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Columns

September 24, 2013

One-room school

All of them have a loneliness about them, a desolation, and a feeling for the people that once passed through their sturdy walls. Whether they’re in decay, or in some form of preservation, or still being used, the one-room schools that once dotted the landscape are a symbol of an age gone by, of education taught the “good old fashioned way,” of a time when life was less complicated, more innocent.

When I heard that Tammy and Kelly Rundle had produced an award-winning documentary, “Country School: One Room — One Nation,” I jumped at the opportunity for a viewing. As with most of the 50+ people in attendance, memories of my own country-school experience came flooding back.

My one-room school experience was atypical. I didn’t walk three miles, barefoot, up hill both ways, nor was I beaten with a hickory stick, or did I eat lard sandwiches. Us “town kids” were bused from Prairie City out to a country school for a year while a new school was being constructed. This was the mid fifties and I was in the first or second grade. Being a “town kid” at the time, I thought riding the school bus was pretty neat. I soon learned different.

I took the accommodations at the one-room school in stride. There were outdoor toilets — one for the girls and one for the boys at opposite corners at the rear of the lot, no running water, and two grades in the single room. A large crock served as our water cooler. I believe it was hand filled from an outdoor well.

Mrs. Legrand was our teacher, and this might have been her first year of teaching. She was young, pretty, and a great teacher. Lord All Mighty, this could never happen nowadays, but Mrs. Legrand took another little boy and me home with her for an over-night stay under the auspices of working on some art project. Truth be known, I think she was wanting to have children of her own, and what better way to convince her husband, than to bring two cute little tykes home?

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about food prices. Are you paying more than you were last year for certain food items? According to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, "the cost of 16 food items" increased by 3.5 over 2013, as reported by the Des Moines Register. So, the question of the week is, "Are you feeling the food price increase pinch?"

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