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.