Many of us have memories of a teacher who was our favorite. Some of us have more than one favorite, but that’s another story.

An unsigned article in a publication called “Windham 1976: Bicentennial Issue” describes the writer’s favorite teacher. She was “tall, thin, had a long nose, keen eyes, and shiny brown hair piled high on her head.”

Her dress was long, nearly to the floor, had long sleeves and she wore Navy blue one week, maroon the next week. To keep this frugal wardrobe clean, she also wore celluloid (plastic) cuff protectors – to keep as clean as possible when she was putting wood into the schoolroom stove.

Her name was Lillian S. Hawkes and in the 1905 Windham town report it states she was a primary school teacher at the Arlington School. She had also taught at White School (near the rotary), Newhall and the Plains (end of Varney Mill Road) but when she got to Arlington, she stayed there for nearly 20 years. In total, she taught for 40 years, all in Windham.

In those days, a person could take a state test after completing high school and be granted a license to teach – no college necessary.

Miss Hawkes lived within walking distance of school as did most of her pupils. North Windham was a small village at that time, with the roads all lined with tall elm trees.

One of the biggest holidays celebrated by Miss Hawkes’ pupils was Arbor Day, when they planted trees in the school yard, but the biggest important day was the Friday before Memorial Day. Each pupil received an American flag, instructions on how to behave, and they marched across the road to the Arlington Cemetery and placed the flag on a veteran’s grave.

In 1932, the two-room Arlington school was moved aside about 50 feet and a new Arlington School was built. Times were changing. The population was growing.

In 1937, Miss Hawkes retired and went to live with Bertha Cram Allen on the Falmouth Road. Ten years later, she died at the age of 70 and was buried at Arlington Cemetery, right across the street from where she spent most of her life.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.