A Year in New York — Work at the garage and taxi company in Olean.
The following fall of 1917 I went to Olean, New York, to work in a combination garage and taxi company. It belonged to my Uncle Gene Jordon, the same one who had Romulus and the gobbler. (I never went to school two consecutive years after I finished the eighth grade.)
At this garage I learned to vulcanize tires and tubes, repair carburetors, and disassemble cars for Uncle Gene to work on. I worked at night, all night, taking calls for the taxis when they came in and working between calls.
One night a driver brought his taxi to the door and got another. I was trying to start it and get it into the garage. It would start and then stop. I would crank it again (all cars had to be cranked then). I kept that up until it must have gotten mad–for it kicked me, breaking my arm. This was about 2 a.m. I went to the trolley office less than a block away and tried to get the phone lady to call a doctor for me, but she couldn’t. A conductor who was standing near enough to hear took me on his freight car to within a block of the home of a doctor. The house had a long porch. I paced back and forth on it, knocking on each door as I passed. Finally the doctor asked me into his office. We sat down, facing each other. We put our knees together, and both pulled. My fist was doubled back toward my elbow, so we had to pull a lot to get it set. He bandaged a plaster cast to my arm. This worked wonderfully so I could take calls and get half pay from Uncle Gene and half from Workmen’s Compensation.
The only trouble was that it was difficult at first to write with my left hand. I had never done that, but I had thrown lots of rocks with my left hand when my arm was in a sling after falling off Tony. I soon had lots of practice. Besides taking taxi calls, I wrote letters each week to Mom and a lady friend at Oneal, West Virginia.
This was an unusually cold winter. I liked the snow and ice; I skated to and from my rooming place right on the street. There was one place I would stop and feed the gray squirrels. Often they would climb up my overcoat and down into my pocket to get nuts. Sometimes I would skate on the Little Genesee River or the city reservoir.
You might be interested to hear about the first time I drove a car outside of the garage and parking lot. It was after midnight on a bitter cold night. They said it was 45 degrees below zero. A driver came in with his taxi stuck on a side road. I went back with him in one of our other cars. We got his car out, and I drove it back. I had to start it out down grade. When I let it into high gear, it started sliding; but I got it straightened out like I had heard the drivers explain. I came to a railroad crossing and had to get out to see whether a train was coming. My windshield was practically all frosted over. I made it to the garage, but both my feet were frozen.
Work on a farm near Friendship.
About the first of March Uncle Gene sold his garage and went back to his farm near Friendship, New York. That was the same farm where Romulus saved me from the gobbler. Here I found dairy cows to milk and a lovable pair of black horses to use. The horses reminded me of Tony (my colt that I had to leave at Berea). One special thing I remember besides how well they worked was that one of them would quiver her lips and act like she was laughing when I would harness or unharness her and rub her neck and shoulders.
I was so busy at Uncle Gene and Aunt Cleo’s that I didn’t have time for girls except to find out that my childhood sweetheart, Agnes Childs, was away in college. While there, I helped put in oats and potatoes, built fence, cut firewood for boiling maple sap into syrup, hauled the wood, then hauled the sap (after cleaning 1,500 spiles and buckets, as well as tapping the trees). Besides all that, after we milked each day, I hauled the milk to the cheese factory and brought whey back for the hogs.
It wasn’t all work. Often as Uncle Gene finished the last batch of syrup, he would boil some so hard that it would make taffy when we poured it on snow. Other times Aunt Cleo boiled it down so that when we beat it in a saucer with a spoon it would turn white as it cooled and make the smoothest, best candy you ever tasted. Another pleasure there was Aunt Cleo’s wonderful meals. She even fixed us a big mess of leeks.
Perhaps my maple syrup making at Uncle Gene’s might interest you. The winter of 1917 and 1918 had been the worst the old folks had ever seen, so they said. When I hauled the wood to the sugar house, my horses and sled rode right over fences and stumps just as though they were not there because the snow had not melted from October on. It would start to melt, then crust over.
