There's more information in the Comment section for this post, including some memories on the East Side's infamous Adolf Moses.
Anyone with more details or a photo of Gypsy Jack should feel free to pass it along.
Homedale Elementary School Class of 1973
I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore when I hear about another place that means something to me in Flint getting shut down and left to rot, but I was still depressed to learn that Homedale Elementary School is closed.
My grandparents lived nearby on Illinois Avenue. My mom attended Homedale before moving on to Whittier and then Central. I went to pre-kindergarten at Homedale for a few months when we were all living at my grandparents' place before moving to a house near Bassett Park.
I remember there was a big house near the school — perhaps on Olive Avenue near Davison Road — that had been transformed into a sort of Wild West museum by two hippies who owned the place. Now were they actually hippies? All I know is that they had huge beards and long hair, which was not a look my Grandmother McFarlane — who grew up on a 40-acre farm in Maple Leaf, Iowa, during the depression — would take a liking to.
One day grandma and I were walking past the house after a visit to the Homedale playground, and one of the hippie dudes was out in the yard, near the covered wagon they'd installed. My grandma struck up a conversation, complimenting him on the house. When he invited us inside, I was stunned when she said yes.
It seemed like the weirdest place in the world to me. There were wagon wheels and all kinds of other cowboy/wild west paraphernalia everywhere. These guys didn't just have a few things scattered around; the house looked like the prop room for a Sam Peckinpah picture. The hippie took us down to the basement and, as I clutched grandma's hand, revealed a built-in replica of a frontier jail, complete with a mannequin dressed as a sheriff and outlaw dummy in a small cell. (Of course, I now realize there must have been a lot of pot smoked down in that basement.)
Very strange, and mildly terrifying...but amazingly cool! And we made it out alive. On the way home grandma remarked, "Those fellows have too much time on their hands."
I hunted around for some material on Homedale, and I came across a website by a Flintoid now living in Arkansas named Kevin Watkins. He attended Homedale from 1970-1976, and his mother, Wanda Watkins, was one of the playground teachers there for several years. He posted the class photos above and the shot of the auditorium below. (Click on the class photos to enlarge them; several names are handwritten on the photos.) He asks for more information on Homedale, but my email to him got bounced back.
No idea what happened to Kevin Watkins or the Wild West boys of Olive Avenue.
Homedale Faculty in the early '70s
- Mr. Walter Behm, Principal
- Mr. Gary Sullenger, Community School Director
- Mrs. Finch, Secretary
- 6th Grade - Mrs. Carpenter, Mr Field, Miss Porter, Mrs. Patten
- 5th Grade - Mr. Bonno, Mr. Ervin, Mrs. Graham
- 4th Grade - Mrs. Cleveland, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Princing
- 3rd Grade - Mrs. Converso, Mrs. Harrington, Mrs. Robart, Mrs. Leflore
- 2nd Grade - Miss Green, Mrs. Pagel, Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Ghattas
- 1st Grade - Mrs. Bader, Mrs. Hanley, Mrs. Weatherhead
- Kindergarten - Mrs. Helber, Mrs. Keedle, Mrs. Hans, Mrs. Geiger
Other faculty: Miss Berden, Mrs. Guerin, Mrs.Katzenberger, Mr. Langley, Mrs. MacKinnon, Mrs. Ray, Mrs. Riggs, Mrs Ryan, Mrs. Benjamin, Mrs. Jarvis, Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Bill Hubbard, Mrs. Linda Munoz, Mr. joe Munoz, Mr. David Dobin.