The following is a letter from my great-grandmother, Clarissa Camnitz, written to me in my junior year of high school for an unremembered project. I reckon she was in her mid- to late-80s at the time.
Friday, February 2, 1979
San Clemente, California
You and a rainy cold day have given me an opportunity to reminisce a bit for my earlier days. You can screen my thoughts for that which will help you in your report.
My first year in school was in Cumminsville so where I was broken of using my left hand in writing. It was not permitted at that time. Was there one year when I went to Covington, KY to school where I lived with an Uncle and Aunt, then to Winton Place until I was in the 4th grade. Mother and my stepfather bought a home in Madisonville in 1906 at the corner of Roanoke, then Charles Street, Grancola, then George Street and the counry road named after the Settle Coal and Builders Supply Company family.
The school I attended there was one mile from our home which we walked in attending school which was and is at the corner of Prentice, Mathis and Ward streets fenced in but up to the B&B railroad tracks on the fourth side. The high schools across, the Ward Street side of it. The old grade school was replaced about 1909 with the present one. In the old one, the high school chemistry and physics laboratory, housed a “paddler” which was a seat with a paddle, operated by the teacher and a foot treadle operating the paddle. No sore and red hands for them! This was not placed in the new school. At the time the black population lived mainly on the hillside above the creek which paralleled Camargo Road between Madisonville and Madeira and on Red Bank Road between Erie and now Madison Road. They attended (students) our school without a thought of being integrated.