Okay...how many of you attended a one room school? Hands up please. I said hands...oh...nobody? Good grief, I just slipped over the edge from vintage to antique.
How well I remember that first day. Girls and boys entrances, cloakrooms, chemical toilets, rows of desk ranging from miniature to adult sized, high windows, chalkboards and the teachers desk up front. There were musty dusty bookshelves (which were to become my best friends) and a wood stove (yes, you read that correctly). A big clay barrel with a spigot was filled with freshly pumped water every morning for noon hour hand washing and drinking water.
We were sorted according to grade and installed in the correct seats. This is where we would sit for the remainder of the school term. No jockeying for position next to best friends. No problem. I didn't know one single person there.
Not one row of seats had a full compliment of occupants. I think maybe there might have been 20 pupils. Not much of a work load for the teacher you might say until you realised she had eight grades to keep organised and working all at the same time.
Ah that first day of school. Everyone dressed in at least their second best for the occasion with strict instructions to 'not get dirty'. Yeah..right. All through grade school little girls always wore dresses or skirts. Never did you see a girl in shorts or slacks.
At morning recess we were marshaled outside to the front yard for exercises. One long row of kids from grade one down to grade eight. "On the count of three every second child jump out to the left." What? Oh good grief, I can't remember which way is left.
Talk about panic. Eventually we formed two shorter rows and off we went on the exercises until teacher decided it was time to go back in and get down to business.
Other recesses we had splintery swings and see saws to play on. In warm weather we might have a game of baseball in the afternoon recess. As I recall, that's how one of the bigger boys broke his leg.
It may not have been the best education but I have always been glad I had the experience of a one room school.
Today the grandies are back to school...one very happy and excited, the other dreading another year of captivity. I identify with the second one.