A trip down Conway High School’s Class of 1952 memory lane

Monday, I had lunch with a few members of the Conway High School class of 1952 and heard stories from their past. They remembered many things, but didn’t recall songs from their school days. They said they had heard so many songs in their lives that they couldn’t connect them to a certain time at that time.

This was my sister Polly Derrick’s class, and most of the ones who were at the Conway Motor Inn for lunch attended small country grammar schools before they converged at Conway High. Donald Jordan was the only male there. “They were country girls. I was a city boy,” he said.

Jordan attended Conway’s historic Burroughs School, which later, after major renovations, became the Horry County Museum.

They shared random tidbits that touched on a lot of Horry County’s history.

Sarah King McElwee, Peggy Jo Todd Allen and Annette Allen Richardson, class of 1954, went to the old Allen School. McElwee had to go to Homewood School for a month because there were no teachers at Allen. She recalled a second school being built there by men working in President Roosevelt’s Workers Progress Administration (WPA). The community had an oyster roast fundraiser to help build the school. They went to the beach and got oysters; piled bricks structured so a fire could be built under them, put a sheet of tin on top and roasted the oysters to sell.

As young students, most of them were very afraid of their math teachers. One male teacher tried to force left-handed McElwee to be right-handed. He also paddled the inside of Allen’s hand when she couldn’t remember one of her multiplication tables. She told her daddy, thinking he would do something, but he tallied lumber at Red Hill Chips, also gone now, living his work life by math, so he said she should have known it. Derrick said one of the themes running through the country girls is that none of them are good at math, and they credit that to one teacher, who taught at different schools.

Derrick first went to Baxter School at Baxter Forks -- which has lost its identity since no signs have marked the forks at U.S. 701 North and Hwy 410 -- and then she attended Poplar Grammar, now lost to Hwy 22 at 701 North.

Pickles Kelley went to Salem School on S.C. 90 one year, and after the U.S. government acquired that land for the bombing range, she went to school in the old Salem Church across the road before all of the children in that area were bused to Tilly Swamp, which she and Joann Durant attended.

Most of the country girls recalled boys jumping out of the big school windows and running. Some jumped because they were so afraid of the math teacher, some jumped every time the school nurse showed up. Richardson’s brothers jumped because they had cut school, got caught and were standing in front of the class waiting for a whipping, Since several grades were in the same room, she was sitting in her desk crying because they were going to be beaten. Then the teacher turned his back and they leaped out of the open window.

(To be continued, if possible.)

Peggy Mishoe,, 365-3885.