(61)  Lucy Emily Copinger

(61) Lucy Emily Copinger

Lucy Emily was born on 20thJan. 1883. I was writing to her in the late 1960’s. She insisted that she was the frivolous one and never did anything but a bit of proof reading. Her brother however told me that she graduated from High School and taught in public schools holding a number of positions. Having graduated at the age of 16 she read a great deal and was considered to have an excellent mind. She wrote articles for magazines of which the text of some have been found on an internet site by Elizabeth Copinger. The stories are clearly drawn from Lucy’s experience as a teacher. One of them is included in this section.

The proof reading she so casually dismissed was in employment for several years with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.

Lucy was clearly very active and enjoyed golf and horse riding in addition to her hobby as an artist.

She died on 10th January 1983, just ten days before her one hundredth birthday.

( Of May and Irene I also have to say that their nephew Roger Bernard remembers them as being a wonderfully wild pair who smoked, one of them drove a red sports car and whose activities were disapproved of by his mother. I love these two. Ian Copinger)

One of Lucy's published stories.


"In the intellectual companionship of the sexes lies the key to the mental and moral growth of the nation. "This was the sentence from "Tudor's Education" in which Miss Lucy's soul rejoiced, for 'companionship of the sexes" was Miss Lucy's hobby. True, the 60 little members of Class A, school 20, had quickly knocked down many of Miss Lucy's most beloved theories; but although "moral suasion" had been immediately routed by the wickedness of Bum O'Reilly and "enlarged apperception" had given way before the Teutonic denseness of Frederick William Schneider, "companionship of the sexes" still flourished, therefore the little boys and girls of room A sat, not in the usual discreet and opposite rows, but mingled with the freedom of the modern co-eds.

Miss Lucy was displeased. If Miss Lucy had not been a teacher, Frederick William would have said she was cross, but one of the first things Frederick William had learned in school was that a teacher can never be cross, she can only be displeased. Frederick William, tow leaded and with a continual odor of soap suds and sanctity, saw this displeasure and trembled. It was the end of his second month in school; the first having passed in tears, the second in trembling.

The morning started out well. Miss Lucy tripped to the board. "Little boys and girls," she began smilingly, "today we are going to learn a nice new story. Anna dear, don't you want to hear it?"

"No, urn." said Anna quickly.

"Oh, yes, dear, you do." said Miss Lucy reasurringly. "First though we are going to remember the story we had yesterday. Now watch' She wrote in huge letters on the board-


"Who knows? Josef?"

Josef, who had raised his hand in a rash and thoughtless spirit, looked foolish and grinned.

"Well?" smiled Miss Lucy. The phonetic method is her favorite.

Joseph made a dreadful effort. He drew himself up and, "Eat." he roars.

Miss Lucy continued to smile.

"Oh, no, Josef, not 'eat'. Try again. Children, Josef is going totry again. Now?"

Josefs thoughts and fingers lingered around a sticky bun in his desk, and "ate" he asserted stubbornly.

Miss Lucy still smiled, but constrainedly.

"Ight, Josef." she said; "remember. Now children" she continued "look!" she slowly formed a large -


"This is what the cow says." There was breathless attention while Miss Lucy shut her mouth tight and made a queer sound through his nose. Anna nudged her neighbor. "Teacher, Miss Lucy, she god a id, yes?" she whispered, wickedly.

"Now," continued Miss Lucy, "I'm going to put our two stories together, and what does it tell us; Freddy?"

Frederick William rose to his feet and to the occasion.

"B-a-a ight." he says smoothly.

It was then that Miss Lucy became displeased. She decided to give a writing lesson. There was something soothing and practical about a writing lesson, and Miss Lucy gave one whenever she grew weary of teaching the young idea how to shoot anywhere within ten feet of the null's eye. Also in its peace she generally found time to mark the roll. So, while she waded through names that were a snore only to succumb to those that were a sneeze. Frederick William, who had a tendency to shorthand laboriously copied on his paper the fact that "Bby loves mmma." He had gotten to the fifth assertion of Bbby's devotion when he felt a prod in the back and he knew it was Anna.

Anna was the girl who sat behind him. She had a Polish and impossible name and Miss Lucy called her Anna Karenina for short. She never wore more than one garter at a time and it was always a blue hair ribbon. Moreover, Anna Karenina was dirty.