Uncle Gene’s method of boiling the sap was different. He used a drilling boiler with a coil of pipe in an 18-inch-deep pan about 2 feet wide by 12 feet long. I drove my wonderful young black team hitched to a sled with a 75-gallon tank out through the woods, which they called a sugar bush. As I drove from tree to tree gathering the sap, I would get a cold drink from the especially good trees. When I came to the little creek with a bed of leeks beside it, I would pull a few, swish them in the water to wash off the dirt, and then chomp the best bite out of each. I located a bee tree but never got back to cut it.
Uncle Alvie’s in Alfred, New York.
When the sugar bush was finished I decided to go home. But first, I wanted to see Uncle Alvie, Aunt Mary, and especially my cousin Vida (I had written to her some, before leaving New York). I put my suitcase on my bike and rode on a hot tarry road to their farm near Alfred, which was about 35 miles.
They all seemed very glad to see me. Even Elizabeth and Lowell were there. In some queer way, Lowell was glad to see me; and Elizabeth took a genuine interest in me, as she did during my entire stay.
The next morning, as I was washing for breakfast, I saw excitement in the road. A cow was running toward Alfred. When I spied a big bull following her, I jumped out the kitchen door. Cutting across the field, I got ahead of the bull. I picked up a good rock. When he got where I couldn’t miss him, I threatened him; so he turned and went back to his stall in the barn.
When I started getting ready to go home to West Virginia, Uncle Alvie asked me to stay with him through the summer. I had supposed Lowell would help him–but not so; he was going off to school. Aunt Mary and Elizabeth also begged me to stay, so I stayed.
It was a pleasant, busy, and educational summer. Uncle Alvie was one of the best farmers in New York and was the head of their Farm Bureau. He had a registered herd of Holsteins that he had built. He also developed his own strain of potatoes and sold seed potatoes.
During the summer I plowed (with three horses and a sulky plow) about twenty acres of buckwheat and planted it. I took care of seven acres of potatoes, beginning with planting, them with three horses pulling a planter. We also put about eighty-five tons of hay in the barn. Uncle Alvie taught me to load the wagon so that practically every straw went up to the hay mow with a horse-drawn two-pronged fork that I set in the hay.
Besides all that, which I enjoyed most of the time, I drove their two-seated 1917 Ford practically everywhere it went because Aunt Mary liked my driving. Each Sabbath we went to church at Alfred. Once I went to a box supper at the Grange. Later I took the lady whose box I bought to a party about three miles back at Five Corners in a livery-rented buggy pulled by a spirited horse.
Back To Salem, West Virginia
The middle of August came. School would start soon, so back home to Salem I went. I went back to Salem College Academy for my sophomore year. It was a pretty busy year, with milking 10 to 12 cows and caring for the milk and cows. I also had some school work, besides playing basketball.
Getting Acquainted with Ruth
The commencement of 1919 was a very special one because that was when I first really got to know the queen I mentioned seeing when I was 12 years old. I remember two things quite well about our meetings. Two other couples with Ruth and me went on the hill opposite the college, where we ate a lunch. After the lunch, Ruth got up on the stump and recited a reading called, “Woodticks.” (This poem is included in the appendix of this book.) We attended many of the commencement entertainments together.
The other thing I especially remember was bringing the cows down the hill on Evander Randolph’s farm and seeing Ruth at her place on the opposite hill. We waved at each other quite a few times. Ruth was graduating from Short Normal. When the graduation was over and she was leaving on the train, she agreed to write. That made me very happy.
These letters made my life as I helped Brady run Evander Randolph’s farm for him on the halves. The summer and until late November was full of cows, hogs, fruit, corn, etc.–a very interesting year of farming. Along in the last of August, Ruth decided I was getting too serious, so she called off our writing but said we could be friends. For a long time, that seemed like the world had come to an end.
Farm and Other Work During 1919-1920
The farm, with silos to fill for us and other farmers, 85 hogs to butcher and peddle the meat, and the cows to take care of kept me so busy I did not go to school the winter of 1919-1920.
After our farming year was over in November, I got a job building railroad out of Sutton, West Virginia. We built a road up Wolf Creek to a big coal mine. When that was over, Brady and I took contracts of timber-cutting, for a chemical company. We cut out the logs, then all the hardwood. We made the limbs into chemical wood, which took a lot of splitting. Brady and I worked together until Dad finished his school term. Then Brady got a job in a store in Sutton, and Dad came to live with me in our tent (where Brady and I had lived).
