From Pipi’s Pasture: More memories of Morapos School
Now that I’m grown up, I wish that, when I was in the seventh or eighth grade, I had kept a diary of my days spent as a pupil at the Morapos School. I have forgotten so much! There would have been so many more memories to share.
I don’t remember the old Morapos School. It was a log building that stood not far from the new school that was built when I was perhaps a third- or fourth-grader (a guess). After the new stucco school was built, the old one was torn down and hauled away. I attended first and second grade in the old building.
I remember how the classroom of the new building was organized. The teacher’s desk and blackboard were in the front of the room. The recitation bench sat off to one side. A row of windows was on the south side. A heating stove and some bookshelves were on the north side. In between were desks. At first there were older-type desks — the kind that could be attached to the floor — with shelves under the desk tops for storing supplies. Ink wells were built into the desk tops.
Later on we got more modern desks with tops that lifted up so that the space underneath could be used to store pencils, crayons, books, and tablets. We did all of our work, except for “recitation” time at our desks.
I think that we probably left our workbooks, or sheets taken from the workbooks, with our teacher so she could grade them for the next day. When she wasn’t helping a pupil at the recitation bench, the teacher walked around and helped us with our assignments so that we got individualized attention. I remember having problems learning how to tell time. I never was very good at math.
I don’t remember completing tests, but we must have had some, especially in spelling and math. In the spring we completed achievement tests, handed out by the county superintendent of schools. These were scored and the results given to our parents. We had report cards, too.
The only discipline problems probably involved too much talking when we were supposed to be working. There was no dunce cap, and nobody ever had to stand in the corner. The only bullying involved me — when I was in the first grade. For some reason, one of the older boys picked on me, and most of the bullying probably took place on the walk to and from school. The boy brought an unfriendly dog to school with him, and he threatened to sic the dog on me. One day, Dad caught up with the boy and advised him what might happen if he followed through with his threat. Things may have been easier after that. Regrettably, this is my only memory of first grade.
When the weather permitted, we went outdoors during recess. We played on the swings and slide or played cowboys and Indians in the trees that surrounded the school. If there were enough kids we played ball. In the winter we built snow forts and had snowball fights, and then our wet coats and mittens were hung to dry by the heater in the classroom.
The Morapos School still stands on our family’s ranch property.
I spent this past Saturday morning preparing for Sunday’s lunch branding — at least what I could get done early. I cooked pasta and boiled eggs. I made a gelatin salad. I decided to bake a banana cake, a family favorite, for dessert.