My Memories of the One-Room Country School

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Interested in contributing to a web site on the one-room country schoolhouse? If you are interested, please email me.[/pullquote]
I am using parts of this site to recall “Country School Memories” which would combine memories (stories), any pictures.

My 1st Through 4th Grades ~ Missouri

Pen sketch of a typical country schoolhouase.I went to a one-room country school the First through the Fourth Grade and a two-room from the Fifth through the Eighth Grade [1950-1958]. And I didn’t feel deprived of an education. And today I sometimes wonder about all our fancy methodology for teaching, the FCAT tests … we didn’t have any of those. The main courses were the “three R’s”: reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.

Most people think of the one-room country schoolhouse and prepare themselves to hear “And I walked to school … through the snow … up hill, both ways!” For the First and Second Grade I didn’t have to walk to school. My teacher lived on an adjacent farm and drove by my house on the way to school. Miss Margaret stopped and got me every day and drove me home.

Class Size

My first four years the only other person in my grade was a boy. He and I went all the way through Grade School and High School. There were two years during the Grade School years (1-8 grades) where we’d get one more person in the class but only one of those years where that person was there that whole grade year. While that may sound unusual, it wasn’t. Not for the area of rural Missouri I was raised.

Memories of South Oakland School in Grundy County, Missouri

Replica of desk common to my school memories.My first three years were at South Oakland in Grundy County, Missouri. A little school that had an unheated coat room at the entrance, some people would call it a mud room. There we hung our coats on big ole nails and put our galoshes [overshoes]. When you went into the school room, the “big” kids’ desks were at the back of the room with graduating desk sizes to the front. There was a big roll-up map at the front of the room. Blackboards were at the front, and I seem to remember to the side at the front by the teacher’s desk. There was a huge oil stove that kept the room warm. I remember it as huge but it couldn’t have been THAT big because by the third grade, I could reach up and put a aluminum foil wrapped hot dog in a bun on top of the slates on the stove. By lunch time, my hot dog was hot and I was one of the few kids at school to have a hot lunch.

An interesting site of country school memories is maintained here, One-Room Schoolhouse Center site. Their approach is different than the one I hope to use which will be by state.

The 4th Grade, Daviess County, Missouri

My Fourth Grade was at a small country school, again one-room, in Daviess county. I still haven’t remembered the name. But my teacher was Mrs. Neeley. The best part about this school was the drive. My neighbor just ‘up-the-road’, Mr. Adams drove me and a couple of other kids who lived close to school daily and picked us up. No school bus — he drove his family car. One of the kids lived down this little road with little ‘pop-up’ hills. Just small hills. One time we finally got Mr. Adams to drive really fast over the hills so that when we popped over the top of the hill, your stomach went up and so did you! It just wasn’t any fun if you fanny didn’t come off the seat of the car. Remember, this was in the day before seat belts. I remember that for us kids it was great fun but I think that the bottom of his car hit the road so hard he had to get a new muffler. We tried and tried after that but could never get him to drive over the little hills that fast again.

The 5th Through 8th Grades, Edinburg School, Grundy County

Notebook paper from Leaves of Time site.My Fifth Grade year I moved to a “big” school, Edinburg. It had two big rooms. The first through fourth grade were in one room; the teacher was Mrs. Watson. The fifth through eighth grade were in the other room and it had a stage! We had several teachers the three years I went there but my favorite was Mrs. Warren. This school had been the Grand River College at one time and that’s why it had a stage. During the winter months we’d take this big rope and play jump rope on that large stage. It had blackboards every where. Well, not really, it just felt like it.

Country School Memories

Running the bases … When I attended South Oakland, I was pretty little as a six-year-old and had absolutely no athletic ability at all [still don’t!] so when the school would play softball I was completely left out. But I have fond memories of an eighth-grader, Billy Joe, who would let me run behind him when he’d get a hit. He always made me feel like the score didn’t count if I didn’t run around the bases with him.

Apple pie image from Leaves of Time site.Pie Suppers … Remember the scene in the movie ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ where they auctioned off the pies? We’d have a pie supper every fall and one every spring. And yes, we bought pies and they would get auctioned off. I remember once that my pie didn’t sell and my daddy bought it. I was terribly embarrassed. Pies were put in boxes so you sorta bid sight unseen. But after that terrible moment, my mother decided THAT wasn’t going to happen again.

Covered box from Leaves of Time site.My mother was wonderfully talented — what today we would call a craft person. So every pie supper my box would be beautifully decorated and you just HAD to know that the pie in it was better than any one else’s. The one I liked the best was covered with foil and sparkled in the light. She made a beautiful bow which was attached to the lid itself. Everyone thought that was clever because you could take the lid off and not mess up the bow. Favorite pie … chocolate cream.

Recess ~   Games we played

  • “Tag you’re it” – this was the most fun at the Edinburg school because there were enough kids to play that even if you weren’t very good you usually got a couple of runs in before you got tagged.
  • Dodge Ball – ours had the players standing by the building and you had to dodge the ball being thrown at you. We used a basketball.
  • Hopscotch
  • Swings, slides, and a twirl-a-gym – the latter we only had a one school. I enjoyed it until one day I didn’t duck quick enough and got a real knot on my head. Today, of course, the gym wouldn’t have been allowed.
  • Races – this was usually restricted by grade so that in a race to the fence the littlest grades got a big head start.
  • Follow the leader
  • What was the game called where you tossed a ball over a small building? You couldn’t see when the ball was coming to you and the idea was you had to catch it without letting it hit the ground.
  • Jump rope – this was using a long rope with two people swinging the rope and one, two, or three people jumping it at the same time. Those who were really good would do a double rope. [Hint! I was really good.]
  • Jacks – I loved Jacks and I was a deadly opponent!
  • Mitten from the Leaves of Time siteMaking angels in the snow – anyone who has read a Laura Ingalls Wilder book knows about making angels in the snow.
  • Making an intricate path in the snow — right after a new fallen snow it was great fun to take turns making a very detailed, twisting, path and the idea was each person had to follow the path exactly and not step out of the “line”. Of course, the path maker was supposed to make it as hard as they could so you just couldn’t stay in the line forever.
  • Building snow forts and having snow ball fights — I remember one time the boys thought it would be fun to put rocks in the snowballs. But one kid got hit on the head and cut enough to bleed pretty good. The teacher stopped it with snow. There were no phones at the school so no easy way to notify the parents. However, the kid who put the rocks in the snowball got a lickin’ when the note went home that night from Miss Margaret. I personally thought building the forts were fun; as I grew older the boys thought it was fun to throw hard so this was a game I stopped playing after the 4th grade. It stopped being fun.
  • Jumping from stump to stump without falling off — in our Edinburg school yard which was huge, we had some stumps that were just far enough apart to make it challenging to jump from one to the other. Of course, this was only good until you got to about the end of the 5th grade. By that time, you had grown enough that it was too easy to be much fun.
  • Looking cool … When you got the the 7th and 8th grade, you spent more time just standin’ and talkin’ because it was important to look cool. Boys though would play softball anytime!

Some of the images on this page are from a black ‘n white site called Leaves of Time site. Site has changed considerably since I downloaded the images. Site still maintains a “free” section.

Last updated: September 26, 2015 at 20:44 pm