It sometimes helps to put things into their chronological perspective in order to better understand them. Mrs. Tannahill was our chemistry teacher and so far as I can recall, she was a good one. She was energetic, moderately acerbic, and a bridge-nut. Her manner was brisk and good humored.
I struggled in her class, but then again for some reason I never really liked the study of chemistry. The back story of Sara Tannahill was her penchant for playing bridge. When you entered her classroom, you first walked toward the back of the room via an aisle that was flanked by the lab tables on the right and the chemical storeroom on the left. The student desks were at the back of the room and Mrs. Tannahill’s desk was hidden to the left behind the storeroom wall.
Steve Means, Paul Shields, Sam Scott, and Paul Tate are some of those who come to mind as filling out the foursomes for a game of bridge when time permitted—there were likely some others such as Bob Dillard and maybe David Bane also learning bridge that year. This was usually during Mrs. Tannahill’s free period in the afternoon. That chemistry room was ideally designed to hide the bridge table, which was Mrs. Tannahill’s desk, as it hid the game from being seen from the hallway through the door window. I think she also locked the door.
I found Mrs. Tannahill’s fraternization with students a bit puzzling, but now that I’m much older I think I’ve figured it out. She wasn’t much older than we were…she was a kid herself. Born in 1934, she was only 28 when we were seniors. Sara Tannahill taught for a year or two at Poly right after college and took the job at EHHS shortly after the school opened.