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It’s the ‘Principal” of the thing

It’s the ‘Principal” of the thing

By 1917, an elementary school had been established in Golden Meadow. The principal was Arthur Scott with assistant principal Loretta McCabe. (I encounter Mr. Scott in a future column.)

Mr. Scott was drafted in 1918 during World War 1. Miss McCabe became principal until 1933 when Golden Meadow High School was built.

The principal / classroom teacher was Leonard Miller, a fascinating individual who was to influence his domain far beyond his titled duties.

Miss McCabe became his assistant and her influence still resonated today, but that’s also a future column.

Mr. Miller was a strict disciplinarian, but in 1930s Golden Meadow, you had to be! You also had to know a little fisticuff, because many times he had to actually fight with fathers whose children had been reprimanded. (I understood he was pretty good at that too).

He walked tall and straight with a firm stare and a rigid neck, a condition caused, some say, be an old football injury.

By late 1941 to my graduation in 1946, less two years we lived in New Orleans, I was educated, enlightened and punished by this prominent educator, Leonard Miller, Sr.

Later in life, I encountered him numerous times at school gatherings and he was always very pleasant and even seemed to like me. But for the rest of his life, I remained in awe of, but always intimidated by him.

I was not always as wise and clever as I turned out to be, (read this as, “I was sometimes pretty stupid and did idiotic things”), but after punishment for a few moronic deeds, usually by me copying pages of dictionary, I finally saw the light. I firmly believe that he was partly responsible for whatever worthy part of me that now remains.

Examples:
I carved my initials on a new desk. Caught … punished!

I guess I wanted to be remembered, and I was. Thirty years later, at a school function, my initials were still there!

I quickly left that room with a red face.

A fellow student was carrying a heavy stack of books. I picked one up and said, “I thought Lincoln had freed the slaves.”

At that moment, turning the corner right behind him was, guess who? Caught … punished!

In the bus one morning while on our way to school, a fellow student passed around a lit cigarette and I foolishly took a drag. We were reported. Caught … punished!

I don’t remember who that ratfink, umm, I mean, dutiful bus driver, was, but Mr. Miller’s punishment barred us from riding the bus for a whole week. I don’t recall how I got to school since my parents did not own a car, but I did.

An amazing thing that every student who ever attended Golden Meadow High School knew was that in a school that was built in 1933 and had survived numerous hurricanes, the wood floor auditorium would squeak, even when a mouse crossed it.

However, if you should do a misdeed after having crossed dozens of feet of this floor without making a single sound, right behind you would appear a 180-lb. principal named Mr. Leonard Miller, Sr.

Oh, to relive those years again!

Mr. Miller and his wife Alice had two children, Leonard, Jr., who married Gloria Theriot and became an insurance agent, and daughter, also named Alice, who married and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.
Sadly, Alice was murdered there. The murder was solved and resulted in a book and a T.V. movie called

“Murder in Little Rock”.

Leonard (Buddy) Miller, III, affiliated with K.L.E.B. radio, once told me that although her husband was an early suspect, he knew from the beginning that it was not him, as was later proven.

It’s a very sad story about a man who left an immortal legacy in a populace where I proudly live and love.

Here’s a philosophic gem that popped into my head … scratch that, I mean borrowed from much better writers …

‘No matter how much you accomplish in your life, how many people attending your funeral will be largely dependent on the weather’.

Bye now!