My mother wasn’t the only teacher in the family. Her mother and my grandma, Rose Uelmen Meyer was also a teacher. Guess I continued the tradition as I was a teacher, too.
Like my mother Rose also taught in a one room school house. I don’t know much about her teaching career. According to my mother she had some kind of short training at a Normal school. If the back of the photo pictured below is correct she started teaching on Sept. 3, 1907, 3 days short of her 16th birthday and probably taught until shortly before she married in April of 1915 at the age of 23. She must have been well thought of as a teacher because 50 years later some her students came to her 50th wedding anniversary celebration.
The photos above are marked as the end of the year school picnic for the Wacousta school. I am not where that is in relation to her childhood home in New Prospect. Perhaps some of my WI relatives can shed some light on just where this. I can’t pick Rose out in the bottom photo but in the top photo she is the woman in the back row, third one over from the flag and has what appears to be a straw hat on.
The above photo was a postcard my Mother had. On the back her mother, Rose Uelmen Meyer, had written: Horse and buggy are my father Peter Uelmen across from the St. Mathias church, Auburn twp. The photo was taken when he had dropped me off to teach on my first day of school on Sept. 3, 1907. The horse -Bill.
This is another story written by my mother about the days in a one room school house in New Prospect, Wisconsin. She attended school there from about 1927 until about 1934. Later she became a teacher and taught school there.
I received my early education in a one room school house in Wisconsin. One teacher taught all eight grades.
The school house was a big square room with an entry way and a cloak room on each side: one for the boys and one for the girls.
On top was a bell tower. In the early days the building had also served as a church on Sunday. That accounted for the fact that a cemetery was next door to the school. This fascinated all of us children. I can remember watching funerals from the school house window while the teacher tried in vain to get us all back to our desks. She considered it undignified but we just thought it was interesting.
All of the students from the surrounding farming community walked to and from school in good weather and in bad. I had to walk about a mile and half from my home. I walked with my older sister and sometimes our big brother.
Our school was heated by a big coal burning furnace that stood in one corner of the room. It was encircled by an picket of aluminum so no child would fall against the furnace and get hurt. The teacher was also the janitor but often the big boys would help with carrying the coal.
Water was gotten from a hand pump in the schoolyard. The water was carried from the pump in a bucket to the water cooler in the back of the classroom. Each child had its own collapsible tin cup.
I loved school. I was happy when I could read. I remember my first yellow reader. History was probably my favorite subject. We had to memorize a lot of verse. This was good training for the mind. I can recite part of Longfellow’s “Evangeline” to this day.
Our school operated on a very small budget, so there was very little money for library books or reference material. We did get books from the county traveling library. One of my favorites was “Ox Team Days On The Oregon Trail” I read it many times and thought the children in the story were so lucky to travel in a covered wagon. Little did I dream, that when I was all grown-up with a husband and little girl of my own, I would travel along many of those same areas in an automobile on super highways to settle near the end of the Oregon Trail.
One big advantage to a one room school was that one could always get a review of anything forgotten by listening to the class below our level. If you were bored with your own classwork you could learn a lot by listening to the upper classes. I also had a brother and a sister to defend me on the playground if need be.
The student body was really like one big family with the older children looking after the younger. It was sort of a buddy system.
Recess and noon hour were great times. In the spring and fall we played baseball or “Run Sheep Run.” In the winter we went sledding on a hill a short distance from the school. In march we would walk to a nearby forest of maple trees and watch the cooking of maple syrup. In early Ma we would go to the same woods to pick Mayflowers and violets. There was also a swing set on the playground and it was here I met with an accident.
An eighth grade boy was swinging with me and I was a first grader. I sat on the seat and he stood on the seat and pumped the swing higher and higher. We all did this all the time but one day I fell off and landed with a thud on my stomach. I was knocked out and vaguely remember someone picking me up and carrying me into the school. Some time later I came to and saw one of the upper grade girls fanning me. I tried to stand up but the room spun around and I felt sick to my stomach. I laid down until it was time to go home. My brother tried carrying me for awhile but gave it up when he was offered a ride on friend’s bicycle. My big sister stayed beside me as I staggered home. I’m sure I must have had a concussion, but not called a doctor. A doctor was for big things – like broken legs.
Can you imagine a child today being allowed to walk home after an accident like that!
The car in this photo could be Old Hard Par. This was taken at one of the Meyer picnics. I can’t identify everyone but the Man laying in the grass with is his legs stretched out is my Grandfather, George H. Meyer. The little girl beside him on the left is my mother, Jeannette Meyer. I do not know about the little girl behind her, it could be her younger sister, Bunny Meyer. The girl sitting on the ground on the left side just behind the man is Gertrude Meyer another of my Mom’s sisters. Judging from the size of my Mom and the dresses on the ladies I would say this photo was probably taken around 1930-31.