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Ben Sauter, a character, in his own words


For the first 7 years of school life, I attended Hebbville Elementary School. On Richwood Ave. a short block from Windsor Mill Rd.

Imagine a rectangular building with the wide side facing front. Center entrance to a foyer to a large center room. Two classroom doors to the left and 2 to the right. Then 2 lavatories ahead, one on either side. The floors were wood and covered with dark crankcase oil. Don't fall down or touch those floors because you come up black.

About these oiled floors, they were not slippery. It was like a fine dust was mixed with the oil. A widow, Mrs. Wunder, living right beside the elementary school was janitor. She had to keep the coal fired furnace going. Then she would make delicious soup to sell at lunch time for 5¢.

Then after school, Mrs. Tegeler who lived at the end of the school lane & Windsor Mill road had a snowball stand. Snowballs were 3¢ and with 3¢ more, you got ice cream on top.

The first and second grades were in one room; the third and fourth in another room. And the 5th, 6th & 7th in another room. That left 1 room empty. All the rooms had a lot of windows.

It was more or less a hill-billy school. The first 4 years were taught OK. But the teacher of the 5th, 6th & 7th was simply overworked. So when we went to Randallstown for the first 2 years of high school, we were way behind other pupils. One thing I remember about early school: The teacher was asking the kids their birthdays. When she asked me, I said, I didn't know. After a few seconds, she said: It's November 16th. I said I know it was Nov. 16 last year but I didn't know what it was this year.

In the elementary grades there was a stack of 8 x 10 sheets of paper for us to use. It was supplied by Balto. Co. It was such poor quality you would not believe. The front of the page was fairly smooth, the the back was rough with pieces of wood showing. We were asked to bring in a penny once in a while. And believe me, I never saw 1 penny come in.

The school is still being used. The exterior has not changed. But now it is a school for the deaf. When I went it was a school for the dumb.

This was an 11 year school system. Some of the teachers were so harsh, that at least one girl said, I'm not going to school anymore. She was 13. She had been so happy and carefree in elementary school. But the teacher felt free to embarrass a pupil in front of the whole class. I was no better than an average student in high school.

For the last 2 years we went to Catonsville High School. The war was on and there were teachers who were not qualified to teach. What I learned at Catonsville, you could write on the head of a pin. One poor teacher would be so drunk; he would give us some work to do and he would sit there with his head resting on the desk.

Another teacher was a preacher. I did like the sports, though.

In the fourth yr. of high school, I had a student for a bus driver.

There were so many students older than I. Some I almost called mister. They were drafted right out of school. Then the draft board would send them a diploma.

Except for sports and shop, my school life was not pleasant. We had a great Manual Arts teacher in Jr. high and I still have things I made at 12 & 13 yrs, old.


First grade work at Hebbville Elementary School, ca 1931

1st grade reading, 1931.

1st grade arithmetic, 1931.

Road safety - 1st grade drawing, 1931.
Road safety

Planting a tree - 1st grade drawing, 1931.
Planting a tree
(Pop went on to plant many trees; see his journal.)

Build a new home - 1st grade drawing, 1931.
Build a new home
(Early blueprints for . . . )

The House That Ben Built
Our house on Clays Lane.
(Just one of the elf house outbuildings.)


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Pictured above is the house we grew up in on Clays Lane in Baltimore County, Maryland. My father built the house with his carpenter father-in-law, Alfred Lehmann. They used horses from the farm to dig the foundation.

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