NEW APPALACHIAN MOMENTS BLOG POST!!!
From Scott Ballard
Can you imagine how different school was in the early days of Appalachia? My great grandfather would ring this bell…
to call the kids to their books several times a day. Why? Because during breaks in the learning they might be outside playing by or in the creek, or playing various other games like Red Rover or marbles in the school yard.
To that generation the notion of NOT going to school was unthinkable…if you stayed home, you had to work! And farm work was difficult!
To get to school, almost every child had to walk. School buses were unheard of and mountain roads mostly impassable. This helps explain why there were so many small one room schoolhouses scattered across the Blue Ridge….so that they were within walking distance of most families.
Generally, the walk to school was 2 miles or less…and to hear them tell it, it was uphill both ways… You might think that the local one-room school was just a SHORT episode in American history, but the reality is that these school houses were the backbone of our education for nearly 200 years!
The heating system, if you will, was often a pot-bellied stove…sometimes the kids would bring potatoes to school and let them bake on the stove for a hot lunch! They would take fresh cream from the cows at home and churn it at school to make fresh butter…churning was a part of learning! Are you getting hungry yet?
Besides reading and arithmetic (that’s Math for you younger folks), students often also had to take orthography lessons…not heard of orthography? You’re not alone…it’s the art…of handwriting! And who could forget the lectures on Morals and Manners. Lessons covered topics such as good character, industry, obedience, punctuality, good manners, frugality, courtesy and truthfulness…should any of that ever go out of style?
Today kids can’t wait until summer break…back then…back when…the kids might just cry at the beginning of summer break…because there was no transportation like there is today and if you lived way out in the country, you might not get to see your friends until the following September…. and for a 9 or 10 year old….that seemed like an eternity!
If you’d like to hear the audio version of this blog, click here: https://soundcloud.com/germainmedia/appalachian-moments-by-germain-media-school
Please share your school memories or stories you’ve heard from your family in the comments section below!