Retired teacher remembers first year on the job at Wolcott Street School and living in the lovely village | #teacher | #children | #kids


Photo: Miss Anne Marie Peca’s third-grade class at Wolcott Street School in 1972.

It was September 1972 and I was about to begin my first year of teaching at Wolcott Street School in LeRoy. My whole life I had wanted to be a teacher but to be able to teach where my mother grew up and where my grandmother still lived made it all the more exciting and memorable. 

I have so many memories from that first year. My first week at Wolcott Street School I was in the workroom making dittos (mimeograph copies) by hand when a teacher who I think taught my mother came in and yelled at me and said students are not allowed to use the machine and ordered me back into the high school building.

I will always remember my very first class, of third-graders, and the many rules I broke. I didn’t realize you needed permission to take your class for a walk or you shouldn’t adjust the thermostat in your classroom to 90 degrees to teach the children about what it’s like to live in a desert. My thermostat regulated the heat for the entire second floor.

That year we did the play “Mary Poppins” on the big stage (at left is a “ditto” of the program).

I do have so many treasured memories of being a teacher in LeRoy but I also have so many memories living in LeRoy.

One highlight was visiting my grandmother who lived at 25 South St. I loved going to mass with her at Saint Joseph’s Church and visiting Saint Francis Cemetery. We would water all the flowers on the graves of our relatives and it seemed like it was half the cemetery.

Later on, when I was a teacher in LeRoy I learned to appreciate the beauty of the village.

In 1974 I was married and we moved to LeRoy and lived at 15 Lake St. in Mr. Miceli’s upstairs apartment. It was a beautiful two-bedroom apartment with a living room, kitchen and a storage room. The rent was $100 a month and that included utilities.

I always enjoyed walking to school to teach because walking down Main Street was so beautiful, plus we only had one car. I would walk past the village hall and I would wave to Mrs. Fernaays, who I always thought was the mayor of LeRoy.

After school on my way home I would stop at the LeRoy Drugstore to pick up a prescription or a card. My next stop was Peck’s Meat Market to buy two pork chops or a half pound of ground beef. On Saturday, our date night we would walk to the LeRoy Theater and watch a 50-cent movie and then stroll home. 

I do remember one thing that took getting used to was a very loud siren that would go off if there was a fire. We lived very close to the village hall and the first time we heard the siren go off, we jumped out of bed and thought we were being attacked.  

I will always treasure my time in LeRoy, not just the beautiful village, but the wonderful friends I made, and the outstanding teachers I had the privilege to work with. I was also able to create treasured memories with my beautiful grandmother, Jennie Bellow. 

Now when I visit St. Francis’s Cemetery it is to visit my grandparents, aunt, uncle and baby sister’s gravestones. As I sit there I remember that little girl running all around the cemetery watering flowers with her grandmother.

The Village of LeRoy is as beautiful today as it was when we lived there in the ’70s.  

My memories can’t compare to someone who is a true LeRoyan but I want to thank all of you for letting me be one for a few years!

Images courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz.


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