I was 5 years old when I started school, which was in a one room school house and had 7 grades with one teacher and a large wood stove in the center of the room. We walked to school in every kind of weather. When each class finished their lessons, they would sit on the front row at the teacher’s desk. Every Friday we would have spelling bee and I loved that very much. On Friday afternoons, we had entertainment, which was singing or speaking. It was so much fun to participate!
The boys and girls used the same restroom, which was in the woods beside the school on Ridge Road. The girls used the woods that were the closest to the road and the boys went farther into the woods!
The school house is where I got my first love letter and was from my cousin, Spurgeon Rowell, he wrote:
“The cow gives milk, the hen lays eggs and apples grow on trees.”
My little heart skipped a beat as I read so much love!! He would bring me biscuits with homemade peanut butter that his mom made. His dad was my mother’s brother and his grandfather owned a store near the school. On very special occasions we would walk there from the school to get penny candy.
When I was in third grade, we started riding the school bus and going to Unionville. It was a large white two story building, where the community building is now.
(following is a photo of Unionville School about 1926. Grandma is not in this photo, but you can at least see the school building)
In my first year at Unionville I was very nervous and shy with so many people in my class. I remember we learned the multiplication table with cut-out fish on a string and we would have to stand before the class to recite. One day it was my turn and I was so nervous I wet my pants! I asked the teacher if I could be excused and I will never forget that!
The restrooms were outside johns that were nasty and you had to get upon them like a chicken on the roost! I guess I really just wanted to leave the class and cry! The drinking water came through a long pipe with holes in it and someone had to pump it while you drank. It tasted like rust!
I remember when the Union County Health Department came to the school to vaccinate for Typhoid Fever. The teacher was guiding us to the area and as we turned into the doorway, I ran by the nurse and out the door. Someone had to catch me!
My sister, Florence was not very interested in the boys; she wanted to get a good education. I thought I was smart enough already, so I took a strong interest in boys!
Everyone carried their lunch and we carried fried potatoes, fried okra, tomato or whatever we had left over from the night before. We also took ham biscuits and would trade with someone that brought something that was more interesting. One day I traded my ham biscuit to my school teacher, Ms. Evelyn Snyder, for a bunch of grapes!
My grades were good, but it was because I listened in class, not because I studied. Florence was valedictorian, but was too shy to accept.
I got adjusted to the big school and when Clyde started driving, he was our bus driver, so I felt very important, just like we had our own limousine to drive to school. During my senior year, Unionville and Fairview built new elementary and new high schools. Our class was then split with part of our class being the first graduates at Unionville and part the first graduates at Fairview.
In my senior year, I planned an outing for our class to slip away from school! So on April Fools day, Charles Hamilton brought his mules and wagon, the girls brought lunch and we went to a spring in the woods. It was near the site where Piedmont schools are now. We had a wonderful day and my strict daddy never found out! I graduated on May 1, 1936 at 16 years old after eleven years of school. Twelve grades did not exist until much later.