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Interview

Mary Scarlett Jones

11/9/03

Conducted by Joe Liles

Part 6

 

There was another family that moved near here.  They were Scurlocks, and they were part Indian.  They believed in roots.  Something happened to Mr. Scurlott’s horse, and he thought that somebody had put a spell on him.  They lived down that way on Fish Dam Road, going towards Durham.

 

We walked two or three miles to school.  It was kind of heartbreaking at times.  You would see the white kids riding the school bus, making fun of us walking.  We couldn’t do anything about that.  That was kind of horrible.  We would stay off the road as best we could.  On University Station, we had a road we would walk through by Hermon Church.  We would go by that cemetery and then go by the railroad, and we’d turn to the right from there to Wardsville School.  It was a one room school.

 

The first teacher I remember was Miss Annie Rincher.  She lived near Hillsborough.  There was a train that come down from there.  There were some homes near the school and sometimes the teachers would board with some of the parents of the students so they wouldn’t have so far to walk to the school.  There was another teacher, Miss Maimie Latta.  And then, later on, Jim Kirkland had a store right by the railroad.  His wife, she was a teacher, Mary Ellen Kirkland.  She taught school there for a while. 

 

There was one teacher for everybody.  There wasn’t all that many children.  It seems like there were desks that two could sit in a desk together, two in front and two behind.  There were not over 24 to 25 children all together.  We had a pot belly stove to heat that one room.  The boys, they would cut wood and bring the wood in and keep the school house warm. 

 

We had what we called the primer until the seventh grade.  We did most of our writing with a pencil in our tablet.  We would very seldom tear the pages out.  The teacher would start with the young ones and work her way up.  We had a big blackboard.  The young ones would be a least six years old because they had so far to walk to school.  It was the primer and then the first grade.  The primer students used the primer book to learn their alphabet.  It had simple words like cat and rat and so forth.  You see, some of the parents would send the young ones to school with the older ones even if they were too young for first grade.  It was to get them out of the house.  But they had to mind the teacher anyway, even if they weren’t studying there.  They had to sit there and be quiet. 

 

For lunch at school, we would bring our own.  Sometimes we would have a piece of side meat.  We always had plenty of dried fruit, plenty of canned fruit.  We kids always wanted something sweet.  If they would just give us a biscuit and put some butter and preserves in it, we were happy with that.  I remember having that more than anything else because my mother always had preserves.  Most of the time, we had our lunch in little brown paper bags.  People weren’t too particular about what they wrapped the children’s lunch in.  I am not sure but what we didn’t have some newspaper sometimes.  The older girls would carry the lunch for the girls, and the boys would carry the boy’s. 

 

For entertainment at recess, the girls would learn how to shoot marbles with the boys.  And the boys, they had some kind of a hoop.  I don’t remember what they got it off of, a barrel or what not.  They would roll the hoop with a forked stick and keep that hoop going the right way.  We girls would learn how to do the same thing the boys did.  We didn’t have anything we could ride, unless we would pull down a bush and get on that old bush and ride.  We would play games like “All Around the Mulberry Bush,” and we would sing songs like we learned in school.

 

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