Punishment Meant Extra Work in One-Room Schoolhouse

Schoolteacher handed out arithmetic for punishment.


| Good Old Days



When I first started school, in a one-room schoolhouse, teachers had a "hickory stick" to punish urchins. Later teachers used "Stay in at recess," or "Stay after school" as punishment.

Everybody had horses, there were no automobiles in those days. In summer they had buggies and wagons. In winter, they had cutters and bobsleds which we called "bobs." Roads were not paved and there were no snowplows

One of our pastimes in winter was what we called "Hooking Bobs." We would grab a ride on a "bob" going one direction and ride it until we met one coming the other direction and ride back. The farmers did not mind us riding their sleds like that. One day there was no bob coming the other way. We were late getting back. That year we had a teacher who used the Arithmetic Book for punishment. She told us, "Take your seats and take out your Arithmetic books." She started with the youngest and assigned problems until we all had assignments. She finished with, "And hand them in before you go home today." That was the only time I had Arithmetic for punishment.

Mary Gardener
Forest Park, Illinois


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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