From Pipi’s Pasture: School memories

Diane Prather
Diane Prather

This week, we have been moving cattle from Pipi’s Pasture to summer pasture, and along the way we pass the Morapos School. As we pass by the school building, I think about those school days of long ago. As I wrote in last week’s column, I have a hard time remembering all the teachers and the kids that went to school there by years. However, I do remember some things about our school days.

For example, I remember that we walked to school. It is just down the road from the ranch house. We girls always wore dresses, so in the winter, Mom had us wear long stockings that we hated and then bundled us into snowpants, coats, hats and gloves. We wore the kind of boots that fit over shoes. Sometimes Mom had us wear the kind of boots that buckled in front like the men wore, and we were mortified. None of the other kids wore them. Anyway, it took forever to get dressed and undressed!

When the road was drifted with snow, or if there were cows out on the road and we were scared, Dad took us to school on horseback. Sometimes we might have ridden on the feed sled. I can’t remember for sure.

When the snow started to melt in the spring and there were dry patches on the road, we took off our boots on the way home. Boy, did our feet feel light. It was like walking on air.

I also remember coming home after school. First, we changed our clothes because we wore our school clothes more than one day. We didn’t have a washer and dryer in those days; in fact, we didn’t even have electricity in the earlier years. Then we got a snack. Sometimes there was bread fresh out of the oven — perhaps Mom timed it that way — that we ate hot with butter dripping onto our fingers, or other times the bread was slathered with apple butter. After the snack it was time to do chores. In the fall, it meant going out in the pasture to bring in the milk cow.

After school, we also cleaned out our lunch boxes. For some reason, I remember the smells of those lunch boxes that had been closed up after lunch — smells of apple cores and banana peels and leftover pieces of sandwiches in wax paper.

Mom bought special supplies for our school lunches and stored them in a cupboard. Nobody was allowed to get into them. Our lunches consisted of sandwiches made with store-bought bread — otherwise we ate homemade bread — and something like potted meat mixed with chopped-up pickles and eggs and mayonnaise. We had cookies, too, usually store-bought, the most memorable being the white, pink and brown wafer cookies. If we had a Thermos in our lunch box, we took milk or sometimes soup.

We packed everything in lunch boxes, decorative metal boxes that we bought each fall when we picked up school supplies. Cowboy stars were popular in those days so their pictures were often on the boxes. I was crazy about Gene Autry, and my sister, Charlotte, liked Roy Rogers. I can’t remember Darlene’s favorite star.

In good weather, we probably ate our lunches outdoors, but during the winter we ate at our desks. One year, the mothers decided to serve hot lunch and took turns bringing it to school at noon. I don’t think it lasted very long; the idea probably turned out to be a bit ambitious.

It will be fun to reminisce with other former country school students at the Country School Reunion that will be held at the covered picnic area June 13 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig. Registration will begin at

11 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. Donations to help cover lunch and other expenses will be appreciated. Bring copies of pictures and information about schools. Pictures will be taken at the reunion. Anyone interested in the country school is welcome to attend.

See you there!

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