Lessons Experienced at One-Room Schoolhouse

Recalls her first day at a rural one-room schoolhouse.

Content Tools

Here is my experience in a one-room schoolhouse in 1915.

Being the youngest of 9 children, I had looked forward to the day I could start to school. That day arrived in 1915, when a man and his wife were the teachers. His wife weighed about two hundred pounds, wore black full skirts down to the floor with white blouses and white embroidered petticoats starched stiff that always showed.

After school started, I held up my hand to go to the outdoor privy to finish my grooming - a little pill box of white talcum powder, using my handkerchief to spread it on my face without a mirror. I felt real confident as I walked into the school room. A boy in third grade across the room stood up pointing his finger at me loudly said "Look at her!" All the students and the teacher looked. The teacher looked like a freight train as she rushed toward me, grabbed my arm, held it high (my feet touched the floor very few times) as she rushed me out to the side room where the bonnets, jackets and shiny dinner buckets were kept.

Up came that black skirt, and those starched, stiff petticoats rubbed my face raw to remove every trace of talcum powder.

That afternoon as school was dismissed the teacher gave each pupil a sample tube of Colgate toothpaste, the first toothpaste we had seen. As we walked home with our treasure, the boys all ate their toothpaste.

How could I ever forget my first day of school?

Mrs. Paul Boyd
Ardmore, Oklahoma

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.