Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hillbilly School Daze

It's time once again to turn my blog over to My Hillbilly for his weekly ramblings. This week, he's turned his wandering mind from vacations to school. I am not at all ready to turn my mind from vacation to school, but here we go:

Having done the vacation thing, I thought I would move on to school memories.  Growing up in the country, I went to a country school--you know, the one-room kind for grades 1-8.  Since they didn’t have kindergarten, my first experience of school was the first grade.  This was a really traumatic change for a half-hyper, hillbilly boy who had spent six years running free across the land!  Think about it!
An actual picture of the Hillbilly Boy!

We have movies such as Free Willy and Born Free, with which many relate.  We have groups such as PETA who try to protect animals, Green Peace who try to protect the whales, and I don’t know, are there groups who protect vegetables and plants, perhaps called the Green Peas?

 But then the hillbilly is captured and dragged off to school!  And noooo, not for a half day to kind of get the hang of it, but for the whole day!  Is there a group for the preservation of hillbilly boy freedom? No! My backside had never ever had to sit that long!  My mouth never had to be quiet for that long!  Okay.  So even in school, my mouth wasn’t quiet for all that long!  Can you believe that I occasionally, okay, quite often, got in trouble for talking?  As a teacher, Cynthia wouldn’t have approved.

But hey, I had not been tamed yet.  And the first day, well, it lasted for weeks!  The first week lasted for years!  Half of my life was just blown away in that first week!  Who was protecting me and my rights?  Nobody!  That’s who!  This traumatic experience scarred my life!  Seriously!  Not that school was hard.  It was just that I had to sit quietly and keep my mouth shut.  It was depressing.  In fact, until I turned fifty years old and my children were long out of school, as the beginning of the school year would approach, I would start feeling depressed!  You are laughing aren’t you?  There is just no sympathy for a poor hillbilly boy!

Now most of the country schools with which I was familiar in my county, had 25 to 75 kids in attendance spread over 1st through the 8th grade.  There was only one teacher who taught all classes and all subjects.  All the children were in one class room.  Surprisingly enough, we learned quite a lot.
One-room school building

Since we had only one teacher, she would start reading lessons with the first grade.  After a short time, she would assign a lesson for us to study so that she could move on to the next grade.  She would have the other student and I who already knew how to read to help the poor readers in their study for the next day.

 Probably the positive to being with eight different grades was that we also learned by watching what was happening with the higher grades.  Of course we also learned other things from them.  For instance, almost all the older boys carried knives!  Some even had switchblades.  Naturally, I thought it was cool.  So, as I got older, I tried to carry a knife.  It didn’t work well for me because I could lose knives quicker than I could replace them.  So I gave up on it.  By the way, no one ever thought of pulling a knife on someone else.  It was definitely different from what it is today.

Speaking of learning from the older kids, one of the older neighbor boys was going to begin teaching me how to cuss!  I didn’t really know what cussing was, but he was older, so I thought it must be cool.  So, I went home that night and told my mom, "This older kid is going to teach me how to cuss.  Cool, huh?"  And, she said, “Oh no he’s not!”  She was pretty emphatic about it!  I don’t know; I thought school was for learning.  At any rate, I told Mom, “Oh well, I didn’t want to learn to cuss anyway!"  Wasn’t that an innocent statement!

The funniest thing about this was that by the next day the whole idea of it was  forgotten anyway.  Actually, in all my eight years at that school I heard very little cussing even though  I suspect that my teacher may have occasionally (under her breath) mouthed a few words about a particular half-hyper hillbilly boy.  So I heard very few bad words and saw very little violence.  And that violence really wasn’t very violent!  It was definitely a different and better time than today.  Boy, don’t you really wish that we could turn things back to being like it was, in what really was, the good old days!

From the Hillbilly’s corner!

Wow! 75 kids and one teacher teaching all subjects! That's my worst nightmare! But wasn't My Hillbilly a cute little kid? He kind of reminds me of Opie!  How do you like The Hillbilly's school story? Be sure to leave a comment!