While Brady and I cut timber, I lived by myself each weekend. Our tent was more than a mile back in the woods up Slide Hollow from the railroad. The first weekend I got a scare. I had barely gotten to sleep when a screaming sound awakened me. I arose hurriedly and started reviving my fire. Another scream seemed closer; I hurried the fire-making. I expected to hear or see it close any time. After getting a big fire going, I cut a nice club and laid it by the side of my cot, just where my hand would grab it. I was soon asleep. Sometime later I woke with a start. Hot breath was in my face; a rough tongue, also. When I moved, I heard a patter of feet. I threw the club at the sound; the yelp that followed made me know it was a dog. The dog didn’t make the scream. I soon learned that it was a barred owl. She would scream in the big trees near our tent. Other owls would gather and give us a concert of screaming, hooting, coarse-voiced laughing, and cracking their bills.
Another scary time was the Easter Sunday weekend. Some drunk guys from the little railroad station tried scaring me by scratching the bark of trees and making animal sounds. I kept very quiet with my shotgun handy. They went away.
During the spring while Dad was with me, we often heard wild gobblers in the mornings. I found a bee tree, and Dad helped me take two buckets of honey–that helped our eating, even if the most of it was old and black.
When I got sick during the hot summer (probably July), Dad went back home to Mom and Elmo at Salem. When I recovered, I got a job with a surveying crew setting grade stakes, etc., for the new road between Bulltown and Sutton.
Back to School in Salem
I went home in early September when I got a job delivering lumber with a Ford truck for Evander Randolph’s Lumber Supply Company. I kept that job until October, when I started my junior year at the Academy. It was a rather dull year of school. I did my school work and was on the school basketball team.
The spring of 1921, after school was out, Russell Jett and I sold books around New Castle, Pennsylvania. When the books were delivered, I got a truck-driving job hauling for the Ross and Jennings Company. We graded and built the road from Salem to the Dodridge County line on Route 50. We also built Route 23 from Salem to the county line.
This fall I went to football camp at Jackson’s trill for two weeks before school started. This was the first such camp at Jackson’s Mill. The next year West Virginia University took it over for their football camp and began building the State 4-H Camp that has become nationally and internationally known. (I guess Ruth had a 4-H club camp there the summer before our football camp.)
My senior school year was quite eventful. Our football season was very successful, especially since we beat our arch rival Wesleyan. I had the job of janitoring the whole college (which was only two buildings). Besides the football, janitoring, and regular school subjects, four couples of us had a Rook Club that met each week. The graduation of our 1922 Academy class was a special time. It was my second graduation on that stage. I missed my queen at this commencement. She had been at commencement my junior year, and she and my sister, Avis, went on a picnic with me in my 1911 Ford roadster.
My First School
After a summer of truck driving for Ross and Jennie Construction, I got a temporary certificate and taught my first school at a rural one-room school. It was the Hannah School, four miles from Wallace. My pay was $75 per month for seven months. I had 27 pupils in the first through ninth grades. One 16-year-old girl had passed the eighth grade exam three times, so I put her in freshmen high school subjects. She already knew more than I did about the eighth grade.
Because of this wonderful year of teaching, I decided to prepare to be a teacher. I went back to Salem College the fall of 1923. Because I realized the need of a good education, I made school my whole job.
More About Sports
Because of the jobs, I had very little time for some sports I loved–tennis, football, and ice skating, especially. I must tell you about one gratifying tennis match.
Tennis with Jennings Randolph.
I had played some tennis while in the Scouts when I was 12 and 13 years old. We had a court near the mouth of Pennsylvania Avenue. When I could borrow a racket, I played with Russell Jett, Squinty Bumgardner, and Jennings Randolph, among others. When I returned to Salem College Academy, I borrowed a racket and played Jennings a set of tennis.
It was a mighty hot match. We had opposite styles. I used power; and Jennings used careful, patient finesse. It was queer how my strokes came back to me, even though I had not played for over two years and Jennings had the best racket money could buy. I got the momentum with my powerful serve and kept it with my power in every stroke. As the years passed, I enjoyed that win more and more because Jennings became the junior tennis champion of West Virginia and was on the college team that was champion of West Virginia.
