Meeting Hattie Wheeler

[The 1920's, Munnsville, New York]

Charles E. Page, 2002

In those days band concerts were often held on a Saturday night in Munnsville or in Stockbridge. On one of these summer nights our family parked the Model T near Clark Davis's store to listen to the music. My father walked with us kids along down the sidewalk toward John Burke's ice cream parlor to get ice cream cones. On the way we met our cousin, Hattie Wheeler. Hattie [Harriet LaMunion Wheeler] was a long time resident and school teacher in Munnsville. Her husband, William was, I think, school principal. Anyway they were both educators.

Hattie was a well-known and colorful character. As a teacher she was strict, dedicated and "always the teacher".

My father introduced us kids to her and since we attended Oneida schools and Hattie being the eternal teacher quizzing the student, asked my sister, Alyce, " What is the beast of burden of the Sahara Desert?" As I recall my own early geography classes, when ever a question about the Sarhara Desert was asked, the answer was either "Camels, or Dates". I don't think we even understood what a "beast of burden" was.

Here in the middle of summer vacation on a dark night in Munnsville going for ice cream cones, the question caught Alyce off guard. She picked the wrong answer and said "dates". We always got a chuckle out of that, and wondered how Hattie then rated the Oneida School System's teachers.

Anyway, we went on, got our cones and returned to the car. We listened to the music and blew the car horn after each selection to show our appreciation.

Charles E. Page April 2002