Saturday, May 04, 2013

This is Home, Part 12 - School, Uncle Doc and school, chores and school, Mom at school, school, box suppers

This is part 12 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


All of a sudden the unbelievable happened. School was starting and I was expected to go. I felt like a queen who had just been dethroned.

Daddy and Uncle Doc had a cousin who taught school. He was young and his last name was Sears. He had come by every once in a while and taught me how to say the alphabet and read some. I could also count some.

When I started to school, I started in the second grade at the age of seven. You wouldn't believe how much I hated school.

To add insult to injury, Mom invited the teacher, Miss Hazel, to stay with us for awhile! She thought it would make it easier if I knew her. However, it just meant I could never escape her.

After a short time, I decided I couldn't stand the idea of going to school. I refused to go and I ran out of the house and under the honeysuckle bushes. They were like shorter trees and were quite wide.

I ran under one of the bushes and Mom and Miss Hazel tried to surround me and grab me. The bush was too wide and too low. They couldn't reach me. I just kept zooming from one to another. They tried for awhile longer, then finally gave up.

Miss Hazel went to school, but I stayed home.

No one yelled at me or spanked me. They didn't do that type of thing. They just went on with their work and ignored me somewhat. They answered questions, but just didn't engage in a conversation as they usually did. They made it clear they disapproved, without a word.

Next day I went back to school. I didn't do that particular thing again. I thought of others.

I went to school in a one room school house. There was a little room we entered first. It was a cloak room, but one wall was covered with books. It also served as a library. It also had a front porch before the cloak room. The front porch had a concrete floor and a roof over it.

Toys consisted of a ball and bat, chalk to play hopscotch on the porch, and a rope to jump while two other children turned it.

I don't know how many kids were necessary to have a school, but I do know there had to be a certain number. We probably had around fifteen or sixteen my first year. I found a picture of a year where I was probably around the fifth grade and there were sixteen children. The school had windows down one side and one in the library. I don't remember windows on the other side of the school room. We had to depend on the windows for light. No electricity. This teacher and the ones following made us go outside at noon and the two recesses. They also wanted us to join in playing. I wanted to stay inside and look at the books and later, I wanted to read and draw pictures. I hated baseball. It was so boring. I didn't mind playing hopscotch, tag, or jumping rope.

Uncle Doc and school

I asked Uncle Doc one time what he played when he went to school. He chuckled and looked like he was remembering. He said there was nothing to play with when he went to school. However, he said, there was a big tree with long branches. So, a bunch of the boys grabbed a branch and pulled it down. One of the boys got on it and they released it. The branch went back up in the air and the boy on it shot up even higher.

They also took hold of each others' hands and formed a long line, then they started running in a circle with the one on the inner end hardly moving. They kept going faster and faster. The ones on the outer end started being flung off. I think it was called Crack the Whip.

Chores and school

Uncle Doc told me one time that when they were in school, they had to get up early and do all the chores each morning before they left home. On a farm, this would mean milking the cows, feeding and watering all the animals, and maybe letting some out. I hope they weren't expected to cut out holes in the ice so a herd of cattle could drink. I'm thinking of farm chores.

No matter what the weather was, they had to walk to school. I don't know what school they went to -- maybe Darksville. Hickory didn't look that old.

At night they did the chores again.

Mom at school

Mom told me one time that she could run faster than anyone at her school. She also said she could climb trees. I guess this is what her school did.


When the East Fork got out, there was no way for us to get to school. I don't think it affected any other family.

Miss Hazel moved to Elmo Hudson's house beside the school while the weather was still good. Elmo and his wife had no children, but the teachers always stayed at their house thereafter.

I'm suspicious that the school board or just Daddy and Uncle Doc may have given them money to keep the teachers. Elmo Hudson and his wife were not known for their generosity. They were also a pain in the neck. Especially Elmo.

Mom bought blinds and curtains for all the windows at school. She bought a rod to run along the stage which covered one end of the room. Then she bought material for stage curtains. She sewed them and put gold colored rings on them so they could be drawn open and shut. Our family contributed all this.

There was no water, so a large water container (cooler) was bought.

Miss Hazel was young. She was tall with red shoulder length hair. She was actually a pretty nice teacher. I just did not want to be told what to do or to spend time away from home.

The sideboard at Sharon's house used to be in the living room on the farm. It had a square mirror on top. Miss Hazel used to come down, get on her knees in front of it and comb her hair. I have no idea why. She had a perfectly good mirror on top of a dresser in her room. Also, a very tall mirror on a dresser in the hall next to her room.

Box suppers

In the spring or fall, grade schools back home had a unique way of raising money. They had box suppers.

Each girl student had a box full of food that she shared with the person who bought it. The boxes had lids that were beautifully decorated with ribbons, flowers, anything that looked good. Parents and anyone else who was interested came, and the boxes were auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder.

Jean and I were in a panic even sharing a box with Roscoe. So Mom pointed out the boxes that Jean and I were taking to Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley. They outbid anyone else.

The women who came also brought boxes. So did the teacher.

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