It may have been the exclusiveness reflected from a royal namesake, or only the natural snobbishness of a soapsudish upbringing, but Frederick William did not like Anna. Once when he had no little boy to march out with, she had taken him by the hand and led him, red and ashamed, down the long hall. Then one recess he was sitting under a big tree on the boy's side when suddenly Anna crossed the forbidden line. Her face was very dirty and she leaned close to him, and whispered in a voice of triumph, "I've got a mash on you!"

At this declaration the piece of bun Frederick William had jus swallowed went half way down and stopped. A dreadful idea seized him. Once he had been sitting beneath that same tree and when he had reached home his mother had found the remains of a caterpillar upon him He sprang up. "Take it off, please take it off!" he cried, vainly craning his head backward. But Anna had only stared.

Since then he had received many overtures. He never stood up for his lessons, but that when he sat down it was upon some trifling love token a pencil, a fragment of banana or a piece of candy. Therefore, when he felt Anna's touch he did not turn, and it was not until his paper was filled that the prod was removed and something fell into his lap. It was a piece of chewing gum that had been much and loving chewed.

Frederick William picked it up at once and laid it on Anna's desk. “No thank you," he whispered, politely. In a few minutes it fell into his lap again. "Id's for you," came in a thick whisper from Anna, whose accent was like a cold in the head "No, thank you,” Frederick William said politely.

However a few minutes later he found the gum sticking to his sleeve and then he grew angry. He pulled it off, and tiptoeing to the waste basket he threw it in. On his way back he glanced at Anna Karenina and she made a face at him. Just then Miss Lucy looked up. "Children." she said, "I am going to call the roll. Answer at once."

It was not until she had gotten down to the E's that it happened. A cry rent the air, a loud and sudden cry that started from Frederick William's mouth, causing 59 little children to make 59 queer and unintentional marks on their papers, and echoed all the way to the principal's room.

During an awful moment of silence Miss Lucy held her pen suspended in displeasure. Then, "Frederick," she exclaimed, "What is the matter?"

A hot wave of shame dyed Frederick William's face.

"Nothun," he said, stolidly.

"But why did you cry out like that?" asked Miss Lucy severely. "What was it."

"Nothun." said Frederick William.

Then Miss Lucy glared. Whenever Miss Lucy encountered a case not found in "Discipline of the School Room" or "Moral Suasion" she glared. It was unpedagogical but human.

"Remain after school." she said, shortly.

Frederick William sobbed sobs that jerked him up from his seat, shook him convulsively, and sat him down again rudely and heavily.

In the meantime the number work had begun. Anna Karenina was at the board when Miss Lucy chanced to look down at the child's feet, Anna's shoes and stockings were interesting as family heirlooms of a prehistoric period, but it was upon Anna's right toe that Miss Lucy's eyes were fixed.

"Anna," said Miss Lucy, "what is that sticking out from the toe of your shoe?"

"Miss I never pud id there." said Anna ,virtuously. "I dond know noding aboud id."

"Anna. " said Miss Lucy sternly, "why did you stick a pin in your shoe?"

"Honesd" Miss Lucy," cried Anna with vehement innocence, honesd to drudth hope I may die may the devil cadch me if id aind the drudth I'm delling you I dond know noding aboud id."

"Stay in after school." said Miss Lucy, helplessly.

At 12 o'clock the dismissal bell rang and the children filed out, leaving Miss Lucy alone with the culprits. Ten minutes later Frederick William was dismissed and departed with an echoing snuffle. Miss Lucy waited until she knew the heavy silence of the empty school had sunk in to the soul of Anna Karenina.

"Anna," she said at last, "can you tell me the truth now?"

Two dirty tears rolled down Anna's cheeks.

"Miss," she began, "I had a mash on him. He was so glean and I gave him all my gandy and all my bearlie and all my ludch and I gave him today my gum that I luf, and he would nod haf id. Id was the windergreen and id is now in the waste basged. And then I stuck a pin in him and he made a holler and I am glad. I hade him."

It was then that ss Lucy understood that problems will arise for which no theories have as yet been arranged.

"You can go now Anna" she said.

After Anna had gone Lucy sat for a long time confronting the empty benches and the eternal problem of the child of the streets, he next day Class A, School 20, changed seats and when the principal came into the room he saw two proper rows of little girls on one side and two proper rows of little boys on the other.

Also from that time it was noticed that "companionship of the sexes" had somehow fallen into oblivion.


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