My last 18 years have been spent teaching math and algebra in grades 6
to 9. When I started at Muir, then called a junior high school, I taught
grades 7 to 9.
In the early years, seventh-grade girls were required to take one
semester of Foods and their measure of success was how well their "Eggs a
la Goldenrod" turned out. Boys in the same grade had to complete one
semester of shop, wood or drafting.
Eighth-grade girls had to take one semester of clothing while the boys
were required to complete electric, metal or print shops.
Ninth-graders took typing as there was no such animal as computer
The Home Ec. Department provided a yearly dinner for the Board of
Education members, prepared and served by students. The clothing classes
had to make the aprons, tablecloths and napkins for the dinner. The Home
Ec. students also prepared refreshments for faculty functions such as
holiday, retirement and year-end parties.
Also in the early years, our staff was very cohesive. We had career
teachers and administrators, most who stayed until they retired.
One of the big, and welcome, changes five years ago was the
installation of phones in our rooms. Prior to this, we'd make a beeline
for the office so we could wait in line at the one phone booth in the
It was quite an experience to make a parent call. Frequently the light
in the booth was burned out and the ventilating fan was nonfunctioning.
Sometimes you'd practically fall out in a near-coma condition.
One of the students' favorite traditions was the citywide event known
as the Green and White Fair. Students would be released early to
participate in the booths, which were sponsored by the teachers. It was
kind of a mini-carnival with our principal, Allan Burnside, wearing his
green and white beanie all week before the Friday afternoon festivities.
Dances were held at night and students actually dressed up. Our own
dance band sometimes provided the music.
Throughout the 1960s, a strict dress code was enforced. Girls were not
allowed to wear pants or shorts to school; skirt lengths were checked