Norwegian Farmer’s Son…January 11th


#622=KOIN TV news about Elliott; January 1980

During the happy tenure of my 31 years with the Battle Ground School District, I became known as “The Singing Custodian”.  It was in early February of 1980, that I received a phone call at our school office one day.  The person on the other end of this conversation was one of the Producers from the CBS Television affiliate station in Portland, Oregon known as KOIN-TV.  He wanted permission to come to our school to film me singing to our students for broadcast on their evening news that day.

Singing Custodian 2 001

What brought about that phone call from the TV station was a couple of newspaper articles that had been written about my “cleaning curriculum” and rewarding the students with a song, story, fun toy sharing or other enjoyable activity with the little ones.  Here’s how my “cleaning curriculum” worked; each day after school, I would inspect the classrooms as I cleaned.  If the students achieved my cleaning goals, I’d draw a smiley face on their chalkboard which equaled a reward of three minutes of happy time with this old custodian.  Five smiley faces could garner them a full 15 minutes of song, play or story time as my way of saying THANK YOU for making my cleaning life easier.  I would then pay a visit to participating classrooms on my one hour, personal lunch break once a week.

#620=KOIN TV news about Elliott; January 1980

Turns out, a video cameraman who worked for KOIN-TV had taken one of my newspaper articles into the station with him to show to his superior.  As I spoke with the videographer after the filming, he told me that he approached his co-worker this way, “Hey Boss, instead of covering all the sad news in our area, you know…killings, robberies, etc., let’s go out to Glenwood Heights Elementary School in the Battle Ground School District and do a happy story about this guy who is a singing custodian!”  Well, the supervisor agreed, and after getting permission from our school office, they arrived to set up cameras and do an interview along with some sing time in a classroom.

#624=KOIN TV news about Elliott; January 1980

One of our 4th Grade teachers (Mr. Steve Rees) was so kind to allow us to do the filming segment in his classroom.  Those great students and myself all sure had a blast of a good time as I went through my “show” for this special audience Glenwood “Cubbies”.

Singing Custodian 001

My heart has always had an affection for the beautiful time of life for children between Kindergarten and 4th Grade.  Life is still brand new to them and they are thrilled to enjoy every minute of every day!!  I was “tickled pink” to be a musically fun part of their daily lives in a more personal way, rather than just be an “invisible person” that only comes in after school to clean.  I hope some of these dear little souls have positive reflections of their custodian from those days long ago who is also known as the Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s