The Rosenwald School in Oxford, Georgia was built in 1921 and many of the surrounding African American children attended it. One of those children was Waymon Cooksey. Cooksey attended the school from 1947 to 1955 and he has many fond memories of his time there. Most of those memories center around the girls of the school!
Cooksey had many stories to tell, one of the funnier stories centered on a girl named Ruby. Cooksey had passed Ruby a note that he thought said “I love you. I hope you love me too.”
Well his teacher intercepted the note and made him write it up on the board. When he read the note to her, she told him that’s not what it said. After many minutes of arguing the teacher asked Ruby what the note said. Ruby replied with, “I love you. I hop you love me too.”
Poor Cooksey had spelled “hope” wrong and the whole class knew! Cooksey remembers that day in vivid detail, and so do many other alumni of the Rosenwald School.
Cooksey’s other memories from Rosenwald School are from his time at recess. Often the students would walk up to the general store right up the street. Candy there was only a nickel so many of the boys felt rich visiting the store.
Cooksey would often buy any girl who asked him a bar of candy. However, once he bought them the candy they would walk off with a different guy! Poor Cooksey didn’t catch on quickly and kept falling for their trap.
One day, his friend Nathaniel Towler convinced him to stop buying all the girls candy. He told young Cooksey that he was going to spend all his money on candy and later on he wouldn’t have any money to get married or buy a house. Cooksey had always dreamed of getting married so he quickly stopped buying candy for the girls!
All the stories I have heard from the Rosenwald School have been happy ones. Waymon Cooksey noted, “I enjoyed school everyday. I wasn’t sad to go to school.” Many of these happy memories are being immortalized on the Rosenwald School float for Oxford, Georgia’s 175th anniversary celebration. If you want to see their float, attend the parade on the 4th of July.