Thursday, March 13, 2008
The BHS Science Lab Was Fun
The science lab at BHS was lots of fun. We always knew we were going to see something different, amazing, or yucky. Dissection was only for the bravest. Worms weren't so bad to cut up, some of us had being doing that and putting them on fish hooks since an early age. Boiling water and adding chemicals to it to cause spewing and bubbling over into the floor was OK, but caused a big mess, and we sometimes wondered why that was necessary. But, if you reasoned about it, it became evident that there WAS some science at work that would be beneficial to you.
While I was there, Mr. Gaddis (hope I got that right) was the Science teacher and was he cool! He was, I realize now, a true redneck speech expert but only when he wanted to be. His teaching ability was just about average, but I could learn easier listening to him than any other teacher. He had an unusual classroom manner - he used the long room window shade ropes to fashion a lariat which he could twirl just as good as Will Rogers. It was, of course, too small for him to twirl around his big waist, but twirl he did nevertheless, sometimes around his head. There was usually a hangman's noose or two he made and left hooked to the shades, and he would state that they were for the guys that messed something up. Imagine a teacher getting by with that these days! Grover was really good in the lab, and Mr. Gaddis called him "Grover-Leo" a spin off of Galileo (the ancient physicist), I suppose.
We learned to do some things, and some things we learned not to do. One of the do-nots had to do with phosphorous. It has a low kindling point and will burst into flames at room temperature, so it's kept under water. After handling some barehanded one day, and wiping his hands on a cotton hanky, James Lominick went to the next class. In a short time he felt heat on his butt and pulled the hanky out of his pocket in flames. I don't recall him getting into trouble, but it took some explaining.
I did get into some minor trouble while in a class (not science) once. I was using a magnifying glass and the sun coming in a window to create a burn point (as I had learned in Science class) onto a big bug that had crawled across the floor. Just a few seconds of the burning caused the bug to explode with a very audible bang. Miriam Baker sent me to the office with a report that I blew up a bug. Just got a stern warning. Mr. Gaddis had no explanation of what caused the bug to explode.
And, I still have some notes that were written in a "Big Chief" tablet and some others in a "Write-Right" pad. There was another notebook brand "Blue Horse" that had a cut-out coupon for something. I can't ever recall getting anything with the coupons. These were all bought at the school store near the inside door to the boy's restroom. I probably bought them from Martin Howard, an attendant. I have looked and don't find those brands anywhere these days.
Posted by Carl Houston at 9:16 PM