School Time

chatter and chitter school

It’s that time of the year-school time. We’ve gone to meet-the-teacher night and bought all the supplies. Nothing is left to do but show up.

Martins Creek School - Pap's school photo

The girls are the 3rd generation of our family to attend their elementary school. It begin with Pap (on the left side he is the first boy in the second row). The old school was built in 1928. When Pap attended in the 40’s the school had no 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 as well.

Pap's school picture


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 just 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-but I don’t think so.
  • 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. I still dream about the school-sadly it burnt to the ground about 15 or 16 years ago. It was in the 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 old 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. 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.

How does that list compare to what your school required this year? And are you ready?


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  • Reply
    Brian P. Blake
    August 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Great-great grandfather grew up in the Appalachians of Eastern Tennessee in the 1820s. We would love to learn what school was like in those “good old days,” if any formal school was held! PS, “Old Mr. Blake” was literate and became a leading citizen of Bentonville, Arkansas. The old pioneer was entirely self-made. His son John went to West Point, served in the 6th Cavalry, and became a “brother” to Geronimo.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Gosh, I also remember the inkwells in the bolted-down desks at public school in Chicago, although ballpoint pens were already in use.
    Lucky you in America. Here parents have to go to great expense and BUY their kids’ textbooks every year. And no system of lockers. Even little first graders have to shlepp all their books and equipment home in a backpack everyday. Some have started buying backpacks on wheels.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 28, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I don’t remember having to have anything except pencils and paper.
    I graduated from the same High School as my mother—even had a couple of the same teachers and they seemed so old. I have a different perspective on age now than I did then!
    So our town built a new High School soon after I graduated and the old High School became the new Middle School that the Deer Hunter attended!

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    August 28, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Great story! I also have said that I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the same school that my father had, and that it was a small school. It was Kindergarten through the 12th Grade all in one building, 247 students all told, and we all got along fine. The older kids helped the younger kids and there were no problems. Everyone knew everyone else, knew their parents and knew where they lived. The education that I received was much better than that received by friends who attended larger schools. The teachers took time to know you and would help you where you needed it…and was able to teach in a way that appealed to each student. Sadly, this school was consolidated in 1998, and is now but a memory. The building is still there, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The school is Circleville School located in Circleville, WV.

  • Reply
    August 27, 2008 at 11:13 am

    We’ll seeing how we homeschool our bunch we don’t require anything.. but it is fun to get some new pencils, erasers, glue, crayons, and what not.. oh some paper helps too.. But really we don’t need any of it, they just like getting it so they have neat stuff to start out the school year with.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    In just the maybe six months or so that I’ve been reading your blog, I can tell that the girls have grown up quite a bit from the pictures you’ve shared and the ones of them today. They aren’t little girls anymore! Of course, I’m sure you don’t want to hear THAT. ;-รž
    Your Pap was a mighty good looking fellow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    August 26, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Awesome post! I love the family history here. The pictures of Pap are precious. Wish that old school hadn’t burned down, what a shame.
    I don’t remember bringing supplies other than paper & pencil. And rarely had homework.
    Now that we’re back into school here as well, I’m shocked, SHOCKED, at the school supply list!! I won’t even waste my time typing it here, but it includes 27 different items!! From pencils to highlighters to water bottles to ziplock bags, scissors, and paper towels. Unbelievable.
    And at my teacher orientation today, I discovered that I’m REQUIRED to assign homework. I just cringed inside. These kids should go home and play outside or just spend time with their families. Like a commenter above said, something’s wrong with the system if the teacher can’t teach in the 6 or 7 hours the kids is required to be at school.
    Better stop now before I get fired!! Blessings to you!!!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Oh how I remember my first school. It use to house K through 6th grade. Now it’s more like K through 4th. My favorte part of school was the box of new crayolas. Loved that smell! Then there was the new jar of paste, with a brush in it. I mustn’t forget the shiny box of prange water colors.
    However I didn’t spend much time there the first week. Every time they would let us out for recess, I’d walk home. Come to find out I didn’t want my Mommy to be alone. It was soon after that, that she went to work.
    Oh and I like Chitter or Chatter’s Red Campbell Folk School T-Shirt!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    August 25, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    To verify that I am older than dirt….one of my elementary schools has been a museum…a MUSEUM….for years and YEARS. Years.
    Anyway, the real reason I’m commenting is just to tell you I love your playlist, esp. the first song…thanks!

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    August 25, 2008 at 9:48 am

    We start school next Tuesday with the kids! Nice post as always.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    August 25, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Tipper: What a great story and it looks like the girls will enjoy school. Your school list was long but I was surprised by the jump drive. Do all the kids in school have computers now? That is really something.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2008 at 1:53 am

    All the schools I went to are still standing. Only my elementary school isn’t a school anymore. It’s a senior citizen center with some other offices.
    I was reading in my local paper that the county school system here sends no supply lists home – they provide for everything the child needs. I was so impressed with that. No tissues, no glue, nothing. Very rare I’m sure.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    School list have gotten so out of hand…back in the day, we only had to have a notebook and some pencils.
    By the way, you’ve been tagged…

