Now that the trek back to school has begun, let us reminisce a little about school days of "long ago." Maybe the modern school is better lighted, better ventilated, and more uniformly heated. Certainly the teachers have more elaborate training. But somehow I wouldn't trade Minnie Hobaugh or James Lytle or Bess Walker for any of them. I was fond of Marybell Waddle, too. No town or city school can offer you the nice long treks through the woods and fields and down a stony but 'woodsy' road. I am writing now of the road down to No. 4 school, near White Station. That was a lonely road, yet I never thought of it as such. All fall I would cut through the orchard and pick up three or four of the big, luscious apples lying new and flawless in the carpet of grass. Oh, I think of those apples, in prodigal profusion - in every tint of yellow and red - when I have to go to the store now and pay ten to fifteen cents a pound.
But this is digressing from school. As I remember, I walked home with Miss Hobaugh nearly every evening. She lived on what is now the Will Hudson farm, which adjoins our old farm. She was a delightful companion "on the road," even playing tag with me - by reaching behind her with lightening swiftness, when I would sneak up on her. She was so nice and chummy on the road - but utterly impartial and impervious to flattery in the school room. I really felt that she lacked appreciation of the highly humerous. For instance, there was the day when I tried out my new sprinkling system - a chicken quill wrapped 'round and 'round with muslin and stuck as a cork in a bottle (full of water, of course). I am quite sure it was Miss Hobaugh who taught us this more sanitary method of cleaning our slates. But I loved to tease good-natured Willie Grant, who sat right in front of me. While he was up at class, I gave his seat a good dousing - when I thought the teacher wasn't looking. Willie, the grand sport, tried to cover up my iniquity by pretending to sit, but tipping to the right, to keep his left thigh out of the flooded area. Teacher didn't seem to notice anything. In fact she turned her face toward the blackboard, then asked me to come up front. I really thought she was going to ask me to be teacher's little helper. And that would be just dandy. Anything for activity. But lo and behold! She walked over to a cupboard at the extreme right, opened it, and brought forth - a rod! It was a fairly harmless little rod - in a gentle teacher's hands. But I was so scared that, when she asked me if I'd ever do that again, I said "Yes," when I definitely meant "NO." I was so afraid to 'disgrace' my family that I swore to secrecy every child that would ever happen to cross Aunt Caroline's path. Unknown to me some tattler carried the story of my shame to my family, years later they twitted me about it.
Now, make no mistake, I deserved the whipping. Maybe not just for that one deed. But that was one of a long series of misdemeanors. Teacher had to call a halt sometime. And to this day I bless her for the good things she taught me. Until next week, au revoir.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 9/22/49 - THE YEAR'S AT AUTUMN
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