My Childhood Memories-Page 4
Chapter 7: The Old One Room School House
That first year I went to school there were no school buses. The next year school buses begin, and I caught the bus abour a half mile from the house. But that first year my father took me over to my teacher, Mrs. Schaaf's house about a mile away, and I rode with her to school each morning on her horse and buggy. I used to sit in her house sometimes waiting for her to get ready. She had this big glass enclosed cabinet in her living room with hundreds of beautiful salt and pepper shakers on the shelves and I was fascinated by them. I also sometimes talked to her husband Big Lou Schaaf. He was a farmer and he was a huge man. That is why he was called Big Lou. Big Lou was disabled because of a large rupture caused by lifting a heavy log when he used to work in the timber my father told me. He was unable to even reach down to tie his shoes because of his condition.
I used to cry at school a lot my first year, because I would get homesick, and the other kids sometimes teased me about it. One time I was crying and Tacie the teacher asked me why I was crying, and I said "I think I can smell my Mom's pancakes and I want to go home". Our roads got really bad that winter and I missed quite a few days. My mother taught me at home and I was able to keep up with my studies pretty good. The teacher said my mother did a very good job of teaching me.
I recall my first grade teacher Tacie Schaaf always had us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and sing 3 or 4 songs the first thing in the morning before classes begin. All of us first graders had to go write our name on the blackboard in front of all the other children in the school when we learned to write our name, and I remember how nervous and scared I was when I wrote my name on the blackboard for the first time. But I felt pretty happy and proud when they all the kids clapped after I successfully printed out my name. I remember there was a big Christmas program at the school that year and a lot of the students performed with many parents attending.
There were many little one room school dotted around the area I lived in, and all across America in those days. Some of the colorful names of other one room school houses in my area were Buckeye School, Teneriffe School, Rosedale School, Grant School, Franklin School, Meadow Branch School, Gunterman School, and others all within a few miles of each other. Many of the schools dated back to the earliest settlers in the area. My grandmother on my mother's side, my Grandmother Haushalter, attended a school called the German School in Fieldon, IL in the late 1800's whose teacher spoke German and all the children also. They were all recent German Immigrants. Before school buses it was necessary to have a school close by within walking or riding distance of a horse and buggy or the automobile by my time. Many of the schools also served as meeting places and for church services and revival meetings and important centers in the community. In the late 40's and early 50's school buses arrived and it was the beginning of the end for the little one room school houses. School buses made it possible for children to travel much farther distances, and new much larger schools were built. The one room school houses served a vital purpose during their history.
During the summer vacation at the end of my first grade, Aug. 1950, my teacher Tacie Schaaf died of a heart attack. My new teacher for the second grade was Mrs. Laurine Davenport (1909-1986), the daughter of William C. and Anna Mabelle (Clairmont) Tice. Mrs. Davenport's husband LaVern Davenport had a farm nearby the school. Two of Mrs. Davenport's children, Mary and Gary, were about my age and in the same grade as me. I don't believe we sang songs anymore in the morning before classes begin after Mrs. Davenport started teaching, but I remember she often used to read books to us in the afternoon after our classes were finished which I enjoyed. Mrs. Davenport was to be my teacher until the end of my seventh grade when I went to a new larger school in Fieldon for my eighth grade in 1956, and the old one room school house Pleasant Cove and all the other one room school houses in the area were closed down for good. Some of them are still standing today. Some were converted into homes and some are meeting places, and others have been preserved as historic sites. I was among the first students in the new school. The workmen were still working on some of the rooms and they were not available for classes yet. I kind of missed the old one room school house. It wasn't as modern and nice with all the features and facilities of the new school, but the students and teachers seemed to be closer and share more in the one room school house. I remember we only had one ball and one time I hit the ball into the pond of a farmer who had a cowlot and pond next to the one room school house, and I lost the ball in the pond and we couldn't play ball for a week or so until we got a new one.
My mother often sewed patches on my clothes. My mother saved every little scrap of cloth, because she said it could be used to patch something later on. She also used to make beautiful quilts. She said her mother made all the clothes for the children when she was a little girl, and that she had only two dresses, one for school, and one to wear at home. She said her mother almost never bought clothes at a store for the family, but bought cloth and made the clothes herself.