Summer School at Etta

Summer School at Etta


Times have changed and so have school terms. Today’s blog is the conclusion of the segment begun yesterday about the summer term at Etta Bend around 1915. This is taken from my book,¬†The Heritage of Etta Bend.¬†Although the picture is of an old-time school, it isn’t Etta. The words and story are my mother’s, Susie Latty Day:

“Later, we had single desks. The teacher appreciated these more than the students. The brave and resourceful resorted to passing notes to their chums as a means of communication.

Our seats were in rows in front of the teacher’s desk. Boys sat on one side of the room and girls sat on the other side. Two long recitation benches waited at the front of the room. Children came to the recitation bench to read or answer the teacher’s questions. The blackboard was for solving math problems. We students worked hard in the classroom but we still had plenty of work to take home and do by the light of a kerosene lamp after we carried in wood and washed dishes .

Overcrowding in the classroom is not just a recent phenomenon. One summer term, sixty-five learners filled the room at Etta. The teacher designated some of the older children to hear the younger ones’ lessons. These appointed “instructors” delighted in being supplementary teachers.

We brought lunch from home in lard buckets and slaked our thirst with spring water from a pail which sat on a table by the door. Everyone drank from the same dipper. A breeze blowing through open windows on each side of the building cooled us. Tall trees shaded the school.

Two recesses, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, were our only breaks besides the noon hour. Playground equipment was homemade. We had handmade balls and boards with one end whittled into a handle for bats. Sometimes someone brought a discarded jump rope from home.One of our favorite games was “Annie Over.”

When the teacher stood in the door and rang a hand bell, we all trooped back into the house. Spelling bees and ciphering matches highlighted Friday afternoons.

The seven-month school exists now only in memories. But each year in late summer when black-eyed Susans nod along country lanes and trees grow drowsy under a deep blue sky, I remember plodding over a rocky wagon road to a one-room school house. I remember summer school at Etta.”



  1. Carolyn Bsyley says

    Enjoyed reading your story. Some of it describes my school days.

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