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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