during the 1953/54 school year. She is on a 1930's teacher list as Miss Burns, a 2nd grade teacher.
photo courtesy of Barbara Larsen, a student in that class
As our kindergarten year neared its end in 1953 kids started talking about which 1st grade teacher
we might be assigned to and much of the talk was about a very strict, somewhat scary, teacher we might
get. It was said her last name had been "Burns" at one time and the word burns was emphasized by the
older kids to scare us. Apparently Miss Burns had become Mrs. Parker sometime between 1947 and
1953 and I was assigned to her class. Her hair was silver or platinum and at 60 she was older than
most of the other teachers in the school, but, because of her unusual hair color, one student, probably
Louis Orangeo in an "Eddie Haskell" moment, flattered her once by telling her she looked like actress
I don't remember too much about first grade but I probably often talked out-of-turn and I'm guessing that is
the habit that Mrs. Parker is writing about on my promotion card.
She appears in an index to NJ births as being born to John Burns and Mary A. Cole* on 9 Jun 1891
in Hunterdon County. Her name appears in the 1915/16 catalog of Maryville College, Maryville TN
where she is listed as a second year student from Freehold NJ with her major as "Classical."
She later pursued more education, attended Columbia University, and in Columbia University catalogs
in the 1920's she's listed as Cora Silvara Burns living at 20 Spring St in Flemington NJ; a 1930's catalog
reports she was assigned to Stockton School.
In 2008 Michael K Heaney published a doctoral dissertation at Rutgers titled
Uncounted Costs: The Civil War's Impact on an Infantry Company's Men and Their Families.
One of the men profiled is John Burns, a man who immigrated from Ireland at age 7 about 1852
with his mother, joined (or was drafted into) the army, suffered a number of wounds in battle, and spent
the next 60 years relocating 20 times or more and trying many different jobs and businesses with little
success. Throughout that time he continually petitioned for disability payments and pensions from the
government as a wounded vet. John Burns was the father of Cora Silvara Burns in his second marriage
and the profile says John and his wife moved in with Cora in Flemington about 1923:
An excerpt from p. 291 in the book (p 315 in the pdf):
* Mary A Cole was Mary A Cole Henry, a recent widow;