Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Schooling is possibly pretty different today than when I was in school.
When I was young, I went to a one room school which supposedly had all 8 grades and one teacher.  I don't remember counting all the enrolled students, but I would say there were anywhere from 15 to 30 kids at my school, Davis Branch( I'd like to say academy, but it wasn't).  I walked about a mile to get there through rain or snow, I didn't mind as to me that was how you got to school.  I do remember the school year being about 7 months as many children had to help with the chores and duties of living on a farm.  The heaviest machinery on the farms were horses and mules and the weeds and some crops were harvested with scythes while everyone knew how to use hoes and rakes.  Many families never owned automobiles as they had no need to travel anywhere and everyone owned horse drawn wagons and sleds.  I liked riding on these horse drawn sleds as I thought it was the smoothest ride ever; my dad didn't own a sled.  The wagons had solid axeles and the wheels had a steel band around these wooden spoked wheels which made the ride very jolty.  I digress, sorry.
Back then I got the idea that schools were for the purpose of stamping out illiteracy, I remember many people in our community, mostly elderly people could not read nor write.  I'm talking about writing their own name; when they had to sign something, they put an X, their mark and someone that could write would print their name.
As I got older and alittle farther along in school, I was getting lessons not only in reading and writing, but history, math, and science.  I just figured the math would help me know how to keep track of money and stuff like counting things and the history was interesting to me as it explained what had happened other places from a long time ago till now.  I had to practice drawing my name which was called cursive writing, thought that meant it had so many curves in the letters.  We had a chalkboard where we could go up front and write, do arithmetic and sometimes get to draw pictures(art) on the front wall which had been painted with flat black paint like a real honest to goodness slate board in some city schools.  Seems like we would stand in front of the room and take turns reading aloud, or would recite a poem we would learn.    The older kids would help us with our arithmetic(A Rat In The House Might Eat The Icecream, that was how I learned to spell that big word!) or take us to a corner away from the teacher and hear us read and help us with the hard words; today they call that mentoring or tutoring but we did it in that way.  I guess I learned pretty quickly as my teacher moved me after the first year, bypassing second grade, to be a third grader.....my parents were proud in that that meant I was smart.  However, I feel looking back at it that it handicapped me when I got into high school, in both size and maturity and kept me out of sports and being able to understand things in the progression of knowledge.
Lives and times were much simpler back then and I guess we were just taught what it took to be able to think and understand about living during that period. I hope they do still teach some of the survival skills in school along with developing the awareness of what it is going to take to survive in the future. You always hear that teachers are "Teaching the future leaders of tomorrow!"; well I sure hope so.....who knows what the future holds and the skills I was taught would definitely not be enough in this present day and age!
The old Davis Branch one room school where I went to grade school and it is still standing, however in very poor condition.
The last picture is the farm house in the distance where I grew up and my dad farmed.  I have been over all those hills and fields.
These pictures are in black/white infared.

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