One Room Schoolhouse
(Page 3 of 3)
Another popular game was jumping over cracks in the walk, where there was a walk. 'Don't step on a crack, break your grandmother's back' was a saying I recall.
Bicycles were few and far between. In fact, in all of my eight years in grade school, I only knew of two, and neither of them were owned by school children. There was one owned by a young man in the neighborhood-which was very tempting to us as we walked by his home and saw it sitting on the porch. In fact, we were known to sneak a ride once in a while. I got a well deserved strapping one day because I rode it and when the owner called Dad, I said I had not ridden it. I got a whuppin' not for the riding, but for the lying about it.
Whippings? Well, it was common practice that if you got one in school you got another when you got home. Some teachers used the rod more than others. One lady used a strap and used it often and well. But the worst whipping ever was to have the teacher send you out to cut a switch so she could use it on you. Switches smarted around the legs, where the cardboard from tablets hid in the seat of the pants failed to cover. Some of the boys got so many whippings that they wore two or even three layers of pants, even when it was warm, 'just in case.' Some of the boys were bigger than the teacher and often it was a clash of wills that brought on a showdown, most often won by the teacher. I never knew a teacher who failed to give the promised punishment, and aside from the problems that one teacher had with the parents, in most cases the parent and teacher saw eye to eye and there was no problem.
The late Perry Piper was a newspaper columnist in Indiana and Illinois for more than 12 years. His columns, reprinted here from his memoirs, appear in Farm Collector with the permission of his family.
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