.
In my brother's class there were Jack Keenan, "Doc." Knight, Charley Freeman and others whose names I have forgotten.
In those days the rod was not spared.
Either the rod did my brother good or he was some smart boy, for he was ready to enter Rutgers College when he was too young to be entered.
The old school house stood in 1929 on New Street where it had been moved after Mr. Whalen bought it.
It looks small to me now after 45 years.
Measured by the size of my body at the time I went to school there, the building seemed large.
At the end of my first year we moved to the west end of Metuchen, where my father opened a private school. After that I never went anywhere away from home to school.
Mr. Whalen tells, as reported in the Metuchen Recorder for November 29th, 1929:
"I bought the property thirty years ago for the sum of fifty-five dollars when it was offered for sale after the buildings had been deemed unfit for school purposes.
"I walked into the room in which the bids were being made and heard an offer of fifty dollars.
"In jest I raised the bid five dollars and accordingly became the owner of the building."
When Mr. Lloyd Grimstead took the picture of the old school house in 1929 it was certainly some tough-looking old building.
One of the vivid recollections of my school days is of seeing two men pumping the water out of the cellar of the school.
This had to be done pretty much after every heavy rain.
There used to be a ball field in front of the school.
In this field there were sometimes circuses and on two or three occasions I remember live-pigeon shooting matches.
Boys were always glad to sell pigeons for shooting matches for many of the pigeons escaped the shot and came home.
Just in front of me there sat in school a boy by the name of Terrill.
Terrill was older than I and was rated some scrapper.
One day I had an irresistible impulse to stick a pin in Terrill's leg.
I got down under my desk and gave Terrill a good jab.
I got a good kicking. Expected to get one.
It served me right.
Your highbrow psychoanalist no doubt could explain the impulse which prompted me in the face of certain punishment to jab that boy's leg, but it is beyond me.
Boyhood Days in Old Metuchen Title page
Metuchen Edison History Features index page
Metuchen Edison Historical Society page
Old Metuchen Photos page
James Halpin CPA page
Lasted updated 6/8/99 by Jim Halpin.