The New School Year

Martins Creek School - Pap's school photo


Pap is the first boy in the second row back from the front on the side with the window  

The girls were the 3rd generation of our family to attend Martins Creek School. It begin with Pap. The old school was built in 1928. When Pap attended in the 40’s the school didn’t have electricity, but did have a generator to pump water into the restrooms. There was a hand dug well with a bucket to draw up water for drinking and washing.

Pap shared some interesting things about his school days with me.

  • They always got out in early May so they could help their parents plant the fields.
  • When Pap first started school the desks still had a place to hold your bottle of ink.
  • The school did not serve breakfast.
  • Lunch cost 10 cents and included 3 vegetables, a meat, and bread.
  • Pap worked in the cafeteria to pay for his lunch.
  • All you needed for school was a pencil and paper.
  • Pap had an 8th grade teacher, Mr. Garrison, who let them do all their work on the chalk board. No writing everything down, no homework-just prove you understood by doing a problem on the board. Pap said he learned more from Mr. Garrison than all the other teachers he had put together.

Steve, Paul, and I all went to school in the same old building Pap did. When we attended the school:

  • You had to go outside to use the restroom-they were just off the side of the porches-one on each side of the the back of the building.
  • I worked in the cafeteria, not to pay for lunch, but to help out the ladies.
  • Sometimes I got to help in the office-I thought I was really big then.
  • The only supplies I remember needing were paper and pencils for school. Maybe a notebook in the older grades.
  • We had recess-even in middle school. We had 10 minutes each morning, about 30 minutes after lunch, and 45 minutes in the afternoon. When I went on to high school I wasn’t behind in any of my classes, seems recess was good for us.
  • Teachers rarely gave homework.
  • Like Pap, my 8th grade teacher, Mr. Moffitt, was my favorite teacher. He was also the Principal of the school.

I loved that school. There was just something about the old wood floors and the high ceilings that called out to me. All these years later-I still dream about the school. Sadly it burnt to the ground one summer and no one ever found out exactly what happened, although as usual there was much speculation surrounding the fire.

Down the road a little ways, the county built a new school for our community to use. Of course it’s a nicer, more modern building, but I still wish Chatter and Chitter could have gone to school in the original building like I did.

One thing that has changed since mine and Pap’s school days-the list of supplies that’s required for school. One year the girls needed: 5 notebooks, 3 folders, 1 binder, notebook paper, pencils, red pens, black or blue pens, scissors, glue, book-covers, a jump drive, colored pencils and a clean pair of shoes for gym.


Portions of this post were originally published here on the Blind Pig in August of 2008


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  • Reply
    Don Byers
    November 10, 2018 at 7:05 am

    According to Margaret Freel’s book, Our Heritage, that school was built by W. T. Moore who built a lot of schools in WNC.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Oh yeah, and add tissues, ziplock bags, disinfectant wipes…..
    It costs a small fortune to send a kid to school nowadays.

  • Reply
    Kristina in TN
    August 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The required school lists baffle me to some extent too. Can someone please explain to me why glue and scissors are required bring-to-school supplies for kids in High School? Notebooks and pens I understand but scissors? Really?

  • Reply
    August 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I remember that in Shooting Creek Elementary school there were snacks available for sale. Big juicy dill pickles served in a brown paper towel and ice cream bars. One of the girl’s daddy owned a store–I won’t say her name–and she brought a little bag of penny candy everyday. All the girls sucked up to her for candy. I remember that there were two grades per room. One rainy day we were hanging around an empty school room and an older girl brought a 45 record to play for everyone. It was the Beatles ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’. I remember every one was kind of in shock and nobody liked it. One of the girls said that the Beatles were definitely ‘out’ in Shooting Creek NC. Mr. Hall was my teacher.

  • Reply
    Rhonda Haslam
    August 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    My son graduated from high school 8 years ago and the list was stupidly expensive then — 3 dictionaries, 2 thesauruses, a $100 calculator, 3 boxes of crayons. He went from room to room for class and had to leave his dictionary, etc. in the classroom. I “wonder” how much they were used when he was in the other room. One year he had to have so many manila folders, etc. I wrote his name with a black marker on all of them before I sent them in. That was the only year that he brought unused supplies home at the end of the year.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    August 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Tipper, thank you for posting this. It brings back so many memories. I went there first through eighth. My mom went there in the 30’s before they had a lunch room. She and her brothers carried their lunches in lard buckets and sit under a tree and eat lunch. I had Mr. Smart for principal and 8’th grade teacher. My son went there also kindergarten thru 8’th. That place was so historical, So many kids passed thru that old building. We had the most beautiful 8’th grade graduatio in that old auditorium before it was torn down and turned into a gym. I wrote a poem about it and posted it about 2 wks. ago. Susie

