Paradise Found Between Home and One-Room Schoolhouse

Many temptations found on walk to one-room schoolhouse.

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First, let me set the stage for a six-year-old's very first day of school. My one-room schoolhouse was located approximately one mile from our small hired hand's farmhouse. In between our house and the schoolhouse there were umpteen places for a six-year-old to explore. Trees just went on forever, two streams and one small pond. Paradise found.

This setting created a lot of problems for an explorer like me and my dog, Pal, as we started on that very first day of school in 1928.

I was proud as a peacock as I dressed in my brand new Sears Roebuck overalls, a blue shirt, and shoes that needed breaking in. They squeaked when I walked. Mom says, "Now you go straight to school and no dallying along the way."

Well, dallying and I just went hand in hand, especially with my dog, Pal, accompanying me.

We hadn't gone a quarter mile when a skunk ran across the road ahead of Pal and me. Well now, Pal took after that skunk like a cat after a mouse. The skunk ran into a large culvert that went under the road, and Pal was right behind him. I headed for the other end of the culvert and we had him trapped, or so I thought.

I looked into the murky culvert and here they came right at me. Pal was right behind the skunk barking like mad. The skunk was spraying scent every which way as he ran right between my legs and off into the timber, with Pal right behind him.

I finally got to school, a half hour late, and as I entered the warm room, that skunk scent just floated everywhere. Everyone was holding their noses and yelling, "Get out! Get out!"

The teacher sent me to change clothes and I thought to myself, "Boy what's Mom going to say?"

Poor Pal had to be locked in the shed. Mom burned my clothes, and all she said was, "Don't bother the skunks." Moms are like that, you know

Eugene Carson
Montezuma, Iowa

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.