Letter from Udell Cunningham, November 2005 Part 10

Back when I was in grade school we (grades 1-7) were assembled in the auditorium about once a month for programs. Usually announcements, safety rules, and sometimes some entertainment. At one such assembly, it was normal and then the principal Cannon Blount led this girl out on the stage, bent her over his lap, and whipped her with a large stick. I do not know what his so-called excuse was — but I was extremely shocked, revolted, and disgusted. I have remembered this event to this day. I think this event will never cease to disgust me. I remember this girl as nice, quiet, and from an extremely poor family. I cannot find any reason possible to give the principal the right to so humiliate that girl. I don’t know if Texas allows such to go on now.

This same principal was my teacher in the seventh grade math. One day I used the dastardly word “ain’t.” He jumped up from his desk and said, “Udell, go to that dictionary in the back of the room and don’t return to your seat until you find the word ‘ain’t.'” Well, he thought I would be there forever, but I was in the seat in about a minute. He really blew his top and said, “How dare you say there is such a word in the dictionary” — well, it is in there, but states you should not use it.

Old Blount used to step outside and furiously shake this bell when the electricity failed to ring a bell for school to take up. Well, old Udell stole that bell and put it in a water tank that flushed the toilet. In those days the tank was about 6 foot above the toilet, fastened on the wall. A chain hung down for you to pull, flushing the toilet. After I graduated to high school, I told old Cannon where the damn bell was.

It is quite strange, but Ted Thurman [my great-grandfather and Udell’s father-in-law] went to school at Brady, Texas, and old Cannon Blount was a teacher there. When I arrived at Lowry [AFB in Denver, CO., where my grandfather was stationed for many years] to be a photo instructor, I saw a reserved parking space at the school for “Cannon Blount.” I inquired about him and was told he had cancer and probably would not return. No, I didn’t go see him. I could still see him whipping that poor girl.

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