Now that we are taking two of our grand children to school every morning and picking them up most afternoons, this story seems especially appropriate to relate. We drop them off at Franklin school … and isn’t it a coincidence that Louie went to Franklin, as did I? The two-room school that Lucy describes is nothing like the huge elementary complex known as Ben Franklin that the grand children go to in Rochester. It doesn’t even resemble my old Franklin school in Jamestown, ND. What does seem strangely familiar is the trepidation felt by everyone starting school.
There were three grades in the first two rooms – (123) – (456). We only had one teacher for each room. If you were thirsty you raised one finger and was allowed to go and get one. If you raised two fingers, that was “toilet time.” …
Full transcription below.
There were three grades in the first two rooms (123-456). We only had one teacher for each room, If you were thirsty you raised one finger and was allowed to go and get one. If you raised two fingers, it was toilet time. That was a big red box in the basement (winter time). Toilet paper was a small tin box with sheets of paper about 4″ by 6″ that pulled out. It was very embarrassing if anyone else was in the room I thought. What with bloomers and long underwear to manage.
The drinking fountains and water founts to wash hands with was contained in large crockery containers. The soap you used on your hands was green in color and in the winter time could take the skin right off.
The desks all had in the upper right hand corner, ink wells. We did not have fountain pens, yet just straight pens with metal tips that could be replaced. You had a new one in the fall. That was to last you all year.
When I was about then the school presented a May Pole program. I sang a solo, and was Queen of the May. When I got home my mother said “I am so proud of my girl.” Florence Friend took our pictures. Queen King sisters thru rose buds. Mow I remember the side of my shoe was torn so I was very careful to stand so it would not show on the picture. Well … The picture was nice but my bloomers (panties) were two inches below the hem of my queens dress. Funny now, but disastrous then.