Taking a frontal view of the Alamo style bell-towered school house, our first and second grade classroom was on the left side of the double door entrance. Each morning all classes were lined up, single file, outside the back entrance (not the front) and were instructed to march into the classroom, each student going directly to his or her assigned desk. While our teacher, Mrs. Leatherwood Wier, was conducting a first grade class, the second grade students were instructed to work on assigned lessons and, vice versa, the same was true when she was conducting a second grade class. There was no talking, loud-mouthing, or any type of disruptive actions by any student.
When we entered first grade there was no indoor plumbing; instead there was the boys’ six-holer on the east side of the school ground and the same for the girls on the west end of the school ground. One day at lunchtime, early in our first-grade school year, some of us girls were talking and one said, “I wonder what it looks like inside the boys’ toilet.” And I, being brazen, said, “I’ll go ask Mrs. Wier if we can go down there and look inside.” So I go up to Mrs. Weir and I say, “Mrs. Wier, may we go down and look on the inside of the boys’ toilet?” I’m sure she had to contain her laughter at such a dumb request, but she just said, “Little girls don’t go into boys’ toilets.”
In each room there was a huge round, wood burning stove; anyone seated nearby was too hot, while those further away were cold. Upon our arrival at school on cold winter mornings, some neighbor man had built a fire in the four-foot monster. (Two different men who built those fires were Wilburn Armstrong and Clarence Smith.)
It was when I was in the first or second grade (ca. 1936/37) that our Superintendent, Carl Buckner, heard that a Cavalry unit from Fort Hood was coming through Blanco en route to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, so he announced that the whole student body and faculty would march down to the highway (now known as 281) and view the military parade. Now this was the first time I had ever seen a soldier (remember, no TV then) and certainly had never seen one riding a horse, bumping his fanny up and down while riding that horse. It was a mystery to me why a man, in his good senses, deliberately would subject his rear end to such harsh treatment.
Anyway, the whole parade was a most memorable occasion, with all of us standing there on both sides of the highway, watching, spellbound, as row after row of mounted soldiers, dressed in their World War I uniforms, paraded before us. Following behind the bouncing soldiers were prancing horses, their harnesses and equipment musically clanking while they pulled either a caisson and/or a big gun.
In recent years, I was astonished to learn from Dee Lee Triesch that, because he came from a family where German was the language spoken at home, it was from yours truly and Jean Evans that he learned to speak English in the first grade. Now I know I was a loud mouth but Jean was always a quiet student. (Perhaps she helped Dee Lee with his written assignments.)
Additionally, Lee Smith told Jean and me that it was with our help that he attained the high school level before leaving school for the military during World War II, although I do not recall ever helping him with his school work.
So, people, although you may not be aware of it at the time, you may be helping a struggling student get through a class, or an assignment. You may be assisting him or her, unknowingly, in graduating from high school.
Another incident occurred when I was in the first grade: At lunchtime Vira and Lira Reeves, Jean Evans and I were playing on a huge crooked live oak log, the shape of which enabled us to seesaw up and down thereon. The rub came when my foot slipped through a big knot hole which left my foot on the ground and the weight of the log pounding up and down on the top of my foot. Now the girls thought my crying out was just my laughter with joy. Finally gaining their attention, they stopped seesawing and managed to carry me, packsaddle style, back to the classroom. Using the crutch that Dad made for me, I was able to attend school, never missing one single day. (This diligent attendance record lasted until I graduated from Blanco High School in 1945, at which time I received a Perfect Attendance Certificate.)
Having finished the sixth grade in the old bell-towered building in 1943, the new High School, built by the WPA (we called them “We Piddle Around”) was nearing completion, so the following year our class, plus all those classes above us, moved into the new building located on the right side and in front of the old building.
Anyone who has a story or memories to share are encouraged to submit them to the Blanco Revival Committee, 814 11th Street, Blanco, Texas 78606. For more information call 830-833-4605.