My First Year at Salem College
The summer of 1923 I drove truck for a cement block factory. In those days Salem College didn’t get the schedules straightened out and books ordered and received until about the middle of October, so I worked until then. My school year was the best I had ever had. My grades were practically all A’s. (Before this, my grades were mostly C’s with an occasional B on math or science.) There were not many elective courses in an education major, but I took all I could of science and math.
During my first year of college, I had two courses that were special: one was Agricultural Geology, and the other was Caesar.
A distant cousin, Miss Mildred Randolph, taught my geology class (in which I got A’s all the time). About the end of the year, she had to return home because of her father’s health. President Bond asked me to teach the class as well as make out and grade the tests. (This was especially gratifying to me because I had flunked a six-week period in geology to Ernest Sutton and had quit it after telling him he would never see me in his classroom again.)
As I said, I took Caesar to Miss Elsie Bond. I had been interested in Roman stories from the fourth grade on, but I realized that this course would be difficult since I didn’t finish my Latin course the year I left school to work on a farm. (I made mostly A’s in this course, too.)
Teaching For Avis
Avis was teaching her first school at Sycamore between Wallace and Center Point. During my vacation I gave Avis a week’s vacation by teaching for her. It was a wonderfully pleasant experience with extremely nice pupils, and the people I boarded with were so nice.
Two incidents might interest you. One evening after school two Swiger boys, Archie and his cousin, wanted to wrestle with me. It was a crazy thing for me to do, but as usual I couldn’t take a dare. Although they gave me all the competition I wanted, we came through as very good friends. Archie later married my sister, Avis. We have been special friends and still are.
The other incident involved getting Avis back to her rooming place. I walked to Wallace, about four miles, and hired two riding horses at the livery stable. I met Avis at the train, and we had an uneventful and pleasant ride to her room. They gave us a great feed for supper. Then I started back to Wallace, riding one horse and leading the other.
Everything went fine until I crossed the hill at the head of Sycamore on the Wallace side. There I found the road partly frozen and the mud deep. The horses began breaking the frozen top of the mud. I found it better for them to walk along the edge of the road. I was making it fairly nicely, even though it was pitch black dark and I had no light. All of a sudden the lead horse broke away from me; she had broken over the batik into a ravine. The horse I was riding was excited and began nickering. I went down to the other horse and found it caught under a pipeline. I couldn’t get it out, so I rode to the livery stable (about one-half mile). The owner and I came back in a buggy with tools. We got her out, and she was all right except a little stiff. It was gratifying after the scare and hard work to see the two horses enjoy being together again!
Teaching in Taylor County
In the summer of 1924, I got a job teaching the Astor two-room elementary school in Taylor County on an emergency certificate. I was the principal and taught grades 4-8.
That year was a special one for me for many reasons. I had a most wonderful place to board, although it cost me $45 a month of my $95 salary. I had a lot of great pupils. In fact, they were all great! (One is the president of the Clarksburg bank where I deal.) Besides the subjects (I helped them all I could on them), I trained them for a field meet at Flemington. They made me very proud by taking lots of ribbons.
A card from Ruth.
About Christmas time 1924 1 got a card from my Queen Ruth. I was so happy I jumped up and down a while. Mrs. Bailey, my landlady, always called Ruth my “jumping girl.” Soon we were writing every day.
When school was out, I got a job at the Blocky Pittsburgh No. 2 Mine. My first job was catching coal cars when they came down the hill to the tipple. The very first day I unloaded a railroad car of baled hay between times when I was catching the mine coal cars. At quitting time I would have been happy to quit, but the superintendent asked me to help pile the bales as high as my head and higher in the barn–so I did. The second day I thought I would do well to get through the day, but I unloaded steel rails in my spare moments.
Later I got the job of weighing the coal and dumping it into the shaker to grade it. While I was doing that job, one day I went under the tipple to start a railroad car for the loader down there. The car behind it started and caught me between it and the tipple. I yelled! My buddy, Charles Bailey, was tearing parts of the tipple off to get me out before the loader got the cars stopped.
