Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2003, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Fall Memories

    Fall of the year is with us now and it always reminds me of my school days.
    I recall once we had a teacher who could write poetry and one day he asked our 8th grade class to write some verses. I studied a long time and I wrote: "Fall of the year is almost here. The saddest time of all the year." That was as far as I could go. It convinced me I was no poet.
    We also had to write compositions in our grammar class. We had one teacher who told us to look at pictures, scenes or flowers and weave a story around that. It was no trouble for me, for I had a very vivid imagination.
    Our school was a one-room building with some 40 pupils. We had to walk a mile and a half to school. Most days it was a pleasant walk, especially in the fall. We enjoyed the goldenrod and wild asters and watching the turning of the leaves, day by day. It was a beautiful sight.
    We had many subjects, seven or eight books, and it was book-learning only in those days. We had Milnes higher arithmetic, algebra, United States history, Arkansas history, civil government, geography, physiology, spelling and grammar.
    I loved grammar. I liked to diagram the sentences and study nouns and verbs. I was not too fond of U.S. history, as I couldn't remember dates very well.
    One teacher gave awards for the number of hours we spent doing homework, so I usually brought home some of my books. One particular time I had brought my algebra and arithmetic book to study. That night the schoolhouse burned and all my other books were destroyed. In fact, nothing was saved except an old bench. We had a new organ by the door, but the man who got to the fire first was only able to get the bench out.
    The menfolks got busy and rebuilt the schoolhouse but it was February before we started back to school. Then there was an epidemic of measles and finally they dismissed school until the next fall. We all drank from the same cup in those days!
    In time, I finished the 8th grade. Then I went away to high school. I stayed at my grandpa's and walked a mile to school. It was much larger than my grade school and I was very impressed that they had two teachers.
    We studied a great deal of literature. "Hiawatha," "Lady of the Lake" and others. I got so homesick at night that I cried to go home. Finally, I said, "Now, Mellie, you are a big girl now. That is foolish."
    I did not finish the four years, though, and have always regretted it. An education is something no one can take away from you. It is a joy as long as you live.
    My school days were happy ones and I love to go back in memory and relive them. Some of my schoolmates have passed on and others are living in many other states. I'd love to see them all again.
    Last, but not least, we always opened the morning lessons by singing, reading the Scriptures and having a prayer. This time of devotion was a source of inspiration to us through the day and formed a faith that lasted long beyond our schooldays.
    May you all have peace and happiness in your daily living.

Mellie Smith

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