Gravel Hill in 1937: (L-R) Front – Calvin Turpin, Ray Hays, Marie Worthington; center – Eudell Coody who married Calvin Turpin, Faye Hays, Elva Hays; back – Sunday School teacher Raymond Coody, Austin Carson, Mary Carson, Ronie Bailey.
The following is from "Beyond My Dreams: Memories … Interpretations." The author is a member of the White County Historical Society who lives at Edmond, Oklahoma. Gravel Hill is two miles south of Joy.
By CALVIN C. TURPIN
We who attended the Gravel Hill school during the ‘30s and ‘40s refer to the school buildings as the "old" and the "new." The "new" building was constructed about 1936 by the WPA. The beautiful native stones that covered the outside came from our farm. Many said WPA stood for "We Piddle Around." True, many didn’t work hard, and little skill was required. However many good projects were completed… The nearest high school was four miles away at Floyd. They permitted students from other communities to attend; however, they must provide their own transportation. So, [in 1939] I started high school the "old-fashioned" way – I walked. Now, that was four miles each way. My parents bought me a bicycle and I occasionally rode my pony Hex. However, I found it easier to walk than ride my bicycle on dirt roads, and it was a lot of trouble taking care of the pony. So, most days I just walked… One day Johnny Burkett came to our house and told my father that if he would help him build a wooden cover for his pickup truck that he would drive the students to school for just expenses. Dad, being a carpenter, quickly agreed to the project. So, the two of them paid for the necessary materials and had the "school bus" ready when school began in November. The pickup was only ¾ ton in size. However, a large number from Joy, Gravel Hill and a part of Floyd were transported each school day. A bench was placed on either side of the bus plus a wider one down the middle where two rows of students sat back to back. At least the following rode the bus: Duncans, 2; Bomars, 2; Garrison, 1; Lawson, 1; Burketts, 2 or 3; Hays, 2; Hughes, 1; Coody, 1; Barnetts, 9; Prices, 2; Turpins, 2; plus others from time to time. Some days we must have had 30 riding in that small conveyance. That was a lot of people. It would not be permitted today; however, it met a real need and made it possible for the first time to have a large number from our community going to high school. At last any child could go to high school. Johnny Burkett charged about 50 cents per month per student – just expenses. I have never known a more dedicated group of teachers than those at Floyd High School. I remember the following: Dr. Durwood Wisdom, now a physician; Alma Britton (West), who married my half-great-uncle; the late Excell Berryhill, coach and teacher; Esta Hurchinson; Burnell Manning (Chissoe); Wanda Lawson (Butler), coach and teacher; Evelyn Bradbury (Jobe); Sunshine Thomas (Manning); Irwin W. Hatchell, principal; Eugene Hart, principal; Mrs. Roe Killough; and Mr. and Mrs. M.D. King. He was my first high school principal. When I started to high school there was no lunchroom. We either took our lunch or bought it at one of the two stores located adjacent to the campus – R.K. Perry’s and Dolph Moore’s. Later, a lunchroom was started, but most of the boys didn’t like it. We continued buying cheese and "baloney" from the stores. I have never tasted cheese and baloney as good as that. The crackers were free. Our class Commencement was on 09 April 1943. There were only 16 of us remaining. America was at war, causing many to relocate, taking with them our classmates. Now, the Gravel Hill children attend a consolidated school at Rose Bud. They travel in a modern bus, but I doubt they appreciate their school experiences as much as we did.