I was sixteen years old, just graduated from High School, passed the teacher’s Normal Training Examinations given at the county courthouse, and received my teaching certificate. How happy I was to be hired to teach the fall term in the rural schoolhouse where my mother and two sisters had taught.
That first school day in September, when I was the TEACHER, will never be forgotten. I had all eight grades, some students much larger physically than I. It was a challenge.
At four o’clock, after the children left to walk home, I found three scribbled notes on my desk…each one said “I like you.”
Another thrill happened in the spring. My wages the past year had been 80 dollars a month. A mother wanted me to be sure to teach the following year and she told me if the School Board didn’t raise my wages sufficiently the mothers of the district would band together and increase my salary considerably. It wasn’t necessary. I stayed, and although the one-room country schoolhouse has been removed, I worked forty years (off and on) bit by bit to get a B.S. Degree, and after 50 years I’m still teaching because I love it.
(Editor’s Note: This letter was written to Capper’s in 1979. But, Hazel Hill is still substitute teaching at age 80!)
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.