One Room School Houses
by Joshua Heston
Book learning. The word education takes on interesting connotations these days. Connotations of computer budgets and modern teaching techniques, of social management and peer interaction. It meant something a little different in the old days...
from Virginia Snyder
“The highlight of the school year was the pie supper. Every woman or girl brought a pie in a fancy, decorated box, which an auctioneer sold to the highest bidder. The idea was for the men and boys to buy the pie of the woman with who they wanted to eat. Who prepared each pie box was supposed to be a ‘secret,’ but the girls always made sure their boyfriends knew which box to bid on.”
Page 16, Virginia’s Song: A Country Quilt of Memories, Barnabas Publishing, 1996
Charlie Was a Hero
by Arkansas Red
Charlie Stone, or “Uncle Charlie” as he was known by all the folks around Jubeit County, was a real hero. He was a Vietnam vet war veteran who received a bronze star, a silver star, three purple hearts, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was cited many times for bravery above and beyond the call of duty by his company commander, but the Medal of Honor he received for savin’ about ten of his comrades. It seems that south of DaNang, Vietnam his patrol ran into a Viet Cong ambush. Durin’ the firefight, one of the VC’s tossed a grenade at Charlie and his fellow soldiers. Charlie caught the grenade and threw it away, but not far enough and the grenade exploded injurin’ Charlie.
It knocked him unconscious and when he woke up he was on the USS Repose hospital ship. The shrapnel from the grenade had damaged Charlie’s right arm pretty badly, but it also had taken his right eye causin’ him to have to wear a glass eye. When he was released from the hospital he came back to the states and received his medals for bravery and a medical discharge. Back in his hometown he was received with a heroes welcome. He always said he was just doin’ what he was trained to do, and he didn’t feel like a hero, but he appreciated all the attention. He got a job at Pyquette University as a janitor and worked there for about ten years.
One day one of the heads of the History Department saw him on campus and said, “Mr. Stone, we’re goin’ to offer two semesters of classes on the Vietnam War, and wonder if you’d be so kind as to give lectures on your experiences over there.” Charlie was a little embarrassed, but he said he would give it a try. He started teachin’ the class as “Professor Stone”, and the students loved his lectures. The two semesters stretched into two years because the Vietnam class was so successful. Charlie was both a hero and a college professor now. When the weekend came and he was off from the university he would go by Smiley’s Bar and Grill and have a few beers with his buddies. One Saturday afternoon Charlie was in a practical jokin’ mood as he walked into Smiley’s. He sat down on a stool and ordered his favorite brew. When Smiley brought Charlie his beer, Charlie grinned, reached up, and took out his glass eye and laid it on the bar. Smiley looked at Charlie, then looked at the glass eye and asked, “Charlie, what the heck are you doin’?”
Charlie laughed and said, “What’s wrong Smiley? Can’t I have a drink with one of my pupils?”
From Arkansas Red’s Hillbilly Happenin’s.
plate 1. Wooley Creek School, Cape Fair, Missouri. Photo by Joshua Heston, October 9, 2010.
plate 2. Empty Schoolhouse, Mincy, Missouri. October 23, 2010.