Monday, September 24, 2012

Country School Surprises

Here's My Hillbilly's weekly contribution to my little corner of the blogosphere:

In continuing with my grade school days, when I look back with a mature eye and compare those days to the present, I am amazed at several things.  First, modern children are coddled, protected, and treated in such a way to supposedly make them feel more confident in their abilities --- whether they have them or not!  For instance, in my school days, at recess, two of the best athletes would choose up teams to play a sport.  If you were young or not very good, you would be the last one chosen.  It was not surprising to you if you were chosen last.  You realized that those doing the choosing were trying to put together a team that was more likely to win.  And yes, we wanted the team that we were on to win.  Yes, we kept score, and we knew who won.  We knew when we won or when we lost.  If we lost we wouldn’t have expected trophies.

Oh!  Sometimes we played tackle football without pads or helmets!  Maybe that is what is wrong with my brain!

Not actually The Hillbilly but a reasonable facsimile

In looking back, I realized that there weren’t very many of us children from the country schools that played organized sports.  Actually from the school I attended, I remember very few.  Part of that may have come from the fact that organized sports were in the city and we were in the country.  We were only moved into the city schools after we completed the eighth grade.  Part of that may have come from children being involved in farm work, or the fact that the country children’s parents had never been that involved in those kinds of activities.

For instance, there were people involved with Little League Baseball that came to our school and asked if any of us were interested in playing.  There were only two of us that said that we were and our teacher acted angry because we said that we were.  Really, in all the time I played organized sports, I can think of very few from any of the country schools that did so.  However, I did notice where you had rural communities with their own high schools (many times first through twelfth grade were in one location), they were more involved.

 I played Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball until I turned sixteen.  I didn’t play high school baseball, even though those who were, tried to talk me into it.  I played basketball off and on through high school.  The football coaches, players, and some family members really tried to get me to play football.  Actually, that sport would probably have been closer to my experience of wrestling cattle and dodging bulls and such.  But, I had no interest and my parents really didn’t want me to anyway.
Football practice?

Sports were not very high on my family's list.  They rarely came to my games and I really didn’t have all that much backing to play.  I had the physical talent to be a much better athlete than I was. In fact, in the ninth grade, coaches told me, that I could very possible get a college basketball scholarship.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen when the only time you touch a basketball is during the season.

Another thing about country school was that with most teachers, the teacher ran what went on inside the school but rarely came outside.  Older and larger children ran and kept the peace on the outside.   By the seventh grade, I was in control.  Most of the time, I controlled what games we played and how we played them.  I actually was taken from school from the fifth grade on to purchase our sports equipment. Fast pitch softball was our main sport.  I pitched, managed, and coached our fast pitch softball team from the sixth grade through the eighth grade.  That is the only sport we played against other schools.  Of regular sports, we played a little bit of basketball and volleyball.  Other than that we played various types of tag – bear around the corner, dare base, chicken and hen, and one unnamed tag where everyone who was tagged became an additional chaser.  With it, eventually you wound up with about eighteen chasers all chasing one person.  You could really get in good shape!
Chicken and Hen?
Bear around the corner? 

Another surprising thing is that we older children did some of the upkeep.  For instance, in the seventh grade, while school was going on I would climb up on whatever was tall enough to replace fluorescent light bulbs.

We had an attic over our lunchroom.  It had an outside entrance that was about twelve feet off the ground.  At different times of the year, I would be climbing up a ladder to bring down desks or to put desks or other equipment away.  I imagine parents and school officials would be freaking out about such things today.

Another surprising thing was the trust that was put in many of us.  For instance,  I mentioned in one of my prior posts, the bus driver dropping us off at a closed and deserted school.  Or, (for example), as Christmas drew near, sending out some of us older boys with an axe and saw, ( possible weapons that I brought in), to tromp around on the nearby farms to find the largest and most perfect cedar tree we could find.  Of course regardless of where we found it, we always got back just before school was out.  We older students would decorate it the next day.
Children with Deadly Weapons

 Or, (as another example) when the military had war games in our area, bridges being bombed with flour, etc.  Children were picking up blank bullets, (many not fired), and other armament.  People from the military came to the school and explained how this could be dangerous.  They suggested that all the children bring this stuff in for it to be buried.  The students brought them in, and the teacher gave it to me, (the physically largest student), for disposal.  Hm!
Speaking of Deadly Weapons!

