Going to School as Winnie.
Life in the 1880's
Life in the 1880's for a kid was filled
with interesting things to do. Going to school was a privilege that few
children had. Working on the farm was necessary in order to survive and
have enough food and money to live. Technology was poor as we know it today.
The only source of light was kerosene lamps and fire. Yes, life was a lot
different for a kid during this time.
Homes were small, with no electricity or indoor
plumbing. The only bathroom was outside called an outhouse. Children
had to share beds. Most families had both parents living together.
Breakfast usually consisted of bacon, corn mush and milk. After breakfast,
they would go out to do the morning chores, like feeding the chickens,
milking the cow and other farm duties. The kids had to dress in fancy, uncomfortable
clothes that were layered and hot, because Mothers were afraid of
the kids catching a chill. If someone got sick, they would go in to town
and fetch the Doctor. When the Doctor finally arrived, the person was usually
so sick that they could not be cured. Most women, therefore, learned natural
remedies for treating illnesses. Then it was off to school, usually on foot.
The children had to walk from a few feet up to 5 miles to get to school.
They went to school 6 days and Sunday was their only day off. Of course,
this day was spent at church and relaxing with their family.
Most schools were wooden and usually painted white,
with a big, old bell on the top. Schools had outside bathrooms. Only
a few schools had playground equipment. All schools had a water source
and many times neighbors supplied the water. The floors were oiled to
preserve the wood. Most schools were heated by a wood burning stove. The
Dads helped chop the wood for the school. Almost all of the teachers were
female, and she must be unmarried. During recess, the kids would go outside
and play marbles, jump rope, hopscotch and hoops. For lunch, kids
carried their lunch pails or sacks. Lunch was usually a sandwich or leftover
breakfast. Kids would swap food then just like we do today. Some teachers
paid kids to do simple chores like fetching water or wood for the fire.
Older kids helped younger kids with homework. For discipline, the kids
would get paddled by their teacher. Teachers were respected for their
work. The teachers had a lot of rules. For example, if a kid was found
fighting or saying a profane word, they would stay in the closet for an
hour. Also, if they were late for school, they had to stay in at recess.
If they threw paper on the floor, they had to stay after school to sweep
the floor. Education was free. They had a few textbooks that were mostly
Arithmetic books, and paper, but mostly they used slates and teachers
used blackboards. Children received report cards. Usually, only white
children went to school.