Friday, June 5, 2015
Rob Mullins is a proud graduate of Poppleton School’s Class of 1949 and still organizes the Poppleton School Reunion held annually at the Troy Historic Village. This year’s reunion will be on September 10 from 11:00 am- 3:00 pm. and will feature live music. All Poppleton attendees, teachers, and former administrators are welcome. Mr. Mullins also published Poppleton School: The School That…, in which he recounts memories of former students and the successes that Poppleton kids achieved as adults. In today’s 365 Story he remembers teacher and administrator Boyd Larson.
In August 1946 my brother Lowell was hitchhiking home from Birmingham after cutting people’s lawns. A car stopped and picked him up. The gentleman started talking about school and Lowell told him that at Poppleton there were (only) women teachers. The man said, “I am Boyd Larson and I will be teaching at Poppleton this fall.” Word spread like wild fire that we were going to have a male teacher. No one had any idea what a huge impact he would have on the school and our community.
To all of us at Poppleton he was the answer to a prayer. Probably this was the first time in our lives that we couldn’t wait to start school. Right from the beginning of his career, he would come out to the playground and play with us. We got a lot of new playground equipment because of his influence. He started organizing all kinds of activities for us including baseball and football games between all the elementary schools in Troy and surrounding areas.
Mr. Larson became the Superintendent of Poppleton (prior to the establishment of consolidated school districts.) with the dual capacity of teaching. He was outstanding at both jobs but we students thought he was most outstanding in the classroom. We loved him.
I’ll tell you how he handled a discipline problem. In the morning, we would get to school early and put our lunches on the outside window sills and go play ball before school started. This particular day it had rained the night before and there were a ton of worms on the ground. Grover DeWolf picked up some of the worms and put them in Frank Bosillisco’s sandwich. Only three or four of us knew about it and we didn’t tell. At noon Frank took a bite of his sandwich and fortunately did not bite into a worm, but he saw them. Frank showed the sandwich to Mr. Larson who knew right away who did it. He called Grover to his office and said to him, “Go on home and make Frank two sandwiches and don’t come back without them.”
Surprisingly, Grover was back in a fairly short time. Mr. Larson said he had two nice ham sandwiches. He chewed Frank out the best he could and sent him back to the classroom. Grover started laughing and when Mr. Larson said, “What’s so funny?” Grover replied, “Today’s Friday. Frank is Catholic and can’t eat meat and you didn’t tell me what kind of sandwiches to make.”
Mr. Larson said, “You got me.” So he took Frank down to Burl’s Restaurant and bought him a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of milk.
Boyd Larson went on to pioneer the district’s special education program, served as its first athletic director, and the Assistant Superintendent. Larson Middle School was named in his honor in 1977, the year he retired. Mr. Larson passed away on June 4, 1994 at the age of 75.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.