Once again, our guest blogger — my grandfather, G.M.C. Massey — will take us on another Texas Time Travel, reflecting on his first days of school in late 19th Century East Texas.
About this time, the first school in our neighborhood was begun and I was very glad to get the opportunity to go to school.
This school for beginners was in an old renter house that a man gave the rent to the school board to get the school. It was a one room residence with a lean-to for a kitchen that was used to store our coats, our shoes, and our lunches.
My first teacher was a widow woman named Amanda Fitzgerald. She had a boy that was by her first husband, and his name was Claude Hampton. Mrs. Fitzgerald was one of the most lovable women of my recollection. I loved her very much and I learned pretty fast, too.
I remember how it was that she found out about someone robbing our lunch baskets, and what she did to alleviate the matter. There were two of us boys watching the lunches at the recess period and the teacher missed us on the playground. She came to see about us and found us watching for the guilty ones. She sent us back to the playground and she watched. She caught the thieves and was about to punish them, when the children explained the cause of it all. The children that had been getting the food were very poor people and had insufficient food. They had nothing to bring for their lunches and therefore were just eating off the rest of us. She arranged with the more fortunate ones of the children to bring something to help out in the furnishing of the lunches for the underfed and we noticed that we didn’t have that trouble any further. It was sometime later that my mother told me why the lunches had stopped being taken.
The beginning of school life was the beginning of an adventurous age. We began to learn something of living and playing with other children and how we had to give and take to get along with people. First of all, we had to learn that somebody else other than our parents had a control over us. Also, we had to learn how to take care of ourselves on the playground with other children – older, bigger, and sometimes very unruly themselves. In those days, the teachers had a code of written rules and they read them every Monday morning. It was refreshed upon our minds what we were not to do.
To Be Continued…