THE old school picture on this page was taken in 1949 and was e.mailed to us all the way from Wilmington North Carolina.
It is the old Balteagh Public Elementary School of 1949, and the ex-scholar now in the US of A is William Graham Burrell who is on the left of the top row.
W.G. left for America the year after the picture was taken, and his nostalgia was prompted by a recent report in the Portadown Times about a reunion by the ex-pupils of Balteagh, where the last principal was Marshall Matchett. Balteagh was closed, a “victim” of the new city of Craigavon project, and Marshall and his pupils were moved mainly to Tullygally.
William Graham writes - ‘It (the Times article) immediately brought back pleasant memories. I was a student there until 1950 when my family moved to the USA.
‘The attached picture was taken in 1949 of the third and fourth grade students and our teacher. The teacher’s name escapes me. I am the first person on the left in the top row.
‘Although I recognise most of the people in the picture, the only names I remember are Joseph Parks, Kenneth Bell, Kenneth I am in touch with an Eleanor Boyd.
‘Eleanor, I believe, is the young lady on the left in the first row. I remember playing “rounders” in the school yard during the lunch break and planting vegetables in small garden plots behind the school, writing on slate boards and many other wonderful memories.
‘Mr Lewis Bell, Kenneth’s father, was the school master and was one of the kindest men I have ever known. At the end of the school year, he brought ice cream, I think from Lurgan and we all had ice cream.
‘Another memory I have is of a lady school teacher, who drank coffee and at the end of the lunch break, she threw the remains of her coffee out of the window, and not ever tasting coffee, it smelled horrible.
‘To this day when I smell coffee I think of those days. It sure would be nice if the people in the picture are still among us and could perhaps identify themselves and let us know where life has brought them.’
From - William Graham Burrell, 8742 New Forest Dr., Wilmington, NC., USA 28411.
His e.mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note - Kenneth Bell is on the right of the back row - he became a university professor - and beside him is Tom Dixon, who set up business in Lurgan.