CARLETON COOPER STORIES


A FUN DAY AT SCHOOL

At the North Union School, scholars who got 100 on the Friday morning spelling test didn’t have to go to school on Friday afternoon. Boys and girls sat on different sides of the classroom, and usually played in separate groups at recess and at noon. During the time of this story, the boys had a camp near the school where they played and the girls had their camp that was a newly uprooted spruce tree. The girls broke off some branches so they could crawl under it.

As can be expected, an occasional disagreement happened on the unsupervised playground and one day Joyce Crosby had an argument with the rest of the girls. Joyce and Carleton were good friends. Joyce urged Carleton to study his spelling and save his wax paper. (Readers will remember when we used wax paper for wrapping sandwiches instead of plastic.)

On the next Friday morning, both Joyce and Carleton got 100 on their spelling tests, and smuggled a bunch of wax paper from the schoolhouse at noon. When the rest of the students had returned to school, Joyce took Carleton to the girls’ camp. Here she balled up the wax paper and lined it around the edge of the camp. A match secreted from home set the wax paper and spruce tree afire.

Now, this all happened at a dry time of the year and the watchman was in the fire tower on West Ridge. He spotted the fire; spruce needles put out lots of smoke, and started calling all the neighbors with the message that the schoolhouse was on fire. People soon arrived with rakes, shovels and brooms and the fire was soon out. The punishment lasted far longer than the fire.

FUNERALS ARE SERIOUS OCCASIONS

Jennie Knowles was a woman who loved to laugh and had a laugh that could be heard all around. Carleton liked Jennie, and I expect Jennie liked Carleton, at least until they attended a funeral at the Alexander Methodist Epospical Church.

Seeing that the funeral was near the end of the week, and bath night was a couple days off, Carleton had powdered himself before heading for the funeral with his parents. Actually, he got a little more powder under his shirt than planned.

As the funeral service slowly progressed, Carleton, being a young fellow, looked around, and caught Jennie’s eye. She smiled at him, and watched as Carleton pulled out the front of his shirt and slapped his chest, causing a cloud of powder to burst into the air. Jennie laughed right out loud; Carleton was several weeks getting over that incident.

THE NEW RIFLE

Sam bought Carleton a 32 special into Woodland, and as would any boy, Carleton was proud as could be with the gift. He took the rifle up to the Sullivan place to show it to his Uncle Hod (Horace Creamer). Hod looked it all over and allowed that it was a good squirrel gun, but wouldn’t do for shooting deer.

“Why,” said Hod, “if you want to shoot deer, you need a rifle like mine.” Hod’s rifle was an old army rifle that would hold a whole handful of cartridges. Hod’s cartridges were hollow points and Hod explained, “I fill that hollow part with salt before I load-up.”

“Why do you put salt into that hollow?” asked Carleton.

“Now,” explained Hod, “when I shoot a deer, it is usually a long way off, and the salt preserves the meat while I make my way to it.”