Okay, I buried them.

Things were definitely different in that time and that place.  Is it better now?  You would have to judge.  I see some improvement in some areas but feel that in other ways, things have changed to the detriment of our children.

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!  

Maybe children are over-protected these days, but still. I think we could get soldiers to bury their own used rounds. Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

And Now a Break from All the Stupid News

Are you about fed up with all the election ads featuring lying politicians? Me too! I'm so tired of all the arguing and name calling, the half truths, the full lies, the intolerance of opposing points of view, the incivility . . . well, you get the picture. So when a friend recommended that I Google cute kitties instead of reading another upsetting news story ("Kitties are always the answer"), I did.

And I felt better.

So in the spirit of paying it forward, I offer you these cute kitties. No funny captions. No goofy misspellings (There's no such thing as a "cheezburger"). Just kittens. Really cute kittens.

 I promise you'll feel better. You're welcome.

Ok, one caption: Kitty does Shakespeare in the Park!

And since I know some of you are dog lovers (I'm one myself) here's a puppy...with a lemon:

I've Linked Up with Saturday's Top Five Laughs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It Can Wait

Today is No Text on Board Pledge Day. Don't let your next text be your last. Don't text and drive. It can wait.

This is one of my few serious posts; I'm sharing it because it's important to me. I don't want to lose any friends, loved ones, students or readers because someone couldn't wait to read or answer a text message. You need to know that over 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting. 75% of teens say texting and driving is common among their friends.

I took the pledge. You should too.

Take the pledge and see more videos at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Blog Prompt...ummm...Wednesday?

Yes, friends it's that time again when I turn to the random blog prompt generator because 
I am completely out of ideas
 I find the random blog prompt generator to be an excellent source of stimulating and thought provoking idea
it irritates my daughter
I'm hoping the generator does a much better job than it has done before. You can see what a poor job it has done for me before herehere and here. So here we go.

1. On the way to work, I noticed...  See, I really hate when the generator starts to tell me a story and then just stops...oh. Oh! I see. It's a prompt. I'm supposed to...okay. Got it. So anyway, on the way to work I notice the same thing every day: vehicles in my way. Big cars, little cars, trucks, semis. All bent on making me late for work. You'd think they didn't even know I'm in a bigger hurry than anyone else. Pssh!
Will you please get out of my way???

2. An activity I enjoy is... Okay, I've got this now. An activity I enjoy is playing board games with my family. I miss having the kids at home. We used to play Trivial Pursuit. At first, I trounced all over Alyssa. As she got older she started giving me a run for my money, and eventually she was able to beat me. I was proud of her, and I hope she was proud of herself. Another game I like is Apples to Apples. We still play that occasionally when the whole family is together. The best part of playing games together is just being together. Everyone is relaxed and happy and getting silly. It's so wonderful!
We never get tired of this!
Apples to Apples Party Box - The Game of Hilarious Comparisons (Family Edition) affiliate link

3. Who inspires you? Oh, the generator is going to get serious now. I'm inspired by different people in different areas of my life. For example, my friend Lynn is who I want to be when I grow up. She's a wonderful Christian woman who gives freely of her time to all those around her. She just seems to know what needs to be done. She inspires me to be more than I am. My daughter, Alyssa, inspires me. She's smart, organized, creative, many things. She's a much better mom than I ever was. She encourages me to push myself out of my comfort zone. 

4. Describe your perfect spring day. What do you like to do outside? As you can see, the random blog prompt generator doesn't know me at all. Outside indeed! After all the time we've spent together, after all the prompts I've responded to, wouldn't you think the generator would have some idea about my favored activities? Don't you know what's out there? Heat and sweat and bugs and skin cancer! Outside! Pssh!
Not actually me, but this is my preferred springtime activity. Also summer, winter, and fall.

5. Are you afraid of death? Absolutely not! I'm a little worried about the dying process, but I can't wait to see what's waiting for me after this life. Sometimes I get absolutely homesick for Heaven.

