Welcome to my Joyful Surprises Blog. I’m Diane Davies. Let me fill you in a bit about me. I was born in 1948 to Loren and Eileen Lindemann. We lived in the small community of Old Cottage Grove, Minnesota where everyone was family whether you were related by blood or not. My older brother by three years, David and I attended a two-room country school through 6th grade. The “Little Room” with Mrs. Black housed first through third grade while fourth through sixth grade were in the “Big Room” with Mrs.Jensen. The library where text books were stored along with the paste and other art supplies, was the middle section of an addition along the front of the building. It was also the bell tower where Mrs. Jensen was in charge of the rope that rang the bell marking the beginning and ending of the school day. The two ends of that section were the entry doors and cloak (really cloak was the word) rooms where we left our coats, boots, sleds, balls, bats or anything else that was not to be in the classroom with us. Lunches were stored in the classrooms on a shelf behind the furnace in each room because if left in the cloak room they were frozen by lunchtime in the winter. A long lean-to type of structure ran along the back side of the building and housed separate chemical toilets for the boys and the girls. This hallway was not heated so needless to say you did not waste time using the bathrooms. Each of the classrooms had it’s own crock water cooler, tin wash basin, paper towels, soap and slop bucket for the waste water. The sixth grade boys carried water from the unattached pump house to fill the crocks each morning. I don’t remember how the pump house was kept from freezing. At the end of the day, the slop bucket was emptied out into the yard.
Each room had a piano, separate desks for each student with attached chairs, a reading/demonstration table with a limited number of chairs, a globe, pull down maps attached to the blackboards, a teacher’s desk and chair and a library which consisted of a book shelf which held a miscellaneous collection of old stories and novels. I loved that collection and read every book at least once and some of them numerous times.
I also loved that old school and probably received my most valuable lessons within it’s walls. Reading, writing, history, and arithmetic were not the only subjects taught. We learned cooperation, communication skills, how to care for those around us whether younger or older, how to play baseball, how to take turns on the swings and the slides, how to push the merry-go-round from underneath, how to ride our bikes, how to do flips off the monkey bars, how to walk the balance beam known as the fence railing along the front of the playground, and how to be at the bottom of the sliding hill when the bell rang announcing the end of afternoon recess. We did this all without helmets, seat belts, and knee pads. We had no pea rock or bark to soften the ground under the playground equipment. Supervision outside was left to the older students to watch the younger. We were family and looked after each other as such. We learned to fight and solve problems together. We learned to love and help each other as well.
The year my class finished 6th grade, the country schoolhouse was closed forever and torn down. My younger brother started school riding the school bus and attending a new modern elementary building in St. Paul Park, Minnesota. The end of an era to say the least.
More about Who is Diane Davies in my next blog.