CALVERT STORIES

Mr. Perry's School Bus - Kittie Frick Beyer ’48

As World War ll unfolded, my father couldn't take us to Calvert because gasoline was rationed. We lived out in the country, and Daddy had an "A" ration card permit, a rather large label he had to paste onto the windshield. He took the train, the B&O from the Owings Mills station on the Reisterstown Road, to his downtown office at Robert Garrett & Sons. Wasn't Camden Yards a railroad stop in those days? I remember riding that train. This will sound funny to all of my grandchildren; the Owings Mills station master had an old Morse Code beeper on his desk. He got news about the arrivals of the trains and would put paper messages up on a large notice board to advise the waiting room passengers. He used Western Union to send telegrams, and I remember that the grammar was funny; they'd put "stop" instead of a period at the end of a sentence. I think people paid for them by the word, so all messages were abbreviated, and I remember my parents deciphering the meanings of some of the terse sentences. But we two little girls had to get to Calvert School.


Since there was difficulty getting the country children into town, Mr. Perry, the Athletic Coach at Calvert, stepped into the breach. He picked up all of us country kids, and there were 14 of us spirited little people in his wooden station wagon. Mr Perry would drive to the end of our driveway and honk his horn, and Louise and I would run up the hill still struggling to put on our coats We had big leather book bags too. In the very back of the Old Woodie, there was a third seating row. there were two humps where the back wheels were, and Frank Bonsal and Shocky Gillette sat there. I think they lived the farthest out in the country. The rest of us sat sort of all over each other in the seats, and if you wanted to listen to the radio on the afternoon trip, I think there were three of us, plus a large Mr. Perry, and he'd tune into "Lorenzo Jones and his Wife Belle" Something funny always happened to Lorenzo, and Belle would bail him out by the time the trip was over. Mr. Perry never said anything, the rest of us did, though! We went over some new fact we had learned recently, and we tutored the younger members of the group in history and in the multiplication tables. We learned poetry by heart, too, which we drilled into everybody in the car. We were all so smart and we wanted to know everything!! When we were eight or nine we read "Myths and Enchantment Tales" about the Greek gods and goddesses, and it wasn't until I was grown up that I realized those gods and goddesses had hot pants. The stories are all about sex, but we didn't realize that, we thought they were about Romance, and I remember my sister Louise was Persephone and Dickie Gatchell was Pluto in one of the Calvert Assemblies. I mean, how else would we ever have learned about pomegranates? And I remember teaching everybody how to spell SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC, and MESOPOTAMIA.


It was a school where we had to learn a lot of things by heart. The multiplication tables, the 48 states and their capitals, which Mr. Perry was treated to many an afternoon. I do think Mr. Perry had nerves of steel, or maybe he was deaf. I don't think we were ever mean to anybody, or teased anybody, and years later I saw Billy McMillan somewhere, and he said,


"We should have a reunion of Mr Perry's Carpool!" And if we did, I'm sure we'd all be able to spell NEBUCHADNEZZAR.


Kittie Frick Beyer ’48


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