Schools Days In Mendon —
As I remember I was quite thrilled to be six years old and starting to school in 1900. My friends across the street had started the year before and had warned me of the pitfalls and told me of the glories, which I found were less glorious.
My first teacher was Miss Emma Baker, who I learned to like very much, however she must of felt faint at heart when she first looked at that room full of pupils, every seat filled, some with two in a seat, so she had her sister, Mercy helping her at least for awhile.
We furnished our own paper and pencils at that time and now standing out in my mind is a small red covered tablet that my mother had been given by a traveling medicine man who came to our home peddling his wares, the cover of which was filled with advertisements about the merits of Done’s kidney pills. It being such a handy little book to carry, I had taken it to school and was writing in it when Miss Emma took it and held it up before all the school to see my scribbling, somewhat to my embarrassment on my first day at school. Almost before I knew it, I had caught the scarlet fever from a boy who sat in front of me and so was absent for some time.
After two years in this school, my parents sent me to the Presbyterian school, where students were fewer and personal instruction greater. Miss Christy and Miss Huber were my teachers there. I learned a few scriptures in the Bible for which I earned books and had many advantages. This school closed in two years and so I again went back to the district school. By this time 1904 I was in the fifth grade. Miss Eva Williamson was my teacher and I had a few unpleasant adjustments to make.
My next teacher was Mr. Herbert H. Thompson an easy going congenial fellow who taught the sixth, seventh and eight grades and spent much of his time trying to get the old coal stove with a high tin guard around it perking sufficiently to make the large high ceiling room comfortable, most things were so uncomfortable including the rest room, which was a block away.
But by now school classes began to be more interesting to me and I enjoyed my friends Gladys, and the Bird and Baker kids and others.
My next teacher was Charles E. Embley a nervous type who didn’t hesitate a minute to let you know what he thought and became quite irritated after giving the eight grade two days to memorize (This is the ship of Pearl, which Poets fain, Sails the unshaddowed Maine) and so on, and only a few students knew it when he called class, I knew it quite well. I remember and gave it talking so fast that he said he didn’t understand a word, May gave it to his liking as she seemed to be one of his favorites and Jay sat and wiggled his ears.
By now the kids were growing up and friends became friendlier. Olive (Sorensen) had joined the crowd and proved to be a perfect friend to me, her home was the center for parties of school kids, and our friendships have lasted throughout our lives.
— Nellie Bartlett Hancock