Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kindergarten 1952/53 Velma Anne Todd, Morning Class

I knew I had been in most Stockton classes with Pat Quinn, but after she was kind enough to send me this photo, I saw no kid who looked much like my other childhood photos, but finally decided that the kid on the left with ears protruding, resembling Opie Taylor was the only possibility. I magnified it a little and saw a clue: "Opie" has a big wound over his left eye. My father had built a brick grill with a ledge around its chimney and at a neighborhood gathering, a "friend" and I were sitting on the ledge; he pushed me off the ledge, I fell on my head, had to get stitches above my left eye and still have a small scar. Identification confirmed and the head injury may explain the dull expression on my face.
Students identified in this photo: Janice Crider, Jeff Smith, Pat Quinn, Thomas Gaffrey, Gerald Kamowski, Dale McQuillan, Michael Hatzel, Phyllis Semcer, Evelyn Lindsay, Enid Fiore, Barbara Mertz, Louis Orangeo, Glenn Endress. (Photo courtesy of Pat Quinn)

Our kindergarten room was new and state-of-the-art: big, bright, high ceiling, a pretend kitchen with kid-sized appliances, lots of large toy vehicles, unlimited art supplies, and many simple rhythm instruments to play during music time; and we had a wonderful, experienced teacher, Miss Velma Todd, who, early on, was very worried about me and took my mother aside one day to express her concerns: during our free time, when we could play wherever we wanted, I was the only boy who would spend his time with the girls in the pretend kitchen. I don't know what the teacher and my mother said to each other or to me or remember what I said to them but I know what my five year-old brain was thinking: "I'm not that interested in the kitchen, but outside of school I play with other boys in the dirt and run around and climb trees and I have lots of toy soldiers, trains, and trucks at home. What I don't have at home is a bunch of cute girls; I don't want to be a girl, I just like 'em."

Kindergarten brochure given to parents 1952

                                    Below: One of the new, bright rooms in the 1951 Stockton Annex


  1. What was the other teachers Name? Mrs Stewart

    1. Yes, in 1952/53 Mrs. Stewart had the other kindergarten class.

    2. I remember them both very well. Great years at Stockton ! I remember we also had a super crossing guard too !

  2. I'm wondering if she was any relation to Velma J Todd who was my kindergarten teacher at Henry E Kentop school, which was right across the street from Stockton School.

  3. Attended Henry E Kentop School, 1974-1977. Attended Stockton School from 77- 80.