Hyde Bay Logo Herbert Pickett's Family History
Gilman School

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Herbert Pickett, Jr. writing:     

As the honeymoon summer was over, Grandpa hitched up the team and took the couple and their baggage to the station at Worcester for the journey to Baltimore. They would take the Delaware end Hudson to Albany, change to the New York Central to New York, then cross over to Penn Station and take the Pennsylvania to Baltimore. I can imagine they broke the trip with a stay at 456 in Brooklyn. At Gilman, they moved into an apartment on the ground floor at the back of the school, in our time occupied by the Bartletts and the Morrows. It had its own entrance with a small portico.

      For Emily, it was the entrance into another new world. Dad had taught there for three years as a bachelor. (See his recollections in the Gilman Alumni bulletin.) Gilman was a relatively young school then, the main building being only about four years old. It had its beginning in the Homewood Mansion on the campus of Johns Hopkins University.  In one sense, it was experimental; it was the first “country day school”. It was really in the country, if within the Baltimore city limits. There were day students, 5-day boarders and 7-day boarders. The latter were sons of Southerners sent to prepare for Princeton. The five-day boarders were local boys who went home Friday afternoon and came back on Sunday, so having the best of both worlds of home and school. Day students arrived in various ways, by chauffeur in the family limousine, walked from Roland Park or Guilford, used the electric cars, or some by railroad. There were commuter trains on the "Northern Central" a branch of the Pennsylvania that ran from Baltimore to Harrisburg.  The Green Spring Valley boys came this wayt.   They were met by an ancient truck with solid rubber tires, and sat on benches in the back under a canvas cover. It was called, "The Barge" and was driven by an amiable member of the ground crew named Charlie.

      The other element of Gilman's life was that it was as close as possible to an. English Public School, cleansed as far as possible from the less lovely aspects of that system, such as fagging, ragging, prefects, caning, etc. The teachers were all called "Masters," always addressed as "Sir."  Classes were Forms, numbered one to six. Six Formers were the elite, eating at the high table with the headmaster, studying in their own rooms or at appointed places, (if not on condition, i.e. flunking:) Grades appeared every Thursday on weekly reports so that failures that week spent an hour or more of make-up from 3:15 - 3: 45 daily or on Saturday morning. The course of study was only the basics: hard drill on the subjects required by Princeton or the A. plan College boards. The emphasis was on the training of a gentleman, and code of the gentleman was both encouraged and enforced: honor, integrity, sportsmanship, giving your all, in short, impeccable manners.

      The Gilman Mother and Dad first knew was this way to the nth degree. A daily inescapable ritual was coffee after noonday dinner in the library. The headmaster's wife poured demitasse, and the adults and wives had a moment of relief from adolescents. At supper in the evening, all the boarders wore their blue serge, the lower school lads in knickers and Buster Brown collars, the adults equally formal in dress.

      Athletics were required for every student, not innocuous physical education but a competitive sport. Football in the Fall, undersquads in the 85, 95, 105 and 130 pound teams, junior Varsity and Varsity. The less rugged could take tennis or cross-country. In the winter soccer, wrestling and basketball, in spring, baseball, track and tennis were offered.   This was again the English pattern, "Waterloo won on the playing field of Eton,” You can see that it was a life rigid, inhibited, and ritualized in the extreme. As far as I know, Mother and Dad fitted in pretty well. When Dad came back to Gilman in 1919, it was on the express condition that they not live in the school building, that they had to have a life of their own. Life in the building was pretty small, petty, insulated from the real world.

      Of course, things never really settle down because before long Mother knew she was pregnant. When Dad told Mr. Pine, the Headmaster, about it, he was told immediately to find another job. Dad felt that Mr. Pine believed such evidence of raw sexuality was out of place in a boy's school. He seemed to feel that there was no place for faculty children, although he had three of his own. More likely, there really was no place in the school for a teacher with children.  Most of the teachers were bachelors.  Other events were unsettling. War was raging in Europe. The "Lusitania" had been sunk. That April, President Wilson asked for and got a declaration of war against Germany and the Central Powers.  A few weeks later, May 15th, Mother went to the Women’s Hospital, on Lafayette Street in Baltimore and was delivered of a son, to be called Herbert Elmer, Jr.  I have always believed that Dr. M. Gibson Porter, our family physician even after Sally and I moved to Baltimore, was in charge.  The Second Liberty Bond drive was made that day, and a $25.00 one was purchased in my name.

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