Every rural schoolteacher who was hired in a new district found that she was expected to give a complete background during the opening hour of the first day of school.
Pupils wanted to know her age, name, religion, number of children if she was married, and if she was going to be "crabby."
It only took a day or two in a new position to determine the kind of home each child came from. Sometimes the circumstances were heart-breaking as somehow the teacher became a confidante as little hearts overflowed.
Perhaps one event stands out in my memory more than others. The sheriff had stopped to ask me to keep the door locked all day because a criminal had been spotted on the highway. Naturally I was a bit fearful each morning as I drove into the yard, not knowing what I might find.
Across the road lived the family of one pupil, and their dog was notorious for taking a nip at anyone who got out of their car. However, sensing danger, that dog met me at my car and escorted me to the door every day. One morning I found beer cans, food wrappers and orange peels on the steps - so we had had visitors.
Thus is the lore of an ex-teacher who loved every minute spent in a rural school.
Madonna Kellar Storla
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.