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Columns

October 8, 2013

Reunion at Liberty School in Floris

The most response I’ve ever got­ten from my Empty Nest column was when I wrote about putting Holly Dog to sleep. The second most response was when I wrote about one-room schools. Heavens to Betsy! — the stories poured forth like water from a school-yard well — clear and fresh. Larry Jones from Putnam County, Mo., wrote of his one-room school experience, “Not all grades were taught each year.” He was in grades in the following sequence: 1,2,3,4,6,5,8, and 7. The experience didn’t hurt Larry any. He wound up getting a college degree and teaching high school at Moulton. From there, he got a doctorate and was a college professor for 30 years. Larry points out that country school kids typically out performed consolidated school kids. “Hearing everything eight times” evidently had good results!

I received an invitation to attend the reunion of the Liberty School, a one-room school previously south of Floris in Davis County. I jumped at the chance. Not only was the reunion a potluck (great eating), but Floris is one of my favorite towns. It reminds me of a pristine mountain village.

Stories abound while eating (the ham balls, fruit pie and orange cake were to die for). Richard Carlson: He was the only one in his class from the first through the eighth grade. He started school when he was four years old. The only reason he started at such a young age was to keep the school open. Later, when he was a senior at the consolidated school, he wasn’t even old enough to drive!

Hot lunch program: On Friday, everyone brought a peeled potato. Frances Blew, the teacher, boiled the potatoes on the school’s coal stove, and then hand mashed them. That was their hot lunch and what a treat it was. Mrs. Blew’s mashed potatoes were like eating ice cream!

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