Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A PRAIRIE ROOM

Poetics Tuesday, and we're asked to
write of a room important to us, in
Laura's words "a room in the literal,
functional, metaphorical, imaginary
and/or fantastical sense".  Some of what
I've written may have been included in
poems in the past, but I've written of the
one room that impacted my life in every way.
Submitted to dVerse
May 26, 2020
*******************

Deep in the windy prairie of Illinois, miles from a city of any size, was a one-room country school where lessons learned impacted the woman I became.  My teacher for the first seven years filled many roles in our lives.  He was janitor, and responsible for building a fire in the big pot-bellied stove on cold winter mornings; and, with the some help from students, keeping our schoolroom tidy.  We learned responsibility by being assigned small tasks, and pride in doing them well.   He was music director, and played the piano for our rousing renditions of  “America, the Beautiful”, “God Bless America and other patriotic songs that instilled a pride and love for our country.  On the playground, he was umpire, coach and athletic director.  It was here we learned life lessons that would stand us in good stead for all our lives.   We learned to play fair, to negotiate, to respect others, to look after the little ones, and always to do our best.

Perhaps the greatest gift for me was the time he set aside two or three days a week to read to us from a book of his choice.   In mind I see him still, taking up the book from the corner of his desk, opening it almost reverently, and, in his measured voice, beginning to read to us of faraway cities and  events so very different from our rural part of the world.   He would read two or three chapters, then close the book until the next session, leaving us in breathless anticipation.   I became enamored with the written word, and thirsty to read every book that came my way.  My studies ended after a year in business college, but my education has lasted my life long, thanks to the thirst for knowledge instilled in me in that single prairie room.  Many years later, in what proved to be the last year of his life, I had occasion to see that teacher again, and to thank him for the gifts he had given me.  I am so grateful I had that opportunity, and for that one room school.

10 comments:

  1. what an impression this room and the teacher had on you - that's Education with a capital

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  2. Beverly, your memories here stirred some of my own. In 5th grade, we had a teacher who read aloud to us each day. She was such a gentle and kindly person, my first teacher at a new school after my folks divorced. She was an "angel with skin" that smoothed the transition. Thank you for stirring the memory.

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  3. What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. It is good to have the opportunity to thank your teacher.

    I especially liked the emphasis on small tasks in this sentence: "We learned responsibility by being assigned small tasks, and pride in doing them well. "

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  5. This was an anecdotal adventure for me, Bev, which reminded me of ‘Little House on the Prairie’, a place I dreamed of when I was a child, and the kind of school room I would have loved to learn in. We did, however, have some wonderful teachers who read to us – and I did the same when I was a teacher, even to the older students at our high school, and they loved it too.

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  6. I had a 4th grade teacher who read to us every day after lunch/recess--such a powerful memory you've brought back to me. She made school a wonderful place to be. You were lucky to have that for so many years!

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  7. This definitely was a room of treasures.

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  8. I love what you would get from that room... so much knowledge and inspiration with a good teacher. I think I found a lot of things for myself...

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  9. I kept reading....and hoping....and hoping....that you would be able to find this teacher again and thank him and tell him what he meant to you. I'm so glad you did.
    I'm in my seventh decade and I remember a few teachers who meant so much to me and who in many ways, became role models for me. And oh how amazing it was for me to then become a teacher for the first years of my career....1970 t0 1974...in a rural highschool in Iowa. We went back this past October, for the first time. And about 25 of my former students (now in their 60s and grandparents) came to a party of sorts for me. I was so shocked to see so many --- and so touched. I'm so so glad you got to see your teacher again. Know that it meant far more to him to see you and hear your words, than it even did for you.

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