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We Went to School Together: Student Perceptions — War Baby
by Raymond G. Briscoe, Ph.D.
Feb 01, 2011 | 3255 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RAY BRISCOE’S new book tells of Bountiful High School’s early years.
RAY BRISCOE’S new book tells of Bountiful High School’s early years.
War Baby

Verlynn had the best memory of any student with whom I met for an interview. During my interview she brought back memories to me that had been long forgotten. She demonstrated how I walked around the classroom, even how

I held my hands when I talked.

She also had a good grasp of much of the curriculum. Her greatest interest during the class was World War II. Her parents got married in 1941, and then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Her daddy volunteered and did not get to see his daughter until she was three years old. She wanted to know the world

circumstances that had had such an impact on her family.

“You not only taught the war, you taught the events which led up to it. You talked about Adolf Hitler and his rise to power. You talked about trade embargoes with the Japanese and how Europe was treated at the end of World

War One. It all made sense and I understood it. It made me appreciate the sacrifice of my parents. You had interesting stuff all over the classroom and lots of maps.

“I was not a member of the Church and I learned there was no test tomorrow so kids could go to Mutual (an evening religious meeting built around activities.) I did not know what Mutual was. I wore straight skirts and was told that good girls don’t dress like that. The community was snobbish. You had to

have a Jansen sweater. Some of the kids were really rich and it seemed to make a big difference.

“We had a school dance and hired a disc jockey to furnish the music. I talked with him after the dance and he let me know that when he did dances in Bountiful he had to play different music than what the kids wanted to hear in

Salt Lake City.”

Verlynn met a young fellow in class who came from a prominent Bountiful family. He was a quiet fellow and a good administrator in the Davis school district.

Leadership Galore

Tom was the senior class president and came from a family of leaders.

He could make a case for his beliefs as well as any student I had. We used to discuss Federal Aid to Education and he was dead opposed. I was much in favor of federal financial help.

I shared with him my personal life and how difficult it was to rear a family on a teacher’s salary. His argument was, “You knew the financial limitations when you took the job, and now is not the time to make the changes you wish to have for your own benefit.”

Rarely did we agree. His father was a leader in the community, and we did not agree on most political subjects either. I used the same tack with his father and his comment was, “I see lots of kids of teachers, and their kids seem to have as many privileges as do the others.”

I respected the father and the children. I did not agree with most of their political views. However, Tom shared with me that I wrote in his yearbook that when he decided to run for governor of Utah, he was one Republican I could support.

Quiet Dale

Dale had a lot of fun in life, but he was not an aggressive personality.

He had plenty of friends and was fortunate to marry the right person for him.

He remembers me as being a staunch Democrat. He also recalled that I occasionally used the words “damn” and “hell” in class to make a point when that was unheard of in those days.

“An ‘A’ student, Carol, one time came to class prepared to take you on concerning a subject which was very important to her. She was well prepared, and you had a conversational debate during most of the entire period. She got

her say, but you tied her logic into knots. She was really bamboozled and finally

gave up with a sharp, ‘Damn you!’ You smiled.

“I remember you having us do research on advertisements for a class assignment. There were only three stations on TV which had advertisements, and a crew of students was assigned to watch each channel on one day from 9:00 in the morning until 11:00 that evening. You had taught us a unit on propaganda,

and you wanted us to see it in the real world. You even arranged for some of us

to get out of school so we could do it during a week day.

“You had us time the length of any advertisement and determine in our opinion whether they were selling some product or idea by using sexual suggestion, scientific information, or humor. We also captured examples of identification with popular stars. The students gave their report, and it did not need to have follow-up with more information.

“I was a quiet student and wanted to be left alone. One day you asked me in class what political party I favored. I knew you were a Democrat and so I said ‘Democrat’ hoping to get you off my back. As soon as I answered, you looked straight at me and asked, ‘Why?’ It was your way of doing things and it was


“We knew you cared because you came to see us when our son was accidently killed. It helped. We lived close to you for a year and you came to our house and visited with us. You came to the hospital and visited when I had by-pass surgery. You visited with my wife, Micki, when you heard she had cancer.

Of course, we know you cared.”
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