July 31, 2014
When I was in first grade, we had to live part of the year in eastern Washington where my stepfather was working. I of course remember not wanting to go, as new seemed a little scary.
So I went from a traditional kindergarten classroom to a one room school house. It was first through sixth grade, all in one room learning. We all learned together and played together. The older kids helped us with some of the harder subject matter, and the younger kids brought playfulness. We ran to the apple tree down the road for PE. We took field trips into the woods to gather leaves and learn. And this was all accomplished by one teacher and one assistant teacher. Looking back I realize what an amazing feat this was. Ten years ago, I found myself in that part of Washington. I decided I wanted to see if the schoolhouse was still standing. I wanted to see if it looked like my memory. I wanted to see if the front steps were as tall as I remember and if the basement was as scary as it felt. After a little research, I learned that the schoolhouse did still exist, but they had raised and moved it. It was now one story, yet it still stood. Someone thought it was important enough to save. One room school houses were a dying institution so they were preserving the history. Many years later, a few of the people I had been in school with tried to find all of us and create a social media group. It was amazing to me that our time there had been enough to bind many of us. That so many of us joined the group to see how the others had fared and share memories. This one room made quite an impact on all of us. I remember going back to my regular school towards the end of that year. It felt so different to be in a classroom of kids my own age instead of having a mix. Even then, I seemed to understand what a gift that year had been. It had made my reading and arithmetic level at the higher end of my class. One room schoolhouses used to be prominent in America, and I now understand I got to experience that little part of a dying history, and the gifts it gave me.
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