Mentor School was a poor country school on the road to the airport about one and a half miles from our home. It was one of those traditional schools where each morning before class the teachers read a Bible passage and then sang a couple of songs. One of these songs was always the Tennessee state song, which made an impression on me, and even today, more than fifty years later, I can hum the tune. When I was a kid I thought that the song was really great. Now I think it is corny, and I wonder if the song is still the state song.
The school building was simple. Coal-burning stoves heated the schoolrooms in winter, and open windows cooled them in the spring and fall, not that this made the rooms any more comfortable. The kitchen and lunchroom were downstairs in a half basement. The girls had an outdoor privy behind the school on the edge of the playground, and our privy was a little farther from the school build-