Country School Days
50 Years Ago
Not long since I visited the old schoolhouse site. Only a pile of rubbish marked the spot. Around the school were oak and hickory trees. The first frost would produce a harvest of nuts.
The teacher got $25 per month "boarded 'round." One of my Hoosier schoolmasters was an ex-professional baseball pitcher. Fifth grade was the top. Sometimes the teacher would hear a class read while the arithmetic class put their problems on the board. During "recess" we played one old cat, crack-the-whip, and pom-pom-pullaway. Last day recitations and spell down contests were releases from the daily grind of classes.
The room was heated by a stove, with sheet iron shields on three sides. This helped to deflect the heat but the occupants near the stove dehydrated while the pupils at the far end of the room wore sweaters. McGuffey's readers were specified. We practiced penmanship by use of a copybook. The mottoes were taken from Franklin's famous sayings. In one corner of the room was the water pail with a large-sized dipper.
After the corn was husked the "big boys" came to school. They left in the spring in time for plowing. During the coldest weather some of the big boys looked at their traps before they came to school. If a skunk happened to be their victim, the trapper was sometimes asked to leave.
Clyde D. Foster
I am a graduate of Lowell high school, class of 1896. A number of my classmates live in or near Lowell. My diploma was signed by Frank F. Highway who was at that time superintendent of the high school. My early years were spent on the farm. In 1896 my father, at that time township trustee, employed me to teach the grades at Lake Prairie. I taught at Lake Prairie for two years and for the school year 1900-01 I was principal of the school at Shelby. For the school years, 1901-02 and 1902-03, I was principal of the Robertsdale School at Hammond. After five years of teaching, I entered Northwestern University in the fall of 1903, graduating in 1907. In 1911, I was married to an Evanston girl, Ella Harriet Bradley. Since 1907, I have been identified with the real estate business, at present serving as Chairman of the Board of Quinlan and Tyson, Inc.
Very truly yours,
CLYDE D. FOSTER
Go to Clyde Foster, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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