By all rights, I should be 90 years old. Except for those living in the heartland, not many of us who have aged into our 60s have attended a one-room school house. My memoir In Search of Pink Flamingos tells of my experience in such a school in a remote part of Nebraska. For those who have read or about to read my book, here are some priceless photos of that place that was larger than life to me when I began my education – grade first through eighth.
An excerpt from In Search of Pink Flamingos, chapter, Country and Catholic to the Core.
“My formal education began in a one-room schoolhouse, grades one through eight, called District 20. The schoolhouse was three miles from our farm…. My class was the largest with five students. A young woman of twenty, Mrs. Bartley, the sole teacher of our entire school of about twenty children, called each grade, one by one, to the front of the classroom to teach while the rest of us did our homework. I have many fond memories of grade school except for my struggle to count [to 100]…Education took a backseat in our farming community. In our pioneering tradition, all that was required to succeed, according to my dad, was how to read the newspaper, write a check, and get the correct change at the cash register. Finally mastering the count to 100 in grade school, I was well on my way to being a successful farmer’s daughter.“
I revisited District 20 in the mid 1990s and found the school closed. Our farm and the community were changing. Here is an excerpt in chapter, Reconciliation:
“On my last visit to the farm, after it had been sold, I drove through our community. Not only did I find District 20, my one-room grade school, shuttered, but also Morgan High had closed. These small schools that held my fond childhood memories had locked their doors to consolidate for school district rezoning.“
Next week, May 20th, 2020, I was to board a plane for Nebraska for my 50th High School reunion. Two of my classmates who followed me from first grade to our senior year in high school would have been there. But Covid-19 ended our reunion banquet. We hope to celebrate within the next year.
I will return to not only visit my friends but to interview my grade school classmates about the day in the life in a one-room school house, a future companion memoir. Mrs. Bartley, now retired in Arizona, is alive and well at 86. She will certainly have stories to share about our rowdy class of five.
I have sanitized autographed copies of my book for hand delivery in the Bellingham area or by mail in the continental US. Comment or contact me on my website by clicking the tabs above, or follow me on my website for more blogs containing photos and companion stories about my book.