Twelve pupils was an average number in Dist. #56 the years I attended. That’s counting the older boys who skipped school to help in the fields during harvest. Even in the fifties the only education required for teachers was a high school diploma.
Black Lake School rested a little past three miles north of our corner. The school had a well pump and a flagpole out front to the south.
The older students took turns raising and lowering the flag each day. They also carried in water to the entryway.
We ladled water from a crockery cooler into our personal cups with a common dipper. I still have my little tin cup. That water was cold naturally, but in the winter turned icy.
The school was heated by a big oil stove that stood in the middle of the stage. The stage was a platform surrounded by chalk boards where we did math problems and diagrammed sentences. In the spring we stood on stage and practiced for the county spelling bee.
We went through school hearing about the young teacher who had lost her diamond engagement ring out in the coal shed. At least one week each spring we spent our recesses trying to find the treasure.
Behind the school were two outhouses. Girls on the left, and boys on the right. If we couldn’t wait until recess, we raised a hand with either one or two fingers extended. Number one meant a quick run out back. Number two indicated we might be a few minutes.
One recess a couple girls locked me in the outhouse from the outside. They were jealous of my red can-can, one of the special garments Mom made for me.
The days began with the Pledge of Allegiance and singing from our green songbook, On Wings of Song. If my work was caught up, and I couldn’t help the teacher, I read. I went through the whole series of Pollyanna books.
I floated down the Mississippi with Tom and Huck. I escaped into every other antique novel that perched on a shelf.
There were floor to ceiling bookshelves in two corners and other shelves and bookcases that held the secrets of faraway places and adventure sometimes beyond imagination.
Did you have a good school experience as a child?