By Doris Schroeder
Life has again brought the school buses coming down our street and students of all ages get on and off the yellow vehicles, signifying life has again become structured as it fits into the ever-changing mode of our world. We who are older can only shake out our memories of school life as we know it has changed considerably from the way we lived it. Some of it is naturally to the good but still there was a lot to be learned in the “old” days and I loved almost every minute of it.
When my schooling began, our family moved around a lot, so I had a taste of city and country education which at that time was a lot different from each other. I attended Kindergarten at the Allen School located on Monroe St. The school building was built of large square rocks at that time. The Kindergarten Bldg. was a white wooden structure located to the back of the main building. Later in the year it was moved away and the rest of the year we met in the basement of a nearby church. We had a wonderful, patient teacher who was very calm and collected, I thought. She had been my sister Luella’s instructor before she was killed and I felt comfortable. During our nap time, she would play a comforting hymn on the piano which I really appreciated.
One day my father told me we would move to his family’s farm which was lo-cated on Sunrise road, a half mile from what is now 82nd Street between Buhler and Medora. I was so excited about going to a one-room country school named Sunrise and I loved it. Our teacher was Daniel Diener and he took a room at a house located about half a mile from the school. The interesting thing about that was it was made with sod and it was occupied by my future in-laws, Art & Elsie Dirks and their large family.
All eight grades sat in the one large room and we each had a desk that fit our grade. During each hour of the day, he would call each class to the front and he would teach that grade. When we went back to our desk, we would work on our assignment, read a book or listen in to the class being taught…Actually we learned a lot with that method.
In the spring of the following year, we got a visit from my Dad’s cousin and his wife. They had come from McFarland, California, where they ran an oil business. They talked my parents into moving us to join them. By then I had a baby sister, Carol, so we were four in our family. I helped ( I think) my Dad get ready for a big farm auction in which we sold everything. Dad bought an almost new ‘39 Mercury and we drove down to California.
They rented us a nice house with a huge yard filled with interesting things like a grape arbor, a pecan tree, a fig tree, etc. I enjoyed the Kern County Grade School a lot. Each classroom opened to the outside and we did all kinds of interesting things like making candles. etc. The teacher wanted me to go up to the next class because I had listened in all the classes in Kansas, but my parents thought it better not to. We were happy there. Then the war with Japan started.
My Dad with my girl friend’s dad drove to Pittsburg, Calif., to work in a defense plant. Later when Dad found us a rental, Mom, Carol and I took the bus with our suitcases and lived there. When school started, they bought a camper and we lived near Ambrose in a trailer park. Sometimes I walked and often took the school bus.
The one class I really enjoyed was the music. They had just begun teaching us about the notes of music when we moved again and I missed that.
One day Ike and Stella came to visit again and talked Dad into moving back to McFarland. Mom ran their little station and grocery store, Dad became the book keeper of the Oil Company and I rode the bus to my old school…only it didn’t seem as much fun as before. I don’t even remember what we studied in school.
Then, back to Kansas and Sunrise, the country school. This is where I really enjoyed the teacher, First Mary Willems from Inman and then her sister Esther. They were both so good at teaching by helping us do things in life with what we learned. They had the Rural Bible Crusade come in and if we learned 500 Bible verses, we could go to camp. This really helped me to decide to accept Christ into my life in a very real way. I will always appreciate them.
We moved back to Hutch when I was in the 7th grade and I attended Sherman Junior High…drastically different from country school with a class for every subject. Although I enjoyed it, I made up my mind I would attend Buhler High School and my parents helped me work it out.
The four years in Buhler helped me learn what I wanted…speech, music, writing, typing, history, and these are the things I have majored on the rest of my life. Esther Pankratz helped fan my love for writing. While in Buhler, I also met my future husband John and we have enjoyed many of the same things in Christian work.
I have come to the conclusion that if you have accepted Christ and seek His advice, He will always be there to advise you and help you through any of life’s
situations and work it out to His good.
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at [email protected]