Days of Yore
 
as recounted by

Bill Day

 


An interview with Florie B. Turnley
Florie B. Turnley, or Miss Turnley, as she is much better remembered by Haddonfield school children of more than a few decades ago, was the seventh grade English teacher in the Haddonfield School System.

She taught in that second floor classroom in the old Brown Building on Lincoln avenue.  It was separated from Miss Bryson’s classroom by doors that could be raised to form one big room when assemblies were scheduled.  Miss Turnley, now long retired, is often encountered by here old students when shopping on east Kings highway.

She always remembers them and reminisces with them.  Miss Turnley is a native of Haddonfield, as her grandfather established the flower farm on Euclid avenue.  Her father carried on the business.  The farm extended from Haddon avenue up to the railroad tracks and on the opposite side of Euclid avenue was the then existing Willits Coal and Lumber Yard.  Plants and blooms were sold from the six glass greenhouses that were in the vicinity of the present Turnely avenue.  Down in Camden at 535 Federal street there was a retail flower store that the Turnely family operated.  Former Police Chief Frank Tucker’s father assisted in the business.

In those days there was no kindergarten and young Florie stared school in the first grade and that was the worst school year that she had.  A childhood disease had kept here a home for a time during which the two times table had been taught.  Soon after the five year old returned to class the teacher gave a test on the table and poor Florie did not know what it was all about.  She drew a picture of two tables on her test paper.  When the teacher saw Florie’s paper she laughed, held it up for the class to see, and they all laughed at Florie’s expense.  She was mortified and had a very poor year as a result.

On being graduated form Haddonfield High School in 1910, Miss Turnley attended Trenton Normal School for two years and became an accredited elementary school teacher.  She rode trolleys for two years from Haddonfield to Woodbury via Camden on her first teaching assignment.  Her next position was in Haddon Heights where she taught fifth grade for five years.  It meant a walk form her big white home at the Haddon avenue the Haddon Heights and return every day.  Miss Turnley transferred next to the Junior School in Haddonfield where she taught until her retirement in the late 1950s.

Meeting and talking with here, former pupils will be sure to be asked some technical question such as “Do you know what a past participle is yet?”  Yes, Miss Turnley is still the same strict teacher that she always was.  Remember the 25 item test that she gave just before the end of each marking period?  Twenty-five  sentences were required to be written and each had to have one of the 25 parts of the English language in it.  One passed the test or one failed.

A chat with Miss Turnley made this column possible and it was written with her full permission, or else!


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