After I recuperated a little (a day or two), my super loaned me his Ford Roadster to get Ruth at Clarksburg and take her to some of her folks at Salem (her Aunt Doc)–and I went to my home. The next day we took a trip to Elkins with another couple. My ribs healed rapidly.
Before I went back to school (late as usual), I got a job guarding the mine. (our Super had gone scab with a much bigger union mine not two miles away.) The guard job paid more money; besides I gave out the workers’ supplies as they came to the mine each morning.
This work was at night. I slept daytime (that is, some of the daytime). One day I went to Pittsburgh to get my Super. Another time I took his wife to Frostburg, Maryland, to visit. Still other times, I drove the cars for four other families who couldn’t drive their own because they were too old.
My home with Mrs. Bailey.
I must not quit the story of my life at Astor without telling of my wonderful home with Mrs. Bailey and my great mine Super, Ed Reppert. Mrs. Bailey’s home was a large two-story house. I had a room upstairs; and her other boarder, Alfred Reppert (my Super’s father), had another room up there. Mr. Reppert was a wonderful old gentleman. He had fatherly advice and played beautiful violin music much of the time. Mrs. Bailey had a son Charles and a daughter we all called Seester. Charles had a car and often took me places like Grafton with him. he treated me like a brother and was the mine clerk who got me out of my tipple accident. Seester was only there weekends, but she was extra nice.
Mrs. Bailey was such a good cook and raised such sparkly, dry, richly flavored tomatoes that she put in my lunch pail. I learned to enjoy stewed tomatoes and parsnips while I was there. These were two vegetables I had never really enjoyed before; they are both my special treats now.
Ed. Reppert, mine superintendent. My mine superintendent was losing his job. He had me take him to Pittsburgh to get money backing to buy an old mostly-worked-out mine. As I went, I saw a queer light, which I found out years later (when Clarksburg got them) was a traffic light. Ed got the money. He finally owned four big mines around Flemington and Rosemont. Mrs. Reppert was his mine clerk and business manager. Ed donated the first carillon bells that were in Clarksburg. He died fairly young, but his wife went right on with the mines. Ed had me to teach his wife to drive because he said he couldn’t.
My Second Year of College
My second year of college was a great learning year, but the main importance was that it was my marriage year. I had classes in science, math, methods, and even practice teaching. My special subject was Tests and Measurements, taught by the teacher whose classroom I had said I would never enter again. I had to have Tests and Measurements to get my Standard Normal degree and later my Bachelor of Arts degree. I entered this course determined to do my very best–and that I did. A Miss Katherine Morrison and I were at the head of the class of over 40 teachers. Neither Prof. Sutton nor I ever mentioned our former difficulty. I considered Prof. Ernest Sutton one of my very best teachers–along with Dicksen, H. O. Burdick, and Bill Price.
School at Salem College — I first met Ashby Randolph
The spring of 1915 was my first trip to a Salem. Orville was in school, and Lydia was teaching there. Susie must have finished her Short Normal that spring, for she taught in junior high at Salem the first year I was in school at Salem Academy. I was walking down the street in Salem and met a boy scout dressed in his uniform. He tipped his hat with a big smile. I later learned he was Ashby Randolph.
A student at Salem Academy. I enrolled at Salem College Academy in t e a 1 of 5. Orville was finishing his Bachelor of Arts degree that year. We lived in a four-room white cottage on the hill west of Pennsylvania Avenue. A long flight of steps took us safely up and down the hill.
We registered and got our class schedules. The next day we all met in the Auditorium to try to make out a class schedule that suited everyone. Sometimes that went on for two or three days before all the conflicts were ironed out. Aunt Elsie was registrar and Latin teacher (also botany). Uncle Sam was science professor. I loved his General Science class. I shall never forget one experiment. He blew up a balloon. He just kept on blowing until it was inflated. I got so excited about his not breathing I could not stand it. It amused him. He said, “You have to learn to breathe just a little as you blow.”
I took the Short Normal course so I could teach after four years. I loved to study, so schoolwork went nicely. Sometimes Lydia and Susie would have liked it better if I had done less study and more housework.
