Ernie’s Earth Science Book

Ernie Chiles with Earth Science book 05-02-2014I’ve written many times about Earth Science Teacher Ernie Chiles and the friendship we developed outside of class. He interacted with students in a way that would be unthinkable today, but that’s what made him one of the most memorable teachers I had.

To keep from rehashing old stories, I’ll just post links:

When we met for lunch this trip, Ernie presented me the actual Earth Science book he used to teach the class. I told him to play Vanna White or pretend he was selling soap so I could take his picture with it. He may have a shot at making it in the late-night infomercial game.

He even inscribed it

Ernie Chiles' Earth Science book 05-04-2014Jim Stone, George Cauble and I set a goal of acing all of Ernie’s tests. We’d get together in my basement to review and practically memorize the book the night before a quiz. Ernie, for his part, took the challenge and decided to make tests so hard they couldn’t be aced. You can imagine what THAT did to the curve.

Jim Stone and I are still arguing with him over a couple of questions he marked wrong.

Who did all the underlining?

Ernie Chiles' Earth Science book 05-04-2014When I leafed through the book, I noted that almost every sentence was underlined.

“Geez, didn’t they give you a new book when you started teaching? Who did all the underlines?”

“I did,” he admitted. “You guys thought I was kidding when I said I was only about a chapter ahead of you when I was teaching the class.”

We couldn’t go flying

We couldn’t go flying the last time I was in town because Ernie’s plane had a broken perambulator or something.

It’s perambulating fine now, but there had been a lot of rain around Painton Airport where he hangars the plane. That made the grass runway a bit iffy. I had hoped to get in the air before the leaves came out, but since I had missed that, we decided to err on the side of caution and wait until summer to go up.

Stone is going to be SOOOOO jealous when he hears I have The Book.

 

Scott City Mill

Scott City Mill 11-08-2013_0217Mother and I were cruising around seeing what we could see when we got off Hwy 61 at Scott City and headed into town. I spotted this old mill on Main Street just east of I-55 and figured I’d knock off a few photos of it. I hadn’t been there long when a woman in an SUV pulled up and wanted to know what I was up to.

When I told her who I was and what I was doing, she said that her husband owned the place and that they had some signs stolen off the building recently, so they were keeping a close eye on it. “They weren’t even OLD signs,” she said.”

Owned by the Caubles

Scott City Mill 11-08-2013_0250When I asked her if she knew anything about the history of the place, she said her husband, Jim Cauble, might be able to help me, and gave me his phone number.

“Was he any relation to George Cauble? He and I were friends in high school.”

“That was his uncle.” We both commented that it was a shame that George was taken from us so early. He was a great guy.

I blasted out of town before I called Jim for details, so you folks familiar with Scott City are going to have to fill in the blanks.

The mill from the air

Scott City I-55 Interchange under construction 1960sHere’s a photo of the mill and the I-55 interchange from the air in the middle 60s. I wrote in a 2010 blog about how much having the Interstate completed made getting to St. Louis and Memphis faster and safer.

Scott City Mill Photo Gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides to move through the gallery. Comments and memories appreciated.

 

Water Column Barometer

When Jim Stone and I visited our old earth science teacher Ernie Chiles on one of our trips back to Cape, Ernie mentioned a class project both of us had forgotten.

To back up a bit, I’ve written about the odd relationship Ernie, Jim, George Cauble and I had in class. Ernie was a teacher so new the ink was still smeary on his diploma. Jim was on his way to become a science whiz and George was destined to go to Rolla as an engineer. Me, I was just a guy who liked to challenge authority and hang out with George and Jim.

Jim is on the left in the photo above. Ken Trowbridge is in the middle. The fellow on the right looks familiar, but I can’t put a name on the face right now. Wife Lila says it might be Terry Hopkins. Click on the photos to make them larger.

The pressure (atmospheric) was on

As Ernie tells the story, we were on a chapter dealing with atmospheric pressure, which is typically measured in inches of mercury. Normal atmospheric air pressure – roughly 14.7 psi at sea level – will support a column of mercury about 30 inches tall. The same 14.7 psi will support a column of water about 34 feet high.

Jim, George and I said we wanted to prove it. This is where Ernie got worried, he said. “It would be an interesting experiment that would make the concept clear, but I was worried. What kind of prank had these these scallywags cooked up that was going to get me fired?” Maybe Ernie was contemplating what having a student fall to his death out of his classroom window would do to his teaching career.

Our motives, despite Ernie’s misgivings were pure. We had a chance to kill a class period doing something that would allow us to drop a hose out of the third-floor classroom, attracting the attention of the classes of Floors One and Two and we could watch Ernie squirm. Oh, yeah, and we could learn something that we already knew about atmospheric pressure. What’s better than that?

The experiment was simple

The experiment was low-tech. We had to fill a waste can with water, drop a hose in it to fill it with water, then hoist it with a rope to measure how high the water column was. A three-story building should give us the 30 feet we needed. Jim was in charge of the classroom side. I was supposed to get the hose filled with water.

I don’t recall Bill Wilson being in our class, so I may have Tom Sawyered him into filling the bucket and carrying it under Jim’s classroom window. I probably said something like, “Hey, Bill, how about doing this while I take your picture?”

George Cauble was even smarter

George Cauble didn’t even work that hard. While Jim was hauling hose and Bill was toting water and I was taking pictures, George was hanging out with Nancy Jenkins. Like I said, he was the smart one.

The experiment worked (sort of)

Jim didn’t fall out of the window, Bill managed to fill the hose with water, the water column came close to 30 feet (there was some kind of last-minute glitch of some kind, but it was close enough for CHS work), I managed to take some pictures that I held onto for almost half a century and we didn’t put an end to Ernie’s teaching career. Not a bad day’s work.

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