Schools Days In Mendon —
I remember the red brick schoolhouse in Mendon, located across the street, west of the L. D. S. Church. In 1919, I was age ten and the schoolhouse age twenty-four. The grass and weeds in the schoolyard had succumbed to the heavy foot traffic it was exposed to. There was only gravel and topsoil. The hardwood floors in the halls and classrooms were oiled and clean at the start of the day. The classrooms were large and adequate with a teacher’s desk at the front and center of the room. Windows on one side of the room, a blackboard across the front and the student desks arranged in neat straight rows. The large pot bellied stoves were located in the corner of the room. The stoves were equipped with large guards to protect the children from getting burned.
In the old part of the building was built of rock located back of the newer red brick portion. I came into this room as a strange timed third grader. This room housed the third, fourth and fifth grades. Gladys Hughes was the teacher for these three grades. She spent her time with one grade while the other two studied. We had singing time and prayer together. Miss Hughes was kind and sympathetic, but firm in discipline. Miss Olive Sorensen taught the first and second grades in the room to the front and north. Mr. Henry G. Hughes taught the sixth, seventh and eighth grades in the front and south room. The red brick part of the building was built in 1899. Before school, at recess, noon and after school we played games on the large school lot. Henry G. Hughes often played with us; this always added spice to the game. We had a ball diamond for spring and summer use. During the winter months we had ice-skating and sleight riding. One year we had an ambitious project to build a skating pond. We got teams and scrapers and built the pond then we turned a stream of water in. This failed because the pond would not hold the water due to seepage. We were very disappointed at this failure. I have many fond memories of this schoolhouse, its teachers and my friends.
In conclusion, I will describe the Mendon School as it looked to a boy of ten in 1919. The building sat on the west side of the street, a neat painted, four foot picked fence with a turnstile gate separated the school lot form the street. The school was about fifty-feet from the street, a wide cement walk carried the foot traffic to the bottom of the steps. There were about twelve steps to the double front doors. Above this the steeple and belfry. A wide main hall led directly to the old rock building, the home of the third, and fourth, and fifth grades. The first and second grades were to the right and the awesome, sixth, seventh and eights grades on the left. West of the upper grade room was a small library only large enough for the books and about two students to stand. All this conveyed a feeling of security and balance to a small boy.
In 1965 the words of Whittier apply. “Still sets the schoolhouse by the road, a ragged beggar sunning.” Locked between the graying temples are childhood memories of this red brick schoolhouse that I will always cherish.
— Clifford John Stauffer