I was thinking about my 25 years at Neosho High School as I walked along the school on my daily trek along Wildcat Boulevard. Twenty-three years were spent in Room 24. At that time, the entire west wall was windows which looked onto Neosho Boulevard. I purposely left the blinds open and told the kids, “If you get bored listening to me, look out the windows and count pickups on the Boulevard.”

I was thinking about my 25 years at Neosho High School as I walked along the school on my daily trek along Wildcat Boulevard. Twenty-three years were spent in Room 24. At that time, the entire west wall was windows which looked onto Neosho Boulevard. I purposely left the blinds open and told the kids, “If you get bored listening to me, look out the windows and count pickups on the Boulevard.”
After a year or so, I began writing down unusual things, or unusual happenings, that occurred in Room 24.
Of course on April 1st, students were always attempting to play an “April Fools’ Joke” on the teacher. One year, a young lady got up from her desk and stumbled to my desk. She whispered she wasn’t feeling well and then collapsed to the floor.
I jumped up, ready to help or give CPR. As I bent over her outstretched body, her lips parted into a huge grin accompanied by giggles. She did not need to say “April Fools!”
As in most English classes, vocabulary was important. The senior classes had to furnish their own spelling words. Weekly, each student would provide a word “worthy of study,” write it on the board, and orally give the definition to the class.
Soon patterns began to appear. The Future Farmers of America kids would have agriculture words. Another young man was destined to become a physician. His words all were medical or surgical words. The kids began to call him “Doc.”
One young lady began bringing words that began with the letter “z.” Of course in time, she took on the nickname of “Zee.”
Zee runs a business here in Neosho today. I see her once in a while and still call her “Zee” like the kids did many years ago.
For a time, the senior English classes were only a semester long. So the students changed to a different room and different teacher at the beginning of the second semester.
One year both Gary Sims, the other English teacher and I changed classes with, and I were going to be giving tests to the second semester students. The students didn’t want to take a test on Friday and decided to moved back into the class they had first semester.
Mr. Sims and I caught wind of it and waited until the kids were all in their old classrooms. We went in and passed out tests just as if we didn't know that the kids had exchanged rooms.
Fads were a part of Room 24. Over the years various fads such as: mood rings, ankle bracelets, long hair, short hair, no hair, fuzzy hair, Scrunchies, and WWJD bracelets.
One time a young man had his ear pierced and sported a dangling earring. He asked how I liked it. I told him I thought it looked nice, “kind of cute!” Then I added, “My grandmother wore earrings just like it, and I always liked hers!”
Year later, I met a student who often slept in my class. He asked, “Do you know me?”
I replied, “Please lean over. I will recognize the top of your head better than your face!”
Take a walk, think about all your favorite memories—the good times, use those signal lights, watch for pedestrians, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.

  Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.