Historical Society pays tribute to teacher
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 11:26 am
By: Sara Rachels, Special to The Press
This past Saturday, the Palmersville Historical Society paid tribute to three of its greatest institutions — two schools and one school teacher.
On the day of its annual fair, the community of Palmersville honored Brundige and Bible Union schools and long-time elementary school teacher June Childs in a ceremony at the historical society building.
Both Brundige and Bible Union were located between Palmersville and Latham and functioned as two and three-roomed schoolhouses from the turn of the 20th century until the mid-1900s. Over at Bible Union, a young girl by the name of June Carney was already making a name for herself.
Whether it involved being caught constructing paper dolls during recitation time or having a private lunch sabotaged by a swarm of bees, the youngster was already making waves in the field of education. Those waves would soon ripple down into a teaching career and a return to her home area for June Carney Childs after moving to Memphis.
“I never knew June as a teacher. Of course, I knew of her, but I really got to know her in the 90s,” June Kemp, a member of the board of directors for the historical society, recalled. “She asked me to lunch and I got to her house and just melted.”
Kemp knew she had met a kindred spirit and not only because of their actually being cousins. She picked up on several interests they shared in common — the restored log cabin in Childs’ yard, pictures of family members and friends and a love of wisteria.
Childs remembered her early years at Bible Union as being filled with games, plays, carnivals, programs and fair days. The drinking water was obtained from an outdoor hole-filled pipe and it was not uncommon for teachers such as Mignon Morrison and Laverne Winstead to allow students to leave school grounds to hunt for wildflowers.
“There was always something going on,” Kenneth Rogers, a former student, explained. “Albert Maxey was Santa Claus and he enjoyed it more than we did.”
It would be these fair days, trips and plays that Childs would draw from when building her teacher career.
“I’ve always felt close to Palmersville. My mom went to school here and I knew the people and the families. After we moved back, Brad got a job at the school and soon there was an opening for a first grade teacher. I’d never taught first grade. I’d taught in Memphis and at Sharon Junior High, but not first grade,” Childs admitted.
As it turned out, fellow teacher Mary Brann was willing to swap, so Childs took a split second and third grade and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the years, Childs became known for her field trips to the Memphis Zoo, her presentation of the Bambi play and her reading of a certain book every Thanksgiving — all traditions built from Bible Union and fostered with enthusiasm from Childs through her years of teaching.