Schools Days In Mendon —
I, Alice Smith, started school in 1917 in the red brick schoolhouse in Mendon, Utah. The statements I make here are some of the memories of the happy times and the precious associations with the people mentioned.
The entrance to the schoolyard through the revolving gate. The “little room” first and second grade. Jennie Richards the teacher. The opening of school each morning with her expressive reading of a chapter of the “Wizard of Oz.” Her method of teaching how to tell the time of day by a large clock drawn of the blackboard with paper hands on it. The “middle room” third, forth and fifth grades. Adelia Lemmon, teacher of third grade a small woman with glasses that clipped on the bridge of her nose. A very thorough teacher, introducing me into the world of study as “times tables.”
Miss Hughes, (Gladys Hughes Nelson) teacher of fourth and fifth grades. Further I went into the world of study. Memorizing, “Under The Spreading Chestnut Tree,” and “The Wreck Of The Hesperus.” Making paper flowers with Fern Buist for school plays, trips to Gitten’s Lake, gathering wild flowers, games of Danish ball played in the southwest corner of the school lot. “Ginny,” games played in front of the schoolhouse, my favorite pastime.
Eventually the installation of modern pluming provided one inside “girl room.” When weather permitted, running and walking approximately nine blocks for noon lunch at home. Walking through the “church square” after school with a special friend, Fawn Stauffer who later became one of my favorite sisters-in-law. “Big room,” sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Henry G. Hughes the teacher. Memorizing the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” and the “Gettysburg Address” Watching him write exams on the blackboard with his right hand until it tired then changing to his left hand which he used equally as well. Hotly contested “marble games” which were played on the south side of the rock part of the building. Girls gathering around the piano at recess to hear Edna Sorensen play, a talent she gave so generously. When the classes were settled down to study, seeing him relax with his feet perched high on the desk and with the pen point reversed in the holder, proceed to remove excess wax from his ears. Speed tests in reading, speed tests in addition. Being chosen to clean out the library to get out of an afternoon of schoolwork. His standing by your desk very quietly and without saying a word, conveying to you the message that you better shape up. Cleaning blackboard erasers on the iron grill in front of the school house and making the job last as long as possible. The bell on the door that Mr. Hughes would ring, morning, noon, recess and late afternoon, to collect and release the thundering head.
One of my most happy and exciting memories was when Henry G. Hughes called me to be valedictorian of my class. The exercises were held in the old rock chapel, on the church square in May 1925. The rock chapel has long since gone the way of old buildings. The graduates were Fern Buist, Veda Sorensen, Melba Sorensen, Artice Bird, Grace Reid, Luetta Hiibner, Ivan Barrett, Martell Larsen and myself (Alice Smith). As a tribute to our teachers some of whom aren’t with us (1965) and especially to Henry G. Hughes who was our principal as well as our teacher. My husband, Henry C. Stauffer, (Ree) and I feel that the following lines written by Annie Pike Greenwood are appropriate.
Come lay his books and papers by,
He shall not need them more.
The ink shall dry upon his pen
So softly close the door.
His tired head with locks of white
And like the winters sun
Hath lain to peaceful rest tonite
The Teachers work is done.
His work is done, no care tonite
His tranquil rest shall break
Sweet dreams and with the morning light,
On other shores shall wake.
His noble thoughts. His wise appeal
His works that battles won
But God doth know the lose we feel
The Teachers work is done.
We feel it, while we miss the hand
That made us brave to bear,
Perchance in that near touching land
His work did wait him there.
Perchance, when death its change hath wrought.
And this brief race is run
His voice again shall teach
Who thought the teachers work was done!
— Alice Smith Stauffer