Scholarly Times in the Heart of the Universe
We trudged down the road and up the big hill
Five times a week to the book-learning mill
Where teacher and pupils got the job done
At Lone Star School in District 21.
We sustained a momentum at our school
And disdained exception to the good rule.
Fixed upon our work and watching our fun
Were keen eyes of Lincoln and Washington.
A real education ensued because
Of the great instructor Miss Margie was
With every admirable feature
Of an artist, musician, and teacher.
High upon the flagpole, Old Glory flew
Forty-eight proud stars on her patch of blue.
We pledged each day in reverent manner
Allegiance to that bright and bold banner.
New songs were always pleasant surprises
During our opening exercises
When Miss Margie lent vocal expertise
To the tunes she played on piano keys.
We'd sing "Go Tell Aunt Rhody," "Old Black Joe,"
"Little Liza Jane," or "Long, Long Ago,"
Then "Home On The Range" with "Oh, Susannah"
Or "Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinah."
Which musical session did we never
Do "Way Down Upon the Swanee River"
Nor look away to "Dixieland" each day
At "My Old Kentucky Home" far away?
Completing assignments was not all fun;
But quicker we started, sooner got done.
True yearning for learning was just the trick
With reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Rarely could I resist sketching faces
On assignment papers' unused spaces --
Compelled yet content, scarcely fighting-mad,
Making most of my Big Chief writing pad.
Literature of choice, fancy to plain:
Encyclopedia or "Dick and Jane."
Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, Black Beauty
Served to fulfill our book reading duty.
We absorbed those important facts so true
And would spell all the hardest words we knew.
We could name most states on the flip-chart map
And never wore a pointed dunce's cap.
Naturally bonded in friendships made,
At recess and lunch hour we ran and played,
Chased by the 'Bear' -- one of the schoolyard games
Out of many sporting fanciful names:
Fruit Basket Upset -- Fox And Geese -- Blackman
Drop The Handkerchief -- Simon Says (We Can)
King On The Mountain -- May I? -- Red Rover
Work-Up Baseball -- Hide And Seek -- Andy Over
We painted with our fingers, and then once
Carved Ivory soap into elephants.
Small mountains were built of paper mache
And puppet heads shaped from modeling clay.
We saw how prettily hot sulphur glows
While its sharp odors irritate the nose.
Hydrochloric acid splashed on limestone
Made one big sizzle to be left alone.
We found the reason a compass points north
And why we all celebrate July 4th.
With a magnifying glass we would learn
How focused sunbeams can make paper burn.
Sometimes our ignorance made us stumble --
An object lesson to keep us humble.
Then we'd pick the right spirit and letter
That would change our crude ways for the better.
We traded our portraits by photograph,
Played "It's In The Book" on the phonograph,
Knew that Perry Como said "Hoop Dee Doo"
And Bing Crosby believed the night turns blue.
Soon those wind-blown snow storms with drifts immense
Would cover posts at the boundary fence
And show the pathways where cottontails go
With footprint evidence on fresh new snow.
Holiday music stirred Santa Claus talk!
Miss Margie developed (with colored chalk
On all the blackboards) great biblical scenes
With the loving spirit that Christmas means.
"Away in the Manger" and "Silent Night"
And "O, Come All Ye Faithful" were just right!
"O, Little Town of Bethlehem" withstood
Well in our fair "White Christmas" neighborhood.
We heard "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear,"
And then we'd "Deck The Halls" for one more year.
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" -- we knew
"Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" had come through.
What a comforting sensation to see
Bright decorations on the Christmas tree!
Such a grand combination made for a
Warm ambience and magical aura.
Students learned pieces in special time spent
Practicing skits for our school to present
A Christmas program one December night
When adult approval relieved stage fright.
The evening of our celebration
Underscored that divine affirmation
Which shows a just morality belongs
In our schools and our stories and our songs.
Who brought some foil for the Christmas tree star?
Who tossed a sparrow in their neighbor's car?
Who found that beautiful Christmas candle?
Whose tongue stuck to the water pump handle?
Some very nice girls and well-behaved boys
Got candy and gifts of shiny new toys
Or gloves or a doll or a ball-point pen
Just because Christmas had come once again.
Continuous trickling of melting snow
Coursed down the slopes into Johnson Creek's flow,
And nature delivered her springtime scene
With trees and pastures emerging in green.
Strong interscholastic competition
Measured effectiveness of our mission
While demonstrating our good work and play
Way up at Burchard on Rural School Day.
We studied those text books and tried our best,
Diligently working to pass each test;
And we braced ourselves to accept our fate,
Hoping that in May we would graduate.
The style of those times in long ago years
Had words once spoken that none today hears
And such behavior we nevermore see
That produced the types we turned out to be.
Such wonderful days are hard to forget
With lessons we learned and people we met.
Now we've each gone on our separate way.
That dear old schoolhouse stands empty today.