Terry Adams

School Memories of Verna Schmidt,

I first met Miss Verna Schmidt as a grade school student.  Our sixth grade class from Roosevelt went to Central Junior High to get acquainted with the school we would be attending the next year (1949).  Miss Schmidt gave us a tour of the school.  When we were back at Roosevelt, Miss Fellows asked what the class should do as a response.  The correct answer?  Send a thank-you to Miss Schmidt.

Once we started attending Central the word was spread that Miss Schmidt had a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian.  Some students had even seen a paddle hanging on her wall.  Still, we couldn't imagine why it was there or how it would be used.  The answer came years later at a funeral home visitation.  Two gentlemen were discussing Central Junior High and Miss Schmidt.  One of them stated that, yes, at one time Miss Schmidt had used the paddle -- on him.

The other one then related his experience coming through the tunnel from Ames High School to Central.  Walking through the tunnel, he had reached up and pounded the frames around the lights.  They vibrated and the filaments within broke, causing them to go out.  As he got to the door into Central, he was met by Miss Schmidt, who took him back through the dark tunnel and informed him that he would be readmitted to Central once he had replaced the lights.  What did he do?  He went down to the east end of Main street, where his father had a grocery on the south side.  He looked in, saw where his father was, and snuck down the aisle to the section where the light bulbs were.  He reached up, grabbed them, and snuck back out and returned to Central.  The lights were replaced!

Another story of interest involved the principals of Central and Ames High School.  I cannot remember what Miss Schmidt did or did not do, or allowed to happen, but the High School principal was very irritated.  He stormed across the street, went up to the second floor, walked right on by the desk and into her private office in back.  He proceeded to chew her out.  Miss Schmidt looked up, reached for the volume control on her hearing aid, and as she turned it on, said, I'm sorry, Herb.  Did you have something to tell me?  C. Herbert Adams, Ames High School principal could not keep his anger up that long, and left.  He told me that story himself.

This has nothing to do with Fräulein Schmidt, but relates to a curious fact about Adams family high school diplomas.  My grandmother and her sister graduated with their brother serving as superintendent.  In my case, my father, Frank Adams, was school board president.  My diploma (class of 1955) is signed by Frank E. Adams, President, Ames School Board; C. Herbert Adams, Principal; and Harry McPhail, Superintendent.  Father and Superintendent McPhail were good friends, and dad always called him The Chief.  Does a diploma for an Adams, signed by two Adamses and The Chief sound very authentic?