By Paula Mitchell
“Back in my day, we walked to school uphill, both ways….in snow!” Children today have heard that many times. However, there was a lot of truth to that piece of conversation.
In the early 19th and 20th centuries, there was no public or school transportation across most of the United States. In rural areas, the one-room schools were meant to serve children who lived within a four- or five-mile radius. Most children walked to school, oftentimes opening several gates and walking through fields.
This was the case for Arvella Pitsenbarger Blair, who lived at the Russell and Verona Pitsenbarger homestead, near the Propst Schoolhouse on Capito Road. She lived very close to the Propst one-room school. However, when it came time for her to attend a school of higher learning, she would walk from her home, passing by the homes of Charlie and Jenny Pitsenbarger, Fred and Myrtle Propst, where she would pick up Charles Linaburg, then on to Bead Mitchell’s before catching the bus on the Lower Thorn Road and then to Franklin High School in Franklin. This walk to catch the bus was about 4-5 miles (one way)!
Saturday was a lovely day for Arvella and her son, Tom Blair, to retrace, one more time, those steps of walking to catch the school bus. Her husband, Charles, waited for her at the low water bridge while the two engaged with this task. After retracing those steps of long ago, they stopped to visit a former neighbor, Jesse C. Propst, before returning to their Bridgewater, Virginia, home.
It is interesting to note that both Charles Linaburg and Arvella Blair were valedictorians of their respective classes at the Franklin High School. Both were former students of the Propst School. The first, old log Propst schoolhouse was built sometime after the Civil War. Then, on April 27, 1912, John and Polly Pitsenbarger deeded one-fourth acre for a schoolhouse in the Franklin District, and a new school was built. Some known teachers, according to the late Johnny Arvin Dahmer, were Claude Mitchell, Arthur Eye, Benny Eye, John Dahmer, Pierce Mitchell, Dona Propst, Guy Propst, John Boggs, John Puffenbarger, Virginia Puffenbarger, Paul Mitchell, Catherine Eye, Stanley Eye, Ernest Hedrick, Arthur Hahn and Flora Mitchell. This school closed in February 1944, with seven scholars: Curtis and Frankie Mitchell, Arvella Pitsenbarger, Harley, Stanley and Velma Propst and Eugene Rader, with Claude Mitchell being the last teacher.
Quite a lot of changes have taken place since Arvella walked those many miles. Students living in that era had a very active lifestyle, and had no threat of obesity in their adolescence age. They all had chores which were added responsibilities to their daily agenda,
So, there is truth to “Back in my day, we walked to school uphill, both ways…in the snow!” Children of today have a difficult time wrapping their arms around this fact, when in fact there was a time when this actually did take place all over Pendleton County.
Do children today have a better life? That is the reader’s decision.
Life’s little instructions to make one’s day more positive include the following:
- Be alert for opportunities to show praise and appreciation.
- Cherish one’s children for what they are, not for what one would like them to be.
- Don’t make the same mistake twice.
- Steer clear of restaurants that rotate.
- Respond promptly to R.S.V.P. invitations. If there’s a phone number call, if not write a note.
The week ended on a happy note with the weather being comfortable, hosting cloudless skies of blue. Leaves have begun to fall, skittering along the roadways as the winds blow their autumn breath. Many folks have placed autumn and Halloween decorations. For the motorist, this is very pleasing.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” —Mandy Hale
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” — L.M. Montgomery
“When someone asks if you’d like cake or pie, why not say you want cake and pie.” — Lisa Loeb
“Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.” — Terry Pratchett
Life seems to be more comfortable by the fireside to hear the “Talk of the Grove.”
The Sugar Grove Lions Club and the VFW are preparing to sell BBQ chicken this coming Saturday. Be sure to come early.
Marleta Wimer was a visitor of her mother, Rosalee Grogg.
Cara, Brandon, Macie, Carson and Carly Mitchell attended Lacy Moyers’ funeral Oct. 3 in Lynchburg, Virginia.
This week’s clickety-clacks for the chin waggers are as follows:
- A teaspoon of honey is the entire life’s hard work of 12 bees.
- The finest Panama hats come from Ecuador and Colombia and take several months to make.
- It snows more in the mountains of California than it does at the North Pole.
- The average one-dollar bill wears out in less than one year.
- The great pyramid of Khufu in Egypt covers 13.1 acres.
The remainder of the October birthdays are as follows: Jessica Parker, Sharon Crider and Tonya Simon, 17th, Jenny Rodgers, Ruth Nelson, Terry Godfrey and Dewayne Borror, 18th; Betty Lou McGahey and Kenneth Marsh, 19th; Vonda Borror and Karen Schulz, 21st, Rosalee Grogg and Angie Propst, 23rd, Shelby Bible, 24th, Logan Fisher, 27th, Teresa Bowers and Jim Brown, 28th, Mike Simmons, 29th, Dottie Michell, 30th, Sue Sponaugle and Debbie Propst, 30th; and Judy Rexrode, 31st.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Charles Anderson, the Lonnie Arbaugh family, Lynn Beatty, Jack Bennett, the Browning Boggs family, Bill Brackman, Jeff Evick, the Lee Roy Evick family, Ina Evick, Dan and Margaret Ferrell, Ron Gilkeson, Lola Graham, Marlene Harman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Starr Hedrick, Gary and Jackie Hills, Virgil Homan, Jr., Charlee Marie Hoover, Keith Hoover, Lorena Hoover, Myrtle Hoover, Enos Horst, Doris Hull, Bob and Cynthia Hurry, Alice Johnson, Kim Kline, Richard Judy, Melissa Lambert, Robin and Kitty Lambert, Robert Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Betty Mallow, Roger and Skip Mallow, Yvonne Marsh, Neil McLaughlin, Naomi Michael, Gloria Moats, Joe Moats, Lincoln Moore, Ernie Morgan, Shelby Morrison, Aaron Nelson, Ken and Ruth Nelson, Bennie Nesselrodt, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Alda Propst, Betty Lou Propst, Betty Shay Propst, Kathy Propst, Sheldon Propst, Verla Puffenbarger, Pam Rexrode, Donna Ruddle, the Estyl Shreve family, Annie Simmons, Barbara Simmons, Davey Simmons, Erin Simmons, Eva Simmons, Robbie Sites, Ona Smith, Stanna Smith, Patricia Swecker, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, Jack Vogel, Ron White, Judy Williams, Larry Wimer and Junior Wimer.