Friday, August 19, 2011

Miss Bertha May Henshaw, born Aug. 19, 1899 - School Teacher

Bertha May Henshaw was born in West Brookfield on August 19, 1899.  Her parents were David Forbes Henshaw, a West Brookfield farmer, and his wife Nellie (Lawrence.)   Bertha graduated from West Brookfield Grammar School in 1913, and Warren High School in 1917. She was a graduate of Westfield State College.  She taught at the Thorndike Street School in Palmer in 1929.  Sometime before 1937 Bertha began teaching in West Brookfield at the Milk Street School.  She served as Principal in that school, while continuing to teach,  beginning in the fall of 1938 and ending in the 1950's.  She taught at West Brookfield Elementary School, which replaced the Milk St. and School St. Schools in the spring of 1953, until her retirement in 1964.

I remember that Miss Henshaw, during her years at West Brookfield Elementary School, taught first grade.  She guided us as we learned to read, using the "Look -See" method, and taught us simple arithmetic using little green wooden cubes called "counters."  She had a pair of gray wool slacks which she wore outside at recess in the winter time, and was the only woman that I knew to wear slacks in the mid 1950's. 

Bertha was active in the Congregational Church in town, and a member of the local senior citizens group.  She died in Quaboag Nursing Home on March 2, 1990.

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