Father Taught In One-Room Schoolhouses

Remembers stories of her father’s school bell.

| Good Old Days

My father was a schoolteacher during the first quarter of this century. He taught in one-room rural schoolhouses.

Papa had an old bell, an ordinary one of medium size. It was made of good metal and had a sturdy clapper. Papa rang his bell each day of the school term during the twelve years he taught.

In the morning when it was "book time," Papa gave the bell a few quick shakes. Its ting-a-ling officially began the school day. The children already at school put away marbles, homemade bats and string balls, and then ran to the well for a drink. Children not yet at school, but who might be coming down the road, ran hurriedly to the schoolhouse when they heard the familiar ring. No one wanted to be late.

For two hours the children worked busily at their reading and spelling lessons. Then the bell ting-a-linged again. It was time for morning recess.

Recess seemed so short to the children. Just when the score of the town-ball game was getting close, the bell rang. Reluctantly the girls left their playhouses under the trees, their games of "Needle's Eye" and "Sugar Loaf Town." The schoolbell had rung. It was time for arithmetic classes to begin.

Though they really didn't mean it, some of the children said they wished Papa would lose his bell. Playfully, they said it loud enough for him to hear. He turned away and smiled.

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