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how much we remember from our school years, as you get older you realise what a short time you were actually there. I just took a pencil to school – oh, and a penknife, some string, some marbles, a toy gun, an old tennis ball, a matchbox containing a spider….you get the picture!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    August 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I used to substitute–kids had to bring in pump hand soap as it was not provided. Also hand sanitizer, kleenex, wipes & numerous misc.–crayons, pencils, notebooks, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised to see toilet paper on one of the lists. Yet we are taxed out the wazoo here & usually they say it’s for the schools. We do have tremendously increasing population & have to build nearly every yr. AND we were homeschoolers–had to get our own stuff & still pay taxes for school.
    I missed the little community school by one yr. Went to “beginner’s day” there though. Three rooms & finally had indoor plumbing. My granny said the community women canned for the school’s lunches in her time.
    I truly believe these little schools were more effective than our modern big ones. I am a supporter of back to basics–learn to read, write, & do basic life skills math in elementary school.
    One thing especially, my elderly grandparents, aunts & Mama had/have beautiful handwriting. We were required to use “real writing” exclusively from third grade on. When I was subbing even 5th graders would whine about having to use cursive. I had similar trouble with homeschooling mine–he still will print most everything.
    Always enjoy Blind Pig. It’s one of the first things I look at each day. Thanks for the memories!!!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Wow! You’re so right, even when I
    went into high school it was hard
    for my parents to get all the
    things required from my school.
    I was talking to my youngest girl
    the other night, she was at Targets, then Wal-Marts getting all the supplies for her daughters
    needs. She read me a list of all
    the school’s requirements and I
    was just flabbergasted…Ken

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Tipper–I remember needing paper, pencils, notebooks, and in high school, a slide rule. I wonder if anyone else remembers saving Blue Horse labels (they came on paper and other school necessities) to win prizes. I hadn’t thought of them in decades until this post.
    Similarly, it also set me to thinking of lunch tokens (you bought five at the beginning of each week). Our lunches cost 20 cents in my senior year (1959-60). We had an ice cream bar where you could buy fudgesicles, dreamsicles, and other goodies at recess.
    Unlike you, I had appreciable homework, although probably not as much as is common today. On the other hand, there were NO disciplinary problems to distract teachers and students. If someone got out of line, corporal punishment was likely in the offing.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    August 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Like Pap, I could write a book about the old schools. The 1 room and the newer school that opened in 1930.
    Not a lot of modern things then but a bunch of memories of “The old school days”. We did have fun along with the three R-s.

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    August 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Our list includes tissue,hand sanitizer and ziploc baggies~along with crayons, highlighters and bandaids! The only school supply I ever remember being required for us was pencils! I do remember begging for a Trapper Keeper one year though. Do you remember those?

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    August 13, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Tipper it is terrible the way everyone has to furnish all these supplies plus book fees and our two had to take enough paper towels and tissues at the first of the year, teachers said everyone had to bring extras for the ones that didn’t bring any. The bad part was some of the teachers attitude, our son ask one of his teachers in grade school for some help on some instructions he didn’t understand and she said just read the instructions that is what they are for and never did help him. It is a wonder the kids learn anything with that kind of teacher but our son went on to collage got a degree in computer programming then on to get his masters in linguistics an is teaching in Japan. Our daughter just graduated with a degree in graphic design am hoping she can get a job in Columbus, so we are proud of them for being determined to do good after experiencing that kind of teaching.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

    It seems ridiculous at all the schools require now days. Doubt the kids are any better educated. Our town has just built a $19 million high school. When i graduated in ’64 we only had 22 in our class. How the times have changed and not always for the better!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I attended the same High School my mother did and the Deer Hunter attended Junior High School in the same building. The building still stands and is in use!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

    no, when i was a kid it was the baby boom and people were willing to pay decent taxes to educate us all. i remember my mom saying, went we went down to the elementary school for my parents to vote (probably for kennedy) “always yes on anything for education!” of course we had all those things (only no lunches) but the parents didn’t buy them–the schools supplied them. everything(except gym uniforms) for the school.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Tipper, That list cracks me up! The supplies my kids needed for school this year set us back over $150. Each class had a list at least a page long, and we also have ‘book fees’ which are $100 per student. WHEW! Em

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