Anticipated First Day of Class at One-Room Schoolhouse

First day of school at the one-room schoolhouse was as exciting as the county fair.

| Good Old Days

Anticipating the first day of school in the old one-room country schoolhouse ranked with a day at the county fair or a family reunion. My folks sent off to Sears Roebuck for two new dresses for me to wear on alternate weeks. If a dress got soiled before the week was out, Mother wasn't very happy with me, for laundry was an all-day-once-a-week job forty years ago.

The drugstore at our county seat stocked both new and used books. For farm folks recovering from the Depression, saving 251t to 501t on a used book was important. If no used book was available for a subject, we children enjoyed fresh pages and fragrant ink for months.

Being with neighbor children of all ages again was the biggest pleasure. We didn't see each other much during summer, for we lived on scattered farms.

The most awesome aspect of the first day was greeting a new teacher. Our favorite teachers were young, but usually after a year or so they married and moved away. If a teacher were older, we feared she might be cranky, though she seldom was.

At ten o'clock recess most students took a small snack from their lunchpails on the shelf, but I had instructions to save all my food for lunch time. We played ball that first day. Older students chose sides so we younger ones were evenly divided. How we admired the big sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

After ten minutes, the teacher rang the big bell in the tower above the cloakrooms, and we raced back indoors sweaty and refreshed. We all drank from the same dipper, and I recall no serious illness following the unsanitary practice. In later years we were required to have individual cups. Eventually the government provided paper towels, and we lined up for handwashing before we ate lunch. In World War II years, schools were supplied with very tart grapefruit juice and longhorn cheese. The teacher encouraged us to take a little, and I acquired a taste for them.

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