Thank you to Ms. Lorraine (Hartmann) Gleaves for allowing me to post
the following letter describing some of her McKay memories!
Lorraine was a member of the McKay Class of 1949, and later
went on to become a school teacher for 30 years.
Most recently she taught at Orland Park Elementary School
and is now retired.
Lorraine also sent in three photos of her own class of 1949.
In the 8th grade photo
she is the third row from the bottom, third from the left
In the 7th grade (seated) photo
she is in the last row by the window, second from the back.
In the 6th grade photo she is in the second row,
second from the left.
Here are the links to those three photos:
The following are the teachers that I had at Francis McKay School at 69th and Fairfield in
Chicago during the years 1941 to 1949 and some of the memories.
Mildred Duggen - principal - Every time I had to walk past her office I would tiptoe and
hope her door would not open. During eighth grade I would collect the milk money each
morning from all of the classes (bottle of white milk 2 cents, chocolate milk 3 cents)
count the money and turn it in to the office. I wasn't afraid to go there then.
Kindergarten - Miss Henrietta Habrichter - a wonderful person who played the paino and
gave performances with her class several times a year. Also in eighth grade I did help out
with her class in the afternoon when my work was completed in class. There was a piano
in every room and I truly thought that to be a teacher one had to play the piano. I will
never forget one cute curly haired boy on stage during one of the performances stepped to
the front of the state and said "Miss Habrichter, could you play the piano a little bit
louder?" I did take piano lessons for seven years. A few years ago, I met the family at the
end of our block and they told me that Henrietta Habrichter was an aunt to them.
Second Grade - Mrs. Dodge - a soft spoken teacher that was very nice. At reading time
she would call the separate groups up to the chairs in front of the room. We chose our
group names such as The Robins, The Sparrows. Etc.
Third Grade - Mrs. Griffin - a sharp spoken teacher but then we did have thirty in the
class. I sat next to the row of windows and had several earaches during the years. She
always had the window open and maybe that is why I had so many earaches. During those
times even if you told your parents, they would not want to approach the teacher. Times
have changed. When I taught second grade, I had a mom that wanted a copy of my
lesson plans and what books we would be reading for the year.
Fourth Grade - Mrs. Brandt - a nice teacher but very strict. We were learning long
division and each student had to go up to the board and work and complete a long
division problem. I refused or did not know how to do it and she called my mother to
come to see her. My mother worked at the Western Electric Company on 22nd and Cicero
in Chicago and she had to take the day off without pay to see Mrs. Brandt. I was in real
trouble. After that I never refused to do work on the board. Good thing my parents did
not believe in spanking but I do remember having to stay in for a week.
Fifth Grade - Mrs. Briody or O'Briody (not sure) In her class we had to take turns
standing up to read a paragraph from our reader and then sit down. Up and down the six
rows. Some days when we all had read and the room was quiet, Mrs. Briody did not look
up from the book in front of her because she had nodded off. As a teacher, I can relate to
Sixth Grade - I think it was Mrs. Prendergast but do not remember much about the class.
Seventh Grade - I will never forget Mrs. Fairburn with her red hair and super strict rules..
From the pictures you can see that the desks and seats were bolted to the floor and no one
moved unless you raised your hand for permission to speak or move. One day another
teacher came in to talk with Mrs. Fairburn and some kids in the class started talking with
one another. Oh, was Mrs. Fairburn angry when that teacher left the room. We all had to
write the times tables from 2 to 12 fifty times. The good thing was that I never forgot
Eighth Grade - Mrs. Ryan - a very nice person and very helpful. She took us to library
once a week and we just read whatever was available. Where I taught, the librarian had
to have a special program for all classes when they came in and then there was time to
browse. The only magazine we had was the National Geographic. All the boys wanted to
see the pictures in that magazine and I think you know why.
We did have a Graduation Dance at the Marquette Field House in Marquette Park in June
That's about all I remember so if youw ant to put it on your website, it's OK.
By the way, do you have or do you know where I can get a picture of McKay as it looked
in 1949? I remember that it was a yellow brick, three story building with the auditorium
at the north end and the gym at the south end. The front of the building faced west on
Fairfield with a gravel playground around the north, east, and south back of the school.
Also, would you know if there are pictures and names of teachers that taught at McKay?
Let me know if this is available.
Good to know there are people who are interested in the history of their schools and the
teachers who taught them. I wonder if the students in the classes I taught for thirty years
will even want to remember.
Mrs. Lorraine M. (Hartmann) Gleaves