Schoolteacher in Rural Schoolhouse

I do remember very well teaching in a one room school in mid-Missouri during World War II.

Gasoline was rationed, so I walked 3 miles each way to and from school. Shoes were also rationed, therefore I wore heavy boots so they would last the allotted time until another shoe stamp was due.

I recall one September noon hour when an exciting softball game was in progress. I had kicked off my shoes to increase my speed if I should hit a ball. As I was standing on first base, a tall, well dressed, city looking, business-like salesman came walking straight toward first base. He asked where he might find the teacher and I vowed she wasn’t there. I had no trouble looking like one of the students since several 7th and 8th graders were taller than I and almost as old.

If I had identified myself as the teacher, he’d still be telling folks about the dusty, sweaty, barefooted hillbilly teacher!

Viola Terwilliger
Belle, 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.