Those Kids I Knew At School

The other day a letter came,
In haste I read it through:
It said, "The old gang's gath'ring in,
We want to hear from you."
'Twas all excited like and seemed
Enthusiasm loosed;
The girls and boys of yesterday
All bound for "Buzzard Roost".

It somehow 'wakened memories,
I looked back through the years,
I saw the joys and bitterness,
The laughter and the tears,
I closed my eyes and saw again,
Lined up straight as a rule,
The old time gang at Sycamore;
"The Kids I knew at School".

A husky bunch, I see them all,
Not one have I forgot;
They somehow stood for something fine,
Not one scrub in the lot.
Not mental giants, I'll admit,
Nor yet, not one a fool;
It hits a tender spot of mine;
"Those Kids I knew at School."

They didn't wear the finest clothes,
Have pockets full o' dough,
No social barriers barred the way
None high and none were low.
Boys wore felt-boots throughout the day,
Yet, swore their feet were cool,
Sometimes rich dirt on hands and face;
"Those Kids I knew at School."

At times the going was rather rough
For teachers young and green;
A hornet's nest, I've heard it said,
The boys were so darn mean.
Their meanness not the vicious type.
Nor stubborn as a mule,
But getting thrills the easy way;
"Those Kids I knew at School."

I'd like to do it all again,
To you I've now confessed,
I'd even walk that rugged mile
A cold wind in the west.
I'd love to stand with Otto Young,
Ray Herman, Maruc Uhil,
And take Mike Bliler by the hand;
"Those Kids I knew at School"

Tom Simpson with his poetry,
Bill Harris with his stick;
The way they'd rave at one o'clock,
The boys still at the crick;
And sliding down the icy hills,
Bright, shining as a jewel;
I sort o' loved that orn'ry bunch;
"Those Kids I knew at School."

Home-grown tobacco played a part,
Some chump would always tell;
Yet, any teacher with a nose
Would recognize the smell.
"Sen-sen" was chewed, mixed with the smoke,
'Twas just ourselves we'd fool;
The rough switch warmed the overalls
"Of Kids I knew at School."

The games we played, nor stopped to eat,
As "Black-Man" took a chance;
I can't forget the glorious day,
Bill Harris ripped his pants,
Our joy unbounded, everyone,
I can see it now, 'twas cruel;
That rip, it meant half-holiday
"For Kids I knew at School."

It's no use folks, my memories
Have almost got me down;
The girls and boys are all grown up,
In country and in town;
Our fortunes made, or stony broke,
With life have fought a duel;
But rich or poor, they're friends of mine,
"Those Kids I knew at School."

And when I think of each and all
That memory endears,
My heart is filled with tenderness,
My eyes are filled with tears.
May fortune smile unto the end,
Their lives, may sunshine rule;
God Bless them, each and everyone,
"Those Kids I knew at School."

Howard B. Austin