E3 -- Photo contributed by Terry Dunkle


My oldest sister, Cheryl, and I, posing in front of our alma mater in 1999.  I'm giving her the horns, as usual.

Built around 1850 (or so I think), the Tombs Run School educated and subdued generations of Watson Township children.  In its last 30 years (it closed in 1959), it was the scene of many a drama pitting teachers Paul Overdorf and (later) Geneva Clark against unruly members of the Dunkle, Spong, Brion, Ulmer, Aumiller, Wheary, Wall, Gardner, Breon, Moore, Smith, Greene, Riggle, and other tribes.

Behind and to the right of the school, in the shade of the sycamores next to that rushing stream, you can see the coal shed.  There, at age ten, standing in the anthracite on a sultry May afternoon, I kissed Martha Greene.  Later, Virginia Smith dangled me over the stream by my heels and asked how on earth I'd gotten my feet so black.  All of this happened during a legendary recess that lasted half the day.  While the two dozen pupils played "Annie, Annie, Overball!" and hunted rattlesnakes in the woods, Mrs. Clark lay snoring peacefully on the recitation bench at the front of the room.  We woke her just in time to prevent the bus drivers from seeing this professional lapse.

Tombs Run is named after Philip Tomb, the early settler on Pine Creek who, at about the time this school was built, penned a remarkable book, 30 Years a Hunter, detailing Pine Creek history.  Among other things, Tomb tells of an evening at a tavern near the mouth of the creek when some of the locals, primed with rum, captured an elk and coaxed it upstairs to the second floor, but were unable to get it back down.  I don't remember the outcome, but one day I'll refresh my memory: I own a copy of the work, acquired 25 years ago from a rare-book seller in Selinsgrove.

-- Terry

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