After the one-room schoolhouse episode, my cousins and I vowed we would never, ever trespass again.
My father's people had driven all the way through the County to our farm for a reunion. What a meal! Our aunts must have tried to out-do each other with their casseroles and baking.
In the afternoon, we cousins usually played hide and seek or something, but we were too stuffed. We checked out the tire swing, and the new animals and nests, when someone noticed the one-room schoolhouse high upon the bluff across the meadow.
"Let's go see it," said John.
"Oh no. Dad says not to trespass."
"Well, let's walk off this big dinner, anyway." Of course, he steered us to the road that led up the long hill, and around the huge curve to the schoolhouse. It was so hot and dusty. We flopped in the shade. Soon we younger ones saw gophers to chase. Buffalo Beans and flowers were picked. The boys checked out play equipment and outbuildings.
"Have you ever been inside?" Onno asked
"Oh, yes," I bragged. "When Dad mows the schoolyard, he unlocks the door so Clare and I can get out of the sun. We play school while we wait for Dad."
"Let's go in and play school!"
"Oh no. It's locked and it wouldn't be right!"
But they were already checking windows. Soon everyone was pushed or pulled over the sill. The room sounded hollow. And smelled musty. It was scary. We knew we shouldn't be there.
Chugga! Chugga! Chugga! A car was coming! But why? No one ever drove up here. Maybe somebody called the Sheriff. We made a dash for the window, all trying to climb out at once.
Chugga, chugga! It was closer. And louder and louder. Would it stop? It came over the crest and around the curve, and went on by and down the next hill! We ran home, and, as I said before, we vowed never, ever to trespass again.
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.