Tell me about going to school in your day.
I went to a one-room country school for the first five years of my education. I actually went to kindergarten though we didn’t call it that. My mother was teaching in a school with very few students, and she took me along and invited another girl my age to come to school so we could play together. She taught us our alphabet and how to read, and we had fun with the other students. I was too much work for the live-in baby sitter, and that was what prompted my mother to take me to school. I started first grade knowing how to read, which was not the norm in those days. There were two of us in the class, and the teacher had to have two sections because the boy in my class didn’t even know the alphabet.
[I also remember in the fourth grade, I became a math tutor for a boy two years younger than me. School in those days was so easy for me (I inherited that from my mother. She graduated at the age of 16 because she took two years at a time in grade school.) , and I think the teacher had to keep me busy one way or another. I didn’t ever have homework when I was in country school. It was like the epitome of “open” education. It was that place where you put the marker in the book at the end of the year, and picked up from there when you started the following fall. Back in the good old days, they often had a summer session between the first hay cutting and the grain harvest. Now in our area we are fighting the concept of school year ’round.]
When I was in the middle of the fifth grade, my parents switched me to the school in Herreid. It was really hard to adjust to the pace of school and the way the teachers treated you. My teacher was my great-aunt, and she was one of the worst teachers I had. It was also different because in country school the grades were grouped for social studies. Fifth and Sixth would study the same social studies one year the fifth lessons and the next the sixth, if you stayed in that school you were fine, but those who transferred and were on the off year, as I was, might end up missing out. I had sixth grade social studies twice, but never fifth. It worked out fine in the end because I loved to read and mostly made it up on my own.
Do you think school is any different now than it was when you were a child? How so?
School is very different now not just because of the technology, but because there is much more to learn. Science has advanced more and there is more to history. But the main difference is in the attitudes of the students and of society [especially parents]. Teachers used to teach subjects without all the interference from the community members and the parents who believe they know more than those who are the teachers. Students also are way more belligerent than we were ever able to be. When a student was out of line they were expelled, and that was the end of it. Parents didn’t usually come to school and cause problems for the teachers. Most students knew that if they caused trouble in school, they would have more problems at home because parents didn’t want their children acting out.
[Of course on the other end of things, being a teenager in the 1970’s was quite different from what we have today. We were more like the dance shows on the movie, American Graffiti. We pulled things and mostly got by with it. There would be alcohol at the dances in the locker room or bathroom and no one ever checked. We were also allowed to come and go as we pleased then afterwards the adults would complain that no one stayed. Well there were no rules. Advisors and adults always “looked the other way” until something really bad or over the edge happened and then there were consequences.
I mostly remember the high school days as being so unsupervised in terms of parents. Our parents were so busy leading their own lives and doing their own things that they were more like the adults on the Peanuts cartoon movies. You knew they were there, but they didn’t bother you too much. We did lots of things ourselves, and I think we had to grow up more because of it. Some of the rules we have now about dating, like age differences were non existent than. It was not unusual for young teachers to date older students. It wasn’t real common, but did happen a few times. I also don’t remember the movies being so restricted in terms of ratings. Our movies showed more skin, but lots less violence. Perhaps that is the big difference. We were a far more innocent time in terms of killings. We were able to walk home in the dark or talk to others without fearing that we had met a serial killer. But enough of my gloom and doom sort of write up.]
Currently our town is preparing for an All School Reunion. We are gathering the addresses for everyone that went to school here. Our high school graduated its first class in 1918. I am typing in the information on the big spread sheet. So far I know that we have 1,973 names on the rolls. Of them 583 have passed away and about 12 are listed as unknown. I am going to work on that as soon as I have the last class entered. I am a few short: 1959, 1971, 1985, 1986, 1987-98. I am waiting on 5 people to give me their information. The largest class we had was in 1973 there are 42 members listed, and amazingly, they are all alive. 1959 was the second largest at 38, but several have passed on and 1981 (my brother’s class) is in third with 36, and they are all living. I will be putting more statistics together for the next meeting. I think it is quite interesting. Well, sorry to have bored you all for so long, but just wanted to put this out there. Take care, and for info on my garden and canning antics, you can check out my other blog at lucindagardens.