Pied Piper of Garfield Elementary

I arrived at the first grade at Garfield school in 1950, a little after school had started, because I had been going to class in Juno at the one room school house there.

I think my parents kept us at the ranch until it cooled off enough for the Polio virus to calm down or maybe because even at 6 years old if we were shearing sheep and we had to work.

I recall walking into my Garfield class for the first time and being greeted by Mrs. Gault, who gave introductions.

I looked around and decided to go and sit by the only Mexican boy in the room, Judelio Garza, who was around 10 or 11. Judelio was so massive they had to bring over an extra desk from the junior high school for him to set in.

He had been sent to Del Rio by his Father, from Villa Acuna to learn English. I loved that fact because I spoke Spanish. Mrs. Gault would often call on me to interpret something she said for Judelio. I enjoyed interpreting for Judelio, because I would rarely fail to make a secret joke out of it that only he and I understood. We were however afraid that Luralee Hodge might get it because she was so smart that we figured she just came about it naturally.

The most impressive adventure that I remember from that time was when we were going on a field trip about four blocks away to the Rita theatre to see some show for kids. Enter “The Pied Piper of Garfield Elementary” - I somehow convinced Mrs. Gault that instead of going up Las Vacas St. to Greenwood Park and past Phil Foster’s Enco station, we should take the shorter route along the canal out back of the school and cut across Billy Hugh Hayes front yard on Griner, to the front of Paul Poage’s house a short distance from Main. I really don’t remember how it was that we got lost in the little jungle along that canal, but I think it was because the canal was full to the brim with water for irrigation and we could not get across to the Hayes house. Besides by that time Bob Ricks had us all scared because he said he had heard that Paul Poage was a Communist. We missed the show and all came down with a case of poison ivy.

Johnny Mayfield, Class of 1962