BRIEF HISTORY OF SUE REYNOLDS HERSELF 

Named for Sue Carolyn Reynolds—the first woman to have a local school named after her. ‘Miss Sue’ was a devoted teacher, who dedicated 47 years to Richmond County students. She died in her sleep at age 87.

GRADUATING EXERCISES FROM 5/31/1935


Memoir by Richard Hillman

  Richard Hillman as a Sue Reynolds student

Richard Hillman as a Sue Reynolds student

There is a great Hallmark Movie entitled, “The Magic of Ordinary Days”. Most of us senior citizens have that type of memory of our personal “good old days”. To us they were indeed magic. They conjure memories of a safe and peaceful time when life was simple and safe.

The Magic of Ordinary Days so aptly describes my years at Sue Reynolds school. I came there in the winter of 1957 and joined the fourth grade in the cottage. Grades one through seven were in the main building, but a few of us had a special privilege, we were housed in a two room wooden cottage behind the school. It seemed as if we were in a school of our own. There were five rows of seats, two for us in the fourth grade and three for fifth grade pupils. I suppose we were actually the overflow, but to us it was part of being special. The teacher taught both grades and was a dark haired young mother named Mrs. Andrews. She was, to this freckled faced youngster, a beautiful person in appearance and personality.

On hot muggy days we would raise the large windows and enjoy any breezes. Recess was centered around the typical swings, slides, and a special large merry go round made of metal. We would push it fast then jump on board for a ride that seemed to last for hours. Two softball fields were in the rear of the property. Bases were whatever was available and I distinctly remember a very large brown rock that served as the eternal second base. A small concrete track encircled the outside basketball court.

Water came from a very ingenious “spring”. A square concrete pad with what appeared to be a single galvanized pipe rail on all four sides. The pipe had many holes drilled in it and during recess the water was turned on providing many “fountains”.  Seldom were there lines. A simple, but efficient way of providing water to all.

As I progressed through the grades I moved into the main building. It was fun too, but not as special as the cottage.  My fifth grade year was spent with a grey haired lady name Mrs Lazenby. She was the perfect picture of what a teacher of that era is remembered to be. Very strict and serious. She drove an old black Cadillac that seemed huge to us kids.

My sixth grade year was spent in another split class with seventh graders joining us. Mrs Russell was a military wife that had traveled much and seemed, to us, to have been everywhere and knew everyone. A special lady who taught us much.

The seventh grade made us feel like class seniors, the next year we would be in Junior High. Time had gone so slow that it seemed a little impossible that we had actually made it that far in school. Mrs Sanders taught us well.

The building’s long wide hall, huge rooms with tall windows and high ceilings still evoke memories of what a school should look like. The beauty of the wooden floors and wainscoating trim add the touch of days gone by. They allow children of today to reflect on our special times.

I left Sue Reynolds during my seventh grade year and transferred to an inner city school. Gone were the days of sitting in class and looking across Wrightsboro road to the woods that could beckon a young boy to thoughts of being Daniel Boone. The community had a rural feel and walking home often lead to stops to play in the surrounding woods. We called ourselves country boys.

Those were indeed magical days.

  Richard Hillman present day

Richard Hillman present day

Moving to the present times, Sue Reynolds school is now about to embark on a very special second career. The old building that so well served the neighborhood as a house of learning will soon become a house of worship. The church moving there is aptly named Vineyard Community Church. A community church to move in to a building that has served the community for 80 years.

Divine wisdom has made the country road I remembered into a busy four lane connector. I see that as God providing easy access for the community to use this great building as a spiritual lighthouse that should easily serve for another 80 years.

May the magic of the days past be enjoyed in these rooms and halls for generations to come.

To God be the glory for a special place to call school and now church.



"I attended Sue Reynolds from the 1st grade to the 7th grade, Not only did I attend but my father also attended and I even had a teacher that he had and that was Mae Martin. Not only did my father attend but so did his brothers and my mother in law and her brother also went there and Uncle Curt is turning 90 yrs old this month, So many memories of that good old school. I can close my eyes and remember so many things about that school and the friends that were made there and we are still in contact today. I remember the smell and the sound of walking down those old wooden floors and the echos of every step you took. I remember when we would have our group class pictures made on the front steps and I still have those pictures today. I am so glad to hear that someone has bought it to continue to let it stand and keep the memories of the school alive. I would like to thank you for that. It does my heart good to hear this good news. God bless you for what you are doing and making it a church what a blessing that is."      --Lucy Pitts Ellis


Mr. Hillman spoke of Mrs. Lazenby in the above memoir. I've often tried to remember her face over the years. I was in her 5th grade class in 1961, the only year I attended. We moved from Augusta in fall of '61. This was a tough time for a ten-year-old. My father was away on a tour in Korea and I was a troubled child. Yes, Mrs. Lazenby was strict and serious. She was a great teacher but I was so distracted my grades suffered. I was taken to a doctor for evaluation because of my listlessness. He was unable to determine anything and I was sent home with a worried mother. I don't think depression in children was probably as well understood back then. Well, 5th grade ended, and there were excited children anticipating summer vacation. I was not one of them. I was sitting in the back of the classroom staring at my report card. The other children had all left and the school busses were leaving. Mrs. Lazenby looked up from her desk and sternly asked why I hadn't left yet. I broke out into hot tears and said, "I can't fail...I just can't!" She said, "Come here and let me see your report card." She brooded over it a moment and with a soft voice said something like, "Well, maybe you did a little better in this subject, and this one too." She proceeded to erase a couple of "F's" and made them "D's", and upgraded some "D's" to "C's". With a look of true compassion she said, "Hurry, you'll miss your bus"; I had passed the 5th grade. And while this may not have been the right thing for her to do, for I had legitimately failed, it gave me a reference point when I learned later in life about God's compassion. God gave His only son that through Jesus' precious shed blood I could be saved. I remember the Sue Reynolds' playground too, where I would hang upside down and look at the blue sky and wonder, "If I fell into the sky, would God catch me?" I thank God I'm a Christian and I certainly hope to see Mrs. Lazenby again one day in our heavenly home. Thanks for reading my special memory of Sue Reynolds. --Robert Moody


Contribute!

The members of Vineyard Community Church are looking for any information about the old Sue Reynolds Elementary School.

A few months ago The Augusta Chronicle featured a story that detailed our purchase and renovation plans for this beautiful historic building. We have been working hard since then, and are nearly ready to begin renovating the school to use as our new church building. It is very important to us to maintain the history and memories of the property.

We are asking for anyone with pictures, stories and history of the school, and of Sue Reynolds herself, to contact us. We look forward to sitting with former students and faculty and friends of the school and learning about its rich history. This information will then be used to create an online memory to the school and its vision.

If anyone reading is able to help, we encourage you to write us at vccaugusta@yahoo.com. We will reply as we are able and look forward to meeting many people and learning the history of the old Sue Reynolds school.


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