My parents lived in the country west of Wakeeney, Trego County, Kansas. So for my first year of public school in 1928 I stayed with my grandparents (Mom's folks) near Trego Center, 9 miles south of Wakeeney. I remember one time Grandpa Koleber (pictured here with his wife and grandchildren) received a letter from his family still living in Russia (1928) and it told of life under the Bolsheviks. Grandpa was in tears reading that letter.
I was one of those kids who was raised in a German-speaking home, thus I had no inkling of the English language. You can imagine having to learn English upon entering public school. I went to a one room country school west of Trego Center, KS. Fortunately in those days, teachers often were only high school graduates that had a Teaching Certificate. My teacher was a local Deines lad, and his household was also a German speaking household as many Trego County farmers were at that time. But the byword was no German speaking on the school yard! I was told that wherever you see that American Flag, it is against the law to speak German. They implemented that where I went to school. Remember, right after World War One German families were somewhat ostracized. I also remember school always began with a salute to the flag and then the teacher would have a Bible reading before we took up our lessons. This was an every morning routine. And that was "Liberty School", a government public school. We also had a framed picture on the school house wall of George Washington and were taught who he was.
In those days, in front of the teacher's desk was a bench, and when it was time for a particular grade class, the kids came forward to that bench in front of the teacher. There might be only three kids in a class.
Some kids came to school on horseback, so they had hay in a trough on the school yard. My Grandparents had two of their sons still going to elementary school, so we walked cross county to school. It was only a little over a mile. Snow, rain, or shine, we walked. Those boys had set traps by a draw bank in those pastures, so they checked their traps on the way to school to see if they had caught a skunk. Once in awhile, kids came to school and their clothing smelled of skunk. All farm boys trapped and sold the furs. In those days, the courthouse paid a bounty for the ears only of coyotes. Yep, those were the days.
Thanks for listening.