It was nice to have two of Mama’s brothers and two sisters living in Salem. Uncle Aus was city tax collector. Aunt Doc lived with Aunt Elsie. Often she had medicine to be taken to patients around town, so I had some spending money from that. Both she and Aunt Elsie found lots of ways to help out all the nieces and nephews attending school there.
Each school day at 10 a.m. was “Chapel Time.” Each student was required to attend. The faculty members took turns conducting the service, On Thursday evenings the college bell rang out announcing the “Quiet Hour” from seven to eight. This took place in a convenient classroom. Sometimes a “Thought for the Day” was written on the blackboard. Sometimes soft music was played. A few times Pastor Shaw quoted Scripture the whole hour. Students could go at any time and stay as long as they chose. It was not required.
I guess school days must have been quite normal–lots of friends and activities. I especially remember the Field Day when I was a senior. Each class was represented in each event. Our class had only eight members (two were boys), so some competed in more than one event. I was in the relay race, and I also threw the “discus.” By that time Paul had forgiven me for getting him up off the floor, so he coached me (he was the star discus thrower in college). It paid off; I threw twice as far as any other. When the scores were added up, our little class was far ahead of any other class.
It was great to finally be graduating. Best of all, that was the day we got word that Orson was back in the States after serving in World War 1.
Dating Ashby Randolph
That spring was also the first time Ashby and I dated. We joined with others taking walks on Sabbath afternoons, having wiener roasts, and attending college activities. We wrote some that summer, and he and Avis came up home for the weekend of my birthday. We decided to go our separate ways. I wanted to try my luck teaching school.
When I started to school, three trustees hired the teacher and looked after the needs of the school. At the time I was looking for a job, each district had a board of education. Ours was located at Walkersville.
Teaching at Roanoke
At the time the Board met, I drove a horse and buggy to the meeting and applied for a job at Roanoke. I stayed around. After their meeting, I was told I had a job as principal of the two-room school at Roanoke. That was only 1 1/2 miles from home, so I walked. My co-teacher was Mabel Teter. We worked well together and had a good year.
I had a 4-H club. That next summer, the first 4-H camp in West Virginia was opened at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County. I went with my club. As we were in Lewis County, we had the first camp held there. Any county in the state could use it for a week for 4-H camp. The buildings were ample. However, we had a hard rain one night; and we had a terrible time finding places to put the cots where they would not be leaked on. All in all, it was a real fun week!
The second year I taught at Roanoke, Ada taught the primary room. We were the only children at home that winter until Ian came home to recuperate. He had been playing football for Salem College and got a leg broken.
A fire at home.
That spring one Sunday I was cleaning upstairs while Ada was doing the washing. Some way I discovered the attic roof was on fire. We had a coal stove in the living room with a pipe running up through the roof. I ran downstairs, yelling, “The house is on fire!” I grabbed a bucket of water and ran back upstairs. In the hallway was a scuttle hole into the attic. I had to climb through the hole from a chair. I got the fire out in the attic, but it was still burning on the roof. I had a hard time getting back through the hole to the chair, but I finally managed. Then I ran back downstairs. Ian said, “Someone bring me my crutches so I can get out of here.” I obliged and ran outside.
There stood Ada at the foot of a ladder leading to the roof, holding a bucket of water and crying. She said, “Papa told me to bring a bucket of water up to him, and he knows I can’t get up this ladder.” So I took the bucket of water up the ladder and on up to Papa. He soon had the fire out. By then, some of the neighbors were there. They helped repair the roof temporarily.
A car wreck.
One fall, after we owned a Ford five-passenger car, I went to Roanoke to get Nora Helmick, who planned to spend the night with me. Harry Bee went with me. It was a dirt road, dry and dusty. I was making too much time for the conditions; and as I topped a bank on a curve, the back wheels skidded. One wheel’s wooden spokes broke and flipped the car over on its top, which had a wood frame, not even bending a fender. I crawled out first, then Nora. That let the car down on Harry. We had to lift the side of the car so Harry could crawl out. The acid from the battery had eaten some holes in his shirt, but otherwise he was not hurt. Nora had a sprained ankle, and I had a scratch or two. My, how I hated to go home and tell them I had wrecked the car. Fortunately, I had just received my school check so I could have the car repaired–a new wheel and new wood frame for the top, a little over $50. When Papa heard about it, he said, “If the road had not been so dusty, it would not have happened.” Main always thought that would not have been his reaction had he wrecked the car.
