My Fourth Grade teacher was Mrs. Lois Harper. Mrs. Harper was a mousey small woman of average build of the type who slither through grocery stores wearing dowdy dresses. She had curly salt and pepper hair and wore glasses. She seemed to have a constant smirking smile as her beady eyes peered over her glasses. She paced the floor a lot. 

I only remember one event from that year. It was one that altered my course for nearly two decades. In a most negative way. 

Up to this point, I had an active interest in girls, and always had at least one pretend girlfriend. I had no inhibitions dealing with them and often did so in both the classroom and on the playground. Evidently too much so for Mrs. Harper’s liking. One of my girlfriends sat right in front of me and I often talked to her when I shouldn’t have. Tired of warning me, Mrs. Harper sent me to the principal’s office at least once. Undeterred, I continued talking. 

So one day Mrs. Harper decided to cure me once and for all. And she did. 

As I remember it was mid-morning when she caught me talking. She made me get up and go sit next to the girl at her desk for the rest of the day. The seat was so narrow we were pressed together. Of course, the whole class giggled the rest of the day. I remember Mrs. Harper smirking with contentment from time to time. 

It worked. I became frightened of girls and unable to deal with them until I was an adult. Not that I had no desire. I was just scared shitless to make that first gesture. Thanks to Mrs. Harper. 

My Fifth Grade teacher was Mrs. Miriam Snuggs. She was a tall, lean, severe woman who rarely smiled. She had a homely face with piercing blue eyes behind steel-rimmed glasses. Her hair was a reddish dark blond worn in a tight, braided bun. She dressed in neutral color suits with white blouses as would an office worker. The combination was very imposing, though lacking of personality. I remember her as soft-spoken, very kind and patient. I liked her very much but I remember nothing else about that year.

This is another installment of Don Harbor’s memories from his time at Shades Cahaba. He has graciously allowed me to post excerpts on the blog. You can hear my interview with him at

The photo is the 1951 middle school football team. I didn’t have a photo of Don’s class so you get this instead!