The classroom numbers were huge, over forty eighth graders by the time I arrived. The walls were thin. The radiators leaked and hissed. Plaster chunks dropped randomly from the ceiling. When the third floor teacher practiced his trumpet during the noon hour, every student in the school was motivated to eat lunch more quickly and get outside. The storage area was like the magic porridge pot, spewing not porridge, but additional lift top desks each day, as new subdivision students continued to appear.
Despite its historical interest, the building was eventually condemned. I found this photo of Church Street Public School from the early 1900's in the PADA archives.
I remember the girls' door was on the right, near the massive elm tree. The elm tree still existed when I attended the school, although it was infested with disease carrying beetles by then.
"Someone" used to collect the bugs and "innocently" deposit them into the desks of squeamish and annoying girls. I can't recall who actually did that, but I can personally guarantee that this individual would never have been a suspect.
The school had some wonderful ornamental cement edging and the less sophisticated of the eighth graders enjoyed playing "ledgers" with tennis balls on these outdoor shelves. The rest of the students found hiding places around the building to get into other sorts of mischief. This was our class photo taken at the back of the building.
My teacher was young, handsome and patient. During an parent-teacher interview, he told my folks how quiet I was and how it was hard to discern what my interests were. He told them I appeared to be interested in nothing.
He also predicted to our huge class that only about four or five students would eventually make it to university. He was pretty accurate.
In later years, he was a principal and eventually hired one of those students. Now, fifty two years later, I still occasionally see the eighth grade teacher who once hired me. I wonder whether he ever figured out who put all those bugs into people's desks.
September 2013 Update
Wish I'd known about this. I might have joined them.