Teaching, at West Milford.
The next summer Orville persuaded me to take a job teaching seventh and eighth grades in the West Milford School, Harrison County, where he was principal of the high school and supervisor of the grade school. They were living in West Milford at the time, and I lived with them the first year I taught there.
One night after Orville and Lucille had gone to bed I was grading papers in the kitchen when a big rat came up through a hole in the floor where a gas line had been at one time. When it saw me, it ran behind the cupboard. I put an iron over the hole and called Orville to help me. He was standing in front of the cupboard with a stick, watching while I took a broom handle to scare the rat out fro-,m behind the cupboard. It ran out and tried to go back down the hole it came from, but the iron was over it. Before Orville realized what was going on, it ran up his leg under his pajamas. You never saw such jumping, and the rat could not stay there long! I about went into hysterics–eventually we did get the rat.
I enjoyed my pupils, and we got along well. If they were on the playground during school, I was there with them. One time one of the older boys had a tiny snake (not more than six inches long) on the playground and was having a big time making the girls think he was going to put it on them. I said, “Don’t do that.” He said, “Maybe you want it on you.” I said, “Just give it to me,” and held out my hand; “I will put it right down your neck.” He did not want that. I said, “All right, get rid of that snake right now and don’t ever bring another one.” He obliged.
The second year I taught at West Milford, I boarded at Charlie Holmes’. My roommate, Lillian Brandon, was from Tennessee. She taught home economics. The music teacher, Louise Myers, and English teacher, Margaret Sharer, also roomed there. We had lots of pleasant times together. Mrs. Holmes was always kidding me about being a Seventh Day Baptist (she was a Methodist). One morning I started to school and went back to get my umbrella. She said, “I would not think a Baptist would be afraid of a little water.” I said, “That is just the trouble; I am afraid of being sprinkled.” (She was a good friend as long as she lived.)
The third year I taught at West Milford, Mrs. Holmes was not able to cook for us; we had a room with Mrs. Fox. The Board of Education permitted three of us to use the Home Ec Room to do our own cooking. Lillian fixed lunch, as she was always there. Lavada and I took turns fixing supper. Each one fixed what she wanted for breakfast. We really enjoyed that. (I guess the Board of Education would not go along with that plan now.)
That spring Orville left West Milford. Lillian and Lavada were going elsewhere the next year, so I decided I would leave, too.
Teaching at Brier Point. I had been going to summer school and only had two summer terms left to get my Standard Normal. I applied for and got my home school at Brier Point.
That was a new experience. The last half of the previous year, I had taught only the eighth grade and had trouble to find enough time to teach all that I would have liked to teach. Now, I had all eight grades but not nearly as many pupils. I only had two boys in the first grade; they were easy to teach. I shall never forget them. One was small, cross-eyed, freckled, little flat nose, and the sweetest smile anyone ever had. Everyone loved him.
I had gone to school with older brothers and sisters of some of the children and knew all of the families well. One of the fathers taught me in the eighth grade. One husky boy in the sixth grade would have liked to start some trouble. He called me “Ruth” once soon after school started. I said, “You may call me Ruth anytime you wish when you are not at school; but here you call me Miss Ruth or Miss Bond, whichever you like.” I had no more trouble that way.
Another time that same boy was creating a disturbance pretending to be scared of a wasp that was running around over the window beside him. I just walked over to the window, picked up the wasp by the wings, and put it outside. He was one surprised boy.
Another time when we were eating lunch, he asked me if I could break a hard-boiled egg by placing it in my palms, locking my fingers, and squeezing it. I told him I had never tried, so I did not know. He had a hard-boiled egg in his lunch and wanted me to try. Much to his surprise, I smashed the egg. (He had been told it could not be done.) He was one of my best helpers after that. All in all, I enjoyed that school year more than any other.
I might mention that in the six years I taught school, I never missed one day due to illness.