Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jack's School Days

As you know from an earlier post, Jack attended Morrill Day Nursery while his mother worked at the card shop in downtown Portland. He attended a few different elementary schools as the family moved a number of times. He attended West School in Portland for junior high then went on to Deering High School. He remembers walking three miles to school even in heavy snow as there were no school buses at the time. When asked what his favorite subjects were he replied:
Well, English and history were my worst but my best subjects were science, geography and math.  Those were always my best subjects and I went through school that way.
There were no organized sports in elementary school but he and his brother did participate in activities at the Portland Boys Club.  He played freshman football at Deering but soon after began working after school which ended up taking time away from school activities (more on Jack's early work days in another post). He also played tennis with his friends in his free time. Did you know that Jack's nickname in high school was Jackson? Take a look at his high school (1946) yearbook page:

While a junior in high school, Jack was offered an opportunity to attend the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine.  In 2007, he reflected on this experience as learning monotonous procedures such as cleaning your sink with a toothbrush or making your bed to utter perfection. It seems the training was heavy on routine at the expense of the normal high school life of attending classes and socializing freely.  In June of 1945, he received an honorable discharge as a midshipman from the academy and returned to Portland.

After graduating from high school, Jack enlisted into the Navy and began basic training in Bainbridge, Maryland in August 1946. His interest in science and math from his days of youth carried right into his choice of what he would end up studying in the Navy, and later in college. Upon initial entry into the Navy, he enrolled in Seabee School and studied in the electrician field later to work as a "construction electrician" at various posts in the Pacific and Alaska. Check out the little newspaper piece from Pauline's scrapbook:
The original Seabees formed the Construction Battalions (CBs) from World War II. The Seabees have been featured in a lot of popular culture including a John Wayne movie from 1944, and Ward Cleaver, the fictional father from Leave It To Beaver, was a Seabee. 
(Source for information and the Seabee emblem:

When he got out of the service, he used the GI Bill to take courses at Portland Junior College and then enrolled at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) in a field that would lead to his career of life: photography.  The GI Bill was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1944 and included generous provisions to fund education for returning servicemen. This bill had an enormous impact on American economic society in the 1950's.
In this newspaper clipping (probably from the Westbrook American), Jack is being interviewed by the reporter on the street, again taken from Pauline's scrapbook:         
Click on images to expand them.
     Finally we see Jack's 1953 graduation book from RIT...

1 comment:

  1. Great post, very interesting!


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