Heritage Profiles of Mountain People

Spring Hill School, Haywood County, NC

Sue Cole was born in 1932. Earlier this summer, as we sit under a canopy of trees, she shared her memories of school with me.

sue cole

I went to Spring Hill school in Haywood County, NC. We had school about 8 months out of the year cause children had to help their parents with the planting of the garden and the harvesting of the garden.

The school had two potbellied stoves. Some of the older boys were responsible for getting in the kindling and the coal. We had to go outside to use the bathroom or wash our hands. We had a three hole outhouse and you were allowed to use three sheets of paper. There was a pump outside for getting water.

There was a cloak room in the school to put your coats in and it had a little store in it. You could buy BB Bats Candy for a penny, pencils for a penny, and tablets for a nickle. We always wrote on both sides of our tablets to make them last longer.

Our teachers were Gay and Evelyn Chambers, they were husband and wife and were also our Pastor and Sunday School teachers. Each day someone would read a Bible verse we’d have a devotion and then we’d say the pledge to the flag.

All the children looked forward to Fridays cause we had music. Mrs. Chambers would play the piano and we would sing. It was really fun.

I remember we cut out the Alphabet from paper. The paper was folded and you used your imagination to cut out the letters. We did this for art.

One thing I’ll always remember, there was a little boy whose mother had passed away, he didn’t have much of anyone to take care of him. Each morning when he got to school Mrs. Chambers would heat water on the stove and wash his little body. She also made sure he had food to eat each day.

Things have changed a lot since I was in school. Mr. and Mrs. Chambers were good people and that’s for sure.

Hope you enjoyed Sue’s memories-leave her a comment and I’ll make sure she reads it.


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  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    April 30, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Thank you Sue for sharing your memories. My husband (presently) and I went to grade school together in the middle 60’s. Although we were not well off, we never considered ourselves poor. There was an elderly lady in the lunchroom line that would heap extra food on the plates where she saw the need. Then between serving the classes, she would come out to the dining area and serve seconds. My husband was often the recieptiant of those extras. I did not know it at the time, but it was about the only decant meal he got. His circumstances at home were not good, but the lunch lady never once made it appear he was being singled out, or brought unnecessary attention to him. Years later, he was preaching a Revival one night, and that same elderly lunch lady was in attendance. He was able to share his experience and thank her for her unconditional love and kindness. I am not sure of her exact age, but I am thinking she was nearing a hundred, still sharing love and kindness with all that would accept it, when she passed. God only knows how many lives her heart and her hands touched. Thank God, He has the ability to see past our physical being, and put people in our paths to lift us up in our time of need. And thanks to Mrs. Wilson for allowing Him to use her for that purpose. May God bless and keep you all.

  • Reply
    Far Side of Fifty
    September 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    What wonderful recollections Miss Sue..you are so sweet to share your stories..I really enjoyed them:)

  • Reply
    September 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Sue’s memories of school are much the same as mine. When I attended the one-room school, there was a cloak room and each Friday in winter the teacher, who was only 19 years old, made soup. We each brought our cup or bowl to eat it out of. All other days of the week we walked home for lunch.
    We had an outhouse and a pump. The boys brought in a bucket of fresh water each morning and all 58 of us drank from the same dipper. We all survived.
    There was strict discipline in our school, not like it is today with noisy classrooms and children running through the halls.
    Thanks for the memories.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Tipper, thanks so much for sharing Sue Cole with us. What a beautiful story of life. The world was smaller then—one room school, teachers were preachers too, one outhouse that every one used! Now with the internet and tv the whole world is in our living room, schools are run from the capital of the state, in our case Raleigh and don’t dare pray to our creator in the schools!
    I was born in 1946 and we had cloak rooms for coats and boots. The school smelled like pinesol every morning. We had more than one room and indoor plumbing, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, there was still that feel of community that is gone from the schools now.
    In defense of our schools there are some fine teachers, like Paul. Good teachers are born not trained!
    Now, I wonder where in Haywood county the Spring Hill School was. My grandmother lived in Haywood County and she attended the Spring Hill Baptist Church. It was about half mile from her house.
    Thanks again to Ms Cole for sharing her memories with us!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Enjoyed the post very much. It was a simpler time with a simpler education, but it worked.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I loved the story Ms. Sue. I missed getting to go to a one room school house. It was only going to be in session for 1 more year, and I guess mama didn’t want me to get uprooted or something, the kids going there all ended up going to the school I went to, but I do remember that some of the kids going there got to ride our bus. I can’t recall if it had outhouses or not, but we did when we first moved out that a way. Daddy and Granddad built us our indoor bathroom. Did any one have people come to the school to teach bible stories? We did… Miss Norma and Miss Helen. Lovely granny women. They had a big flannel board and told the stories and then we all sang songs. Loved it.

  • Reply
    Amy - parkcitygirl
    September 1, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Love hearing about people taking care of each other. Great memories – thank you for sharing!!

  • Reply
    Brenda S 'Okie in Colorado'
    September 1, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Great story. The teacher made a wonderful impression on all those children by caring, cleaning and feeding that child. Bless her. Can you imagine what would have happened in todays schools with that child? Thank you, Ms Sue!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    August 31, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    My wife and I really enjoyed Miss Sue’s special story. Just wonderful. And … you can’t see her picture without liking her and loving her.
    Oh, the memories from many a small schoolhouse. We prayed every morning and pledged allegiance and said Bible verses (in a public school, why not?). . . And had sweethearts without being banished. And, every boy had at least one pocket knife and one to trade with.
    And, yes, teachers cared deeply for their students and many helped those of us who were desperately poor.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Simple times, I wish we could go back that way. Times when there was only one kind/brand of corn flakes. Not all the prepared boxed foods of today, Not the 200 kinds of toothpaste. Simple life, I’d take it anytime.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I went to school in a one room school with a pot belly stove, out house and water from the hand pump.
    My first school teacher was also my Sunday School teacher for years.
    She was also my good friend, she passed away last year,she was 100 yrs old.
    You can see a picture of her at this link.
    Loved her very much

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I love stories like this. What would seem like hard work and hard times to some now was day to day then, and no one was upset by it. They were happy and having fun in school. That’s what it should be. Like a family, and cozy like home. Not sterile and nerve wrecking. Thanks Ms. Sue and Tipper!

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    August 31, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    How awesome. Thanks for sharing that. I love hearing about the old days and the old ways. I miss my grandmother’s every day. I didn’t get to ask them enough.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    August 31, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    It does my heart good to hear about people helping each other out and not thinking who else is going to help–just doing it because it needs to be done. Now adays it seems like people are so hard. I don’t ever want to get that way

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    This is great. The teachers were the pastor and Sunday School teacher, too. NO TIME OFF! What wonderful people.
    I was especially intrigued with the art. I wonder if I could get by with that!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    August 31, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Tipper: What a neat look back to the times of long past. Children today would never understand those conditions.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Wow! We had a coal fired furnace in our school so we all came home covered in soot. Still, we had running water (mostly) and toilet facilities. It’s hard to imagine being able to focus and learn while dreading the walk to the 3 holer!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your memories, Ms. Sue! I think the world would be a better place if we would learn to take care of eachother they way they did back then.

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