From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the “Dick and Jane” books
I thought about back-to-school when Lyle and I were “up Morapos” on Tuesday to turn the cattle into the hay meadow part of the pasture. As we passed the Morapos School and teacherage (the little house where the teacher stayed), memories came flooding back of the days past when my siblings and I attended school there. I could almost smell the sagebrush and rabbit brush that had been cut back from the buildings as they were being readied for school.
That is one of my favorite memories of the start of school.
The school and teacherage are located on our family ranch property. Years ago, on those first fall days of school, our parents were often putting up second-cutting alfalfa right across the road from the school, and we could watch them work as we played outside at recess.
My sibings, Charlotte (Allum), Darlene (Blackford) and Duane (Osborn) all attended the Morapos one-room country school. Charlotte and I completed grades one through eight, and if memory serves so did Darlene, but Duane attended first grade and then transferred to Hamilton. The Morapos School shut down as a result of district consolidation.
A few months ago, Charlotte and her family, Duane and I sorted through a box of school books that we had used in our early years of school. In those years our parents apparently bought our school books because our names were in them. As I recall, depending on grade level, there were math, reading, health, social studies or geography, and penmanship books. We had workbooks too.
The books I remember the most were from the “Dick and Jane” series. The first pre-primer books were small books (of not a lot of pages) with simple stories about Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff and Spot. The stories repeated words such as “run,” “see” and “look.”
One of the books following these pre-primers was “Fun with Dick and Jane.” It was also one of the books I brought home from the box at the ranch so I got to read through it. The book included one hundred new words, in addition to the words in the first little books. The stories were all about fun with family, at the farm (with Grandfather and Grandmother), and with pets.
In one story, the family dog, Spot, chased a horse, some baby pigs and some red cows. (He would have been in trouble here at Pipi’s Pasture.) Spot learned his lesson when he tried to chase a big white hen and her chicks.
Another book, for about the same grade level, “Hello, David” dealt with social studies topics, especially differences between living in the country and city, and the difference between country and city schools. This book introduced characters other than Dick and Jane.
Oh, the wonderful memories of the country school of years ago!
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