  • Reply
    August 24, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I remember those old desks with the holes in them for inkwells! It was years before I realized what they were!
    It is a shame that old buildings tend to burn down like they do. Our little church was a school up here in the 1950s~the third building on the spot~the original built in 1892.
    Yes, schools do seem to require a lot of ‘supplies’ these days. I think all I ever had to have was paper and pencil/pens, too. I homeschooled my two girls, so I didn’t have to deal with any of those lists, but I see them in the local paper and they do seem to grow longer every year!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    August 24, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    We only needed paper and pencils too–eraser tips were an exciting luxury, and new crayons were nice.
    Remember book bags? Instead of backpacks we carried bookbags. I remember a favorite of mine was a red plaid one, with a matching lunch box. Not that it was new–we didn’t have money to buy stuff like that, so someone probably handed it down to us.
    I attended a very small Catholic school. We did have frequent homework, but when I hit public school I was surprised at how far ahead of the rest of the kids I was. We learned good study skills in the Catholic school that carried me through all of my school career. No.1 on that list? Listen to the teacher! You learn a lot that way, even in college.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    August 24, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Hello Tipper! A beautiful story about you and your father attending the same “old” school. I was sad to read about its demise. Bring back those simpler days! But the girls seem ready to start. They look beautiful. Wishing you all the best during
    “school time.” p.s. Pencils, pens, and a notebook or two are all I needed, if memory serves me correctly. It’s been a long while!:))

  • Reply
    August 24, 2008 at 10:35 am

    The girls look so cute and ready to go! I went to the same school that my Mom did also, and yes, we did have recess clear up through junior high as well, and not much homework. I’ve often said that the homework my kids have come home with is just as much for the parents as for the kids. I have my diploma, I no longer need homework!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    August 24, 2008 at 10:23 am

    My kids school supplies everything, I didn’t have to buy anything, it’s all optional. The girls are so adorable Tipper.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2008 at 4:26 am

    A jump drive hasn’t come up yet, but I’m sure it will.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2008 at 1:30 am

    You know what? This post reminds me of a couple of things: I attended the same school that my mother attended, but also I worked in the cafeteria in junior high school — just like you, not to pay for lunch, but because I wanted to help the ladies AND I thought it was the most fun in the entire world. I really did! lol
    Thanks for the memory.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    What fun memories–made me think of my elementary school days.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Thank goodness both of mine are in college and I don’t have to do that anymore! But…’Bama Girl’s art instructor informed them that they needed $450 worth of supplies…she dropped the class! (Not to mention that he was also a jerk…so says she!)

  • Reply
    August 23, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Mine was pretty close to the same! My last year of public school was in 1999, and jump drives weren’t invented yet, so none of those. I remember it took a whole week before school started to gather all our supplies. And then there was clothes shopping every year too. My poor parents!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Lovely post. What memories.
    Our school list was huge, but I have a 1st grader.
    And I’m ALL for no homework! I never had any. They are at school 7 hours a day. If they can’t get the work done then, there is something wrong! And I’m pretty sure in those long-ago days, our country ranked a little higher on the scale of education than today with all the homework and extra days and extra supplies.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    The girl’s supply list sounds similar to my son’s, except he did not need a jump drive. We had the same old school type of thing here in our area of Kentucky. All of our family, including my son, went to the old elementary school. The school was torn down and replaced just last year. It will now be the intermediate school (grades 3-5). My daughter (age 7) will be the only one in our extended family who did not attend that school.
    I loved the picture of the girls with the pantyhose on their heads. Too cute!

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    August 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Wish the girls could have gone to the school you all attended. Wouldn’t that be something to tell their family when they’re older?
    We only needed a pen, pencil, 3-ring binder and those little round reinforcements that you licked and glued over the hole in case they started falling out of your binder.
    This is the list I found for what the kids will need in the Baltimore City School system:
    1 Pencil Box, 12 #2 Pencils, 1 Hand Held Sharpener, 1 Eraser, 1 Package of Pens (Erasermate brand), 1 Pen (red), 1 Highlighter, 1 Childrenโ€™s Markers (8 or 10 count box), 1 Box Colored Pencils, 2 Glue Sticks, 1 12โ€ Ruler, 1 7โ€ Scissors, 1 Calculator, 1 Package of Index Cards (3×5), 1 Pack Post-It Notes, 4 Pocket Folders, 4 Single-subject Spiral Notebooks, 4 Loose leaf ruled 3-hole filler paper, 4 Book Covers/Book Sox, 1 Wire Bound Weekly Planner, 1 School Drafting Kit, 1 Tabbed Dividers, 2 USB Flash Drives (256 MB), 1 3-ring Binder.
    Wow! Sure is different from when I was in school. No wonder these kids backpacks weigh a ton what with all the supplies and the curriculum books they’ll have to carry.
    Tell Chitter and Chatter to enjoy these years of learning … they’ll miss them when they’re gone. I certainly did. xxoo

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    August 23, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    What a neat family history in the same school! Our local schools seem to have a good budget – Ella just needs to have a backpack. We’re using the same as last year, which happened to be a hand-me-down from her Auntie Jenna ๐Ÿ™‚ Really easy!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    That list is close to the one Boo has. I only remember needing paper, pencil and pens.

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