Southside Landmark Memories

photo courtesy of Bill Cook
Hopkins Street School - 1998

Former Site of Hopkins Street School - 1998


Bob and Dicky
by Bill Cook

Hopkins Street School has long since left the roster of buildings maintained by the public school system in Elmira. Southport area kids go to Broadway Middle School now. But I went to Hopkins Street for grades 1 thru 8 during my formative years as a kid growing up in the Town of Southport long before Broadway was built or even thought of.

When I think back to those years, for me among the most unforgettable of times at Hopkins Street were coming to school, going home from school and recess. These times of the day were the most challenging times because that was when I learned to run fast. Running fast was pretty much a necessity for a kid my size because it was quite necessary to get away from the likes of Bob Van Patten and Dicky Gordon. Even the bigger kids my age like Marshall Leljedal and Dan Reibson didn't mess with them.

Bob and Dicky had each flunked 3 years somewhere during their tenure at Hopkins Street and so by the time we were in 7th grade we had caught up with them and they were 15 years old. Big, strapping bruisers who shaved each morning before school and hated kids my size. Years later, even during my years in the Navy, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat in the barracks at the Great Lakes Naval Station, absolutely sure that I had heard either Bob or Dicky shrieking in that blood curdling voice of theirs "I'm going to git you, punk!" It was always such a relief to see that it was just the barracks Master At Arms, a loveable rendition of Attila, the Hun.

One Arbor Day, we planted a time capsule under a tree in front of the school. I'm pretty sure it's the one in the picture on the left. That tree was just a small sapling when we planted it nearly 50 years ago. Mrs. Dodge (4th Grade) was our teacher and as I remember it, she had us collect some poems, clippings from the newspaper, and a few pictures of the students in our class. Pictures of Bob and Dicky weren't among them, of course, because they hadn't flunked enough years yet for us to catch up to them.

The school building still stands there, occupied by a flea market and a pre-school. I took a walk through it - some of it still looks just like it did in 1954. The auditorium, the 2nd floor classrooms, the principal's office... Ah, the memories...

Hopkins Street Related Items
Hopkins Street School Eighth Graders, 1954
Hopkins St. PTA Holloween Party - 1953

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