Thank you random blog prompt generator for another set of stimulating interesting questions.

          So how would you answer these questions? And do you think I need a new generator?


Monday, September 10, 2012

A Second-Grade Hillbilly History Hater

Getting back to my grade school days, I thought I would get into the curriculum of country schools.  Basically, in the early grades, it was reading, writing, arithmetic.  Somewhere around the 2nd grade, spelling was added.  Around the 4th grade, some history classes and a little bit of science were added.  Some U.S and world geography was added around 6th through 8th grade.  Of course in the 8th grade, we also had to pass a test on the U.S. constitution.  In addition, we had an art instructor every few weeks and periodicals to teach us more about current events.  When President J. F. Kennedy was assassinated, a radio was brought in and they had us older children take a couple of days break to just listen to the events unfold.
Winslow Homer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, two of us students knew how to read before we began the 1st grade.  Due to this, we were well ahead of the rest of the students in our class.  Being somewhat hyper, I became bored. Trust me on this; to let a somewhat hyper hillbilly child become bored is not good for the school or for the teacher.

Eventually... okay... within the first few days of my school career, I was chewed out for talking.  Shortly thereafter... okay... the same day, I was spanked for it.  And I was just a poor, sweet, misunderstood, mistreated, teacher-abused six year old!

I am guessing that my mom may have eventually had to explain that I had no feeling in my backside.  Mom, unless really angered and to the point of trying to beat me to death, had pretty well given up on spankings working on me while I was still a baby.  Anyway, the teacher began looking for ways to keep me busy which led to my disliking of history.
By J B Crompton (Scanned from H E Marshall, Scotland's Story, 1906) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
History was supposed to be a class for 4th graders.  Since two of us 2nd graders were well ahead of the other children, the teacher decided that we two needed to also take history.  In all actuality, the teacher had had the entire summer to figure out ways to take care of my boredom.  If she would have asked me, I would have suggested letting me out of school to hunt with my BB gun, comic books, etc!  But no, I got history!  I was angry!  This is work I was not supposed to have to do – and it was HISTORY!  This began a long, distasteful and hatred-filled relationship between history and me.
By Unknown engraver (no signature mark); book copyright D.H. Montgomery [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So, here I was, a second-grade history hater!  I had to take my history book home and study for tests that were designed for the older children.  Now, I was bored by what I hated and being kept from my normal, fun, hillbilly activities.  In the middle of this, while my mom was asking me questions and helping me study for a test, my real history downfall began.  Mom asked me, what was the document that freed the slaves?  If you have forgotten, it was the Emancipation Proclamation!  But I racked my brain and came up with my answer.  I proudly said that it was the Emancipation from Constipation!  When my mom got up off the floor from laughing so hard, she let me know that I was incorrect.  My relationship with history continued its downhill slide from there.  And my mom, well, she never let me live this one down.

As I continued to go from one grade to the next, other teachers tried other things to keep me busy.  Books on dinosaurs, fish, plants, the World Book Encyclopedia, and even outside reading books were made available to me, to keep me quiet, (well, somewhat quieter), and more still.

For your information, I quit disliking history when I was about 52 years old.  If you are a history teacher and are interested, I began enjoying looking up historical information when it got more into the personalities of the people involved and what led to the events. This made it much more personal and interesting for me.   I still find historic events, dates, proclamations, charters and such to be boring.

Now, back to my answer to my mom, the Emancipation from Constipation, yes it was incorrect!  But you have to admit --- a great concept!  Just think, there would be no one who was full of you-know-what, except maybe in a figurative way!  People would be happier and nicer.  They would spend less money on laxatives.  Yes, my answer was wrong, but actually I believe I was ahead of my time and seeking an improved world!  Just think of the relief!  This concept would have an instant and worldwide acceptance.  No wars would be fought over it.  And, If I could make this happen for the world, I would be one popular hillbilly!
By AxelF (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

That's my Hillbilly. Yes, he's the light of this teacher's life. Obviously I don't actually try to teach him anything. I know a lost cause when I see one. I have to admit that history wasn't my favorite subject until I got older. What about you? Are you a history fan? When did you begin to find it interesting?

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