Friday, May 26, 2006

I Remember by Opal (Myer) Collicott

Rural Schooling in Nebraska
As A Pupil
Opal (Myer) Collicott
Haigler, Nebraska
District # 42 School
This school was located 4 miles east of Haigler to Green Railroad Crossing, 1½ miles north and one mile east.

The school was a good two mile walk from home. We lived on the C. L. Will farm six miles east of Haigler. Mrs. Will was a niece of my father, James L, Myer. The farm is now owned and farmed by Richard and Paula Bush.

One thing I recall vividly from my rural school days as a pupil was the blizzard of 1931, which was one of the most violent blizzards in a decade. Nebraska weather - if you don’t like it, wait awhile and it will change - such was the case on this particular day.

It was a very cold, but beautiful morning. The atmosphere was heavy with moisture but was practically still. My eldest sister Evelyn (Myer) Creach was teacher of the school. My youngest brother Gerald was a first grader. He and sister Grace had gone to school earlier that morning with Evelyn, leaving my older sister Velma and myself to come later. I was in the fifth grade.

Shortly after crossing the Republican river bridge and walking past the Oren Bush residence, the wind suddenly came up and snowflakes began falling so thick and fast that our view of the road path through the pasture became invisible and we were lost as to direction so we followed the fence rows hoping we would reach the school house. Snow became deeper and deeper. The strong wind with the bitter cold cut the flesh on my legs.

We knew that if and when we reached the school there would be a warm fire and a warm welcome, so with this thought in mind, we two trudged on. At long last the fence posts led us to the school house. How happy we were to arrive at school that morning.

Evelyn bathed my legs with cold water to take out the frost from them, and our hands were rubbed with snow, The Myer children were the only ones in school that day.

The storm increased in intensity as the day progressed and by noon, Evelyn decided we would be spending the night so we were advised to save part of our lunch for supper.

My bed for the night was under the sand table. Velma and Grace were on the floor by the pot bellied stove. Gerald slept in the sand table as he was the youngest. We used the textbooks and wrapped them with towels for our pillows. We used our coats to cover us. The fire was kept burning through the night with coal and cobs to help keep us warm.

The following day towards noon Frank Allan, who lived a short distance south of the school, brought soup for our dinner. Later towards evening my dad, with the help of our neighbor, Oren Bush, came after us with the team and wagon. The names of the horses were Dick and Maud. Mother had put in quilts, which we used to cover the top of wagon to make it warmer for us. There were drifts that were too deep for the horses.

--Written about 1976

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