There is a very interesting Facebook page called,” Friends of Edgewood Elementary”. This group has over 650 members. Ted and Barry are in charge of the site where members can post some favorite and funny memories. All sorts of comments, questions and pictures are posted on the site. I was looking at a photo of the 1951-52 Marion County basketball champs, the Edgewood Grade School 8th grade boys basketball team. I quickly recognized a player that I felt honored to be a friend of his for many years.
Joe Simpson attended and played basketball at both Edgewood Grade School and Southport High School. Several years later, we reconnected when I discovered he was working with a good friend of ours at a Southside business. The junior high school building had not yet been built in 1952. Perry Township grade schools had eight grades at that time. Edgewood had many students that a smaller building, the James Whitcomb Riley School, was constructed on the Edgewood property.
I was in the very first 2nd-grade class in the new building that only had 1st- and 2ndgrade classes. My high school class is very close. We have a reunion each year and a breakfast and lunch each month. I attended our first lunch of 2019 last week. I sat beside a young lady that I first met in the 2nd grade. Sharon Brinkoetter-Kinder and I were in the same class in the Riley building.
We talked and laughed during the lunch. We remembered the feelings we enjoyed as we walked through the Riley building after it was reopened a few years ago. The James Whitcomb Riley is again a school building for students in Perry Township. I was reminiscing about my feelings as I walked down the hall to the classroom we attended. I could almost feel myself shrinking down to my height as a 7-year-old boy during that walk. Sharon had some of the same feelings when she visited the building.
There were a few postings on Facebook about one of the very special teachers, Georgia Stevens, who taught at Edgewood Grade School. She passed away in December. She taught in Perry Township for 35 years; 20 years at Edgewood and 15 years at Keystone Middle School. I’m lucky that I have two different experiences connected with Edgewood Grade School. First was my six years of learning from some special teachers and school staff.
Paul L. (Pete) Bailey was the Edgewood Principal for many years when I was a student and later when I became a school bus driver and drove students to Edgewood. A few years ago at one of the Edgewood reunions, I felt honored to sit with Edgewood teachers Verne Chandler and Bill Pickard. It was special to see many of their former students come to the table and visit with them. I have reconnected with several former Edgewood students that I drove to school. The latest being Denise Morris-Clarke. She and her brother David Morris rode with me from their home in Rosedale Hills to school and back each day.
I first met them as 4th graders. At one of the reunions, I reconnected with David. A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook friend request from Denise that I quickly accepted. I’m hoping that the three of us might get together for lunch soon. I love it that David is a retired school teacher and now is driving a school bus. Happy New Year !! Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.