Thanks for visiting my blog, you can join me by subscribing

Sunday, May 5, 2013

One-Room School

We have a lot of trouble with the library--I have called checking out books my one acceptable "vice" for many years.

When the children were younger we would check out maybe sixty books at a shot, then something would happen and I would let those books be a few days overdue and...well you can imagine the fines!

One day my dear husband went to the library to check something out, only to be shocked that he owed $43 in fines--I'm not kidding! Of course, he didn't rack up those bucks, I did!

Now I am on a strict diet--no more of this biblio-gluttony. The last time we checked out 20 or so books, one went missing, for three weeks. It was finally discovered underneath the bathroom sink--not sure how to look at that one.

Since we did find the book, we went to the library once again, this time allowing ourselves only one book per person. This made us all very particular, and very careful as to our choices.

For my book, I chose One Room School, by Raymond Bial. I loved all of the photos in this one--especially the vintage ones of a class of students standing in front of the schoolhouse.

These children were often dressed in a rugged, pioneer way, holes in the knees of their britches, etc. Some were only sod houses, one was just a bunch of tree branches bunched together in the form of a makeshift canopy.

Children sat on puncheon benches where there was an abundance of wood, back when Professor McGuffey would have been formulating his readers.

We like to think that we are so advanced these days--but we have lost the will to persevere and overcome. Lincoln, the man who wrote one of the most famous speeches in our history on the back of an envelope, started in a log hut--and we haven't seen the likes of him in quite a while.

Consider this from McGuffey's Fourth Reader (original) with the notation Beecher:

We must educate! We must educate or we must perish by our own prosperity. If we do not, short will be our race from the cradle to the grave. If in our haste to be rich and mighty, we outrun our literary and religious institutions, they will never overtake us, or only come up after the battle of liberty is fought and lost, as spoil to grace the victory, and as resources of inexorable despotism for the perpetuity of our bondage. 

But what will become of the West, if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty of power, while those great institutions linger which are necessary to form the mind, and the conscience, and the heart of that vast world? It must not be permitted.

Awfully prophetic, wasn't it?


  1. I am sure that I personally paid for the recent renovations at our library. I have 'tried' to quit checking out so many books, but I can't. I put a huge library basket by the front door for library books only. Now we check out only 3 at a time, but I still find they don't always get to the basket. But my kids are old enough to keep track of 3 books, checked out on their card, for two weeks, overdue they have to pay or do extra chores for the money. So far no overdue books (except mine of course)!

  2. Oh no, please don't mention the dreaded library life!! We rack up fines like that and then some. Fortunately, we have a great little library with wonderful librarians and we pay our fine like once a year. In January they always have a 'food for fines' week. It is then that I get ours paid. I've had to pay at times over 100 dollars during that month. But here is how it works. ANY food item equals 1.00 in fines. And they love it when we bring quick foods like mac and cheese and cans of soup. Saves me $$ and helps out the hungry. But for the books we lose we have to pay for those outright with cash. And that happens more times than I like.

  3. Thanks, Ladies, you have helped me feel less alone in my "dysfunction"--perhaps we have a self-help group forming here--"Fines Anonymous" or something like that? ;-P