Schoolteacher at One-Room Schoolhouse Got Last Laugh

Students’ prank backfired on them in one-room schoolhouse.

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This happened in my last year of teaching at a one-room schoolhouse. It was Halloween time and every year the kids would drag up an old outhouse to put on the steps right against the door so I couldn't unlock it. Also they would go around behind and tie up the rope so I couldn't ring the 8:30 bell. So I had to call the school board to help me get in each time.

So some of my friends decided we would wait until they had done all the damage, so we pulled the outhouse off just so I could unlock my door. Then we went around and crawled up the ladder (which they left standing), and untied the rope so when I came the next morning I went in and rang the 8:30 bell.

Here come all the kids (with their mouths hanging open) and they come in the room and said, "Miss McDonald, how did you get in here?" And I said, "I just unlocked the door and came in."

"How did you ring the 8:30 bell?"

"Just like I always do."

A little later I was putting some work on the blackboard (my back was turned) and I heard someone say, "...and we can't find the ladder anywhere." My gang had hidden the ladder in an alley and they found it later. Anyway, we got the last laugh.

Emilie Bird
Beatrice, Nebraska


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.