One-Room Schoolhouse Was Home to Many Mice

Youngster was mousetrap master at one-room schoolhouse.

| Good Old Days

I attended a one-room schoolhouse in the late 1920s during the dark days of the deep depression. I had to walk five miles uphill, all the way knee deep in copperheads. I had to put stove pipes on my legs to keep from getting bit. When it got icy I would take one step forward and slide back two. So I had to walk backwards to make headway. Naw, just kidding.

School started in September 1928. The schoolhouse was surrounded by pastures, fields, meadows. Up front near the teacher's desk by the wall was the old pump organ, and mice came out and ran around there and scared the teacher quite often. Us boys thought it was funny to see her gasp and jerk. She was afraid the mice would chew on the bellows in the organ and ruin it. The school had stood empty all summer and the mice had moved in in large numbers.

I was a young schoolboy then and I had a brand new Victor mouse trap at home that I gave a nickel or dime for and used at home. I offered to bring the trap to school the next day and catch the mice. The teacher was delighted.

So next morning I brought the trap to school. I baited it with a piece of toasted bacon and set it by the organ in plain sight of the classroom. After class took up and everything got quiet, I heard a lot of whispering and saw them pointing up front. A mouse was at the trap and started to gnaw at the bait. Everyone was holding their breath waiting for the trap to spring, which seemed to take forever. Tension was high, then suddenly "cur whak" and the trap sprang with a loud click. The girls and teacher shrieked and gasped. There was quite a show, but I thought it was funny. I took that mouse and chucked him outdoors. After that it was decided that I set the trap after school!

Carl Kump
Kansas City, Missouri

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. 

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