School Days of My Grandmother, Zelma Eliza Day Lloyd (1904-1997)

School Days of My Grandmother, Zelma Eliza Day Lloyd (1904-1997)


This oral history was obtained from Zelma in 1987, as part of an elementary school class project to find out what school days were like for grandparents. Zelma was 83 years old at the time of this interview.

Stories about School Days of My Grandmother, Zelma Eliza Day Lloyd (1904-1997)

    We learned the Star Spangled Banner and some poems for children.  We had an egotistical teacher and come Thanksgiving time he said, "What you kids thankful for?"  One little boy said, "I'm thankful we're not as stupid as the teachers think we are".  We all had a good laugh at that.

    We'd walk home after school and do all of our chores at night.  We just lived a simple life.  We didn't have much money or clothes, but none of us paid much attention to that. We went looking nice to school.

    I had some real choice friends that I walked to school with.  When we got tired of walking, we ran.  We hurried and most of the time we were there before anyone else.  We had some good teachers who tried their best to teach us.  It's very important for children to listen to the teachers and what they are saying.  It's important to grow up and take pleasure in school and in our learning.

    I milked seven cows in the morning and my mother always fixed a real good breakfast for us and we didn't have much dinner.  We took a lunch in a paper sack to school.

    As I said, my mother always fixed us a good breakfast and she had some potatoes and gravy and I took some to school one day in a bucket but when we opened it up at lunch time it tasted really awful.  Sometimes the kids would steal our lunch and we wouldn't have any at all.  It was just a different time.  We didn't have money then either.  I had a nickel on the Fourth of July each year till I was fourteen.

    Our school was real rewarding because we had our friends to walk back and forth to school with and we would come home and do the chores again.  It didn't matter in our home if the boys did the dishes or me cleaning out the cow corral.  We learned to do all the jobs there was to do and it has been beneficial in our life.

    I was out digging potatoes one time when I was eight years old and when I came back I was so tired I ate some bread and milk and knelt by the side of my bed to say my prayers and woke up towards morning still kneeling there, I was so tired.  I've been that tired many times in my life.

    We always walked two and one half miles going to school and back again.  We enjoyed finding the little bird nests as we walked along the way.  There were many things that were interesting.  We had many great friends that we enjoyed so much and still do.  Some have moved far away and some are dead now.  Makes me feel really bad because I enjoyed seeing friends I used to go to school with.

    I'd pack all my books home so I could study at night and by the time I'd get my chores done I'd be too tired to, and I'd pack them all back the next day.  I wished we could do those things over again.

    I remember a bunch of us went out the window one day at school and the teacher didn't much like that and the principal didn't either and after awhile we didn't like it, either.  There was a lot of home-made equipment for the children to play on at school, like swings and whirly-round things that the kids got hurt on and one day a guy came up and chopped down all the stuff cause his little girl got hurt real bad on it.

    Teachers could beat the kids up in those days.  One time a teacher was going to kick a boy and the boy jumped away from the stove and the teacher kicked his foot through the stove.  Teachers would sometimes break the ruler over the kid if they didn't mind very good and one day a kid was mad at the teacher and he sat there moving his lips and the teacher came down and about beat him to death.  My folks told me if I ever got a whipping in school I'd get another one when I got home.

    Seems like children want to get out of school in a hurry.  When they get out they're real lost and they wish the "good old school days" was back on again and they could still see their friends and relatives and have some of the same lessons and teachers that we remembered so well and we'd like to see them again.  We had reading, and writing, and rithmatic, and we all minded to the tune of the hickory stick.

    If the children knew how great some of their teachers were and how hard they work trying to teach them, they would really study hard because it benefits them when they grow up.  They won't stay kids all the time.  Someday some of them will be teachers, too.

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