Teacher Was In Control In One-Room Schoolhouse

An old one-room schoolhouse meant students respected their teacher.

| Good Old Days

Mom belonged to a generation who, if you finished high school and took six weeks of summer school, you were considered good teacher material. She would teach a dozen or so pupils and be paid $40 a month. Not in a bargaining position, she accepted the challenge. She did, however, have control of the students in her one-room schoolhouse.

The school board treasurer was a young single farmer in the district. Many of the people in the district were either Polish or Bohemian. Some spoke no English. They were poor - very poor. Routinely the school lunches were dark bread with a slathering of molasses. Not enough clothing and in fact, just not enough.

Mom noticed that Johnny did everything he could to pester Wally, his kid sister. One day Mom had it with him. While now she would be arrested for child abuse, the whack she gave him told him that was enough and more.

The next morning Johnny's mother drove up in a rickety old buggy and motioned Johnny to her. They headed for the school Mom shook. The woman made a statement in Polish. Johnny translated. "Miss West, my mother says she wants to know if you've had trouble with me." Mom drew a long breath. "Tell your mother I did have, but I'm sure I won't any more."

His mother listened to Mom's words as they came through in Polish. Then she added an explosion of words.

"Mother says that if you can't take care of the trouble, tell her what is wrong and she'll take care of it for you."

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