(shown here with her mom)
1. When and where did you attend elementary school, Grammy?
I went to St. Mary's School in Wheeling, West Virginia. I was six years old in 1910 when I started.
2. Which grades were offered in your elementary school?
The grades were from one to eight.
3. What were the hours?
And the hours were 9 to 3:30 in the afternoon with one hour for lunch.
4. How did children get to and from school?
I walked! From here to school everyday from my home. Oh, it was about half a mile.
5. How did girls and boys dress for school?
Well, the girls wore dresses like slips with white aprons over them. And the boys, they wore just plain shirts and pants. No uniforms.
6. Approximately how many children were in each class?
I would say about 40 - 45 in each room.
7. Did you have the same teacher or a different teacher each year?
We had one teacher and she was a nun. We had a different teachers every year.
8. Tell me how the children were disciplined.
How you were disciplined...You were set in a corner as a dunce. That was your one punishment. And if your punishment required more than that, then you were brought up front. You would put your hands out. Your teacher would take a ruler and she would slap you across the hands. Maybe five slaps, maybe ten slaps and then sent back to the corner. Then sent back to the corner as a dunce until your time was up. That would be maybe for a half hour, maybe for an hour. It depends on how much you did or how bad you were.
9. Tell me about your principal. Did he or she mix in with the students?
No. No. The principal had to teach herself one class. Then she had some extra help in office. When school was out, the principal would go the office and take care of what was needed there.
10. Which subjects were taught?
The same as you have today. We had general subjects. Religion, arithmetic, spelling and English. My favorite subject was reading a map. I loved reading a map. Geography. Geography was my special subject.
11. Did you get to go on any field trips?
No. When I went to school there were no field trips. We just went out on the playground and that was as far as we got away from school.
12. Did the classrooms have any pets?
13. What kind of writing materials did you use?
We used pencils, then later as we got into higher grades we used a pen. We had the Palmer Method writing. We tried at the end of year to get a reward for our writing. That was thing your Grammy could never achieve. I tried three times to take the course of Palmer method and my writing never passed the test to get a prize. I never did.
14. What did the school building, classrooms and desks look like?
It was a brick building. Two stories high. Always the first floor would be the lower grades and on the second floor would be the higher grades. The classrooms would be nice bright rooms. They would be large rooms with lots of windows and very bright...because as you know, they would be very large classes. The desks were just average wooden desks, one after the other. As a rule there was about about 50 of them in a room.
15. Did you have as much stuff (artwork, posters, etc.) on the wall as we do?
The teacher would hang our papers up on the wall for inspection and something interesting. But, nothing else.
16. Did you have textbooks and what were they like?
Yes, we would have to buy our textbooks. We would buy them when school started in September. They looked very much like we have today. A lot of them would have paperbacks, but most of them had heavier backs. We could only write in the composition books.
17. What was the grading system?
We had both. The lower grades was A, B, C letters and the upper grades used numbers.
18. Did you have any projects like we do at home?
Yes, definitely. Depending on your grade you always homework and you had to study. But, as you went on you had projects.
19. How were the parents involved in school?
The parents were not involved too much. As a rule, the parents raised very large families and they were very busy at home. The parents didn't do much volunteering in those days.
20. How were the children with disabilities treated?
Very few children with disabilities. I don't even remember in our school.
21. What were the lunches like? Was there a cafeteria and what did the children pack for lunch?
There was no cafeteria. You would have to pack your own lunch at home and bring it to school. A sandwich and an apple. An orange was a rare treat in those days, because you only had oranges around Christmas time. And homemade cookies!
22. What did you play at recess time?
We played a lot of hopscotch and a lot of ball. Because we were out in the yard and we had a limited amount of space, there wasn't too much room to throw the balls because you would break a window.
23. What is your worst memory and what is your fondest memory of grade school ?
My fondest memory... I always liked it when I was in the plays. They would teach us singing and dancing. One play particularly, I remember. I was an Irish girl. We got up on the stage and got to dance and sing. The one outstanding musical was the "Coming Through the Rye"
The worst memory was the day our school burned down! It burned clear to the ground and they had to close the school. That was the end of that school. That was the seventh grade.
One of my worst memories was one day I misbehaved and I got five smacks across my right hand with a ruler. I still remember that. I was embarrassed because it was up in front of the class. I was embarrassed, but it HURT! I got five smacks because I disobeyed.
24. You were in school when the Great War, World War One started. Did that effect you? Were you far away from the war?
It was very bad. But, I was young and that doesn't leave any particular memories. Yes, I was far away, nowhere near. At that age you don't realize how far or near something was. It was safe, very safe for me.
Please listen to more stories by my Great Grammy. Press the microphone button! You can listen to stories about her first communion, parades, peanuts and iceballs.