| Submitted by Ray Evans
I attended grade school at the Oak Hill School located about 5 miles from
Brodhead in western Rockcastle county from 1934 through 1942.. Following are
some of the things I remember about attending school there.
My first teacher was Hundley Rigsby ( 1906-1936) He spanked one of the older
boys with a wooden paddle when I was in the first grade. That scared the
daylights out of me. I was as meek as a lamb from then on.
Initially Oak Hill was a one-room school house. About 1937, an extra room was
added and it became a two-room school. The new addition had a rather tall
foundation. The floor was about 2 feet off the ground. Consequently, it was dry
year round. It was an ideal place to talk to the DOODLE BUGS. There was always
several of those little cone shaped indentations in the dry soil. As I recall
the chat was: Doodle bug come out, come out your house is on fire.
Over-and-over. You could watch the dry dirt moving around. I dont
remember if I ever actually saw a doodle bug. I wonder if children ever call
for doodle bugs today.
As I remember, It was fairly regimented in the beginning. For example;
following recesses and lunch periods we formed two columns of students with the
boys in one column and the girls in another prior to entering the school
building. Also at the end of the school days we were instructed to straighten
our desks and when finished we were to sit with both hands together on top of
the desk. I often wonder if school children do that today. Another convention
we had was: If there was not a school book laying in the doorway, you could
hold your hand up and be excused to go to the toilet. There were two of those
typical outhouses with a path -- one for the boys and one for the girls.
The floor of the classroom was made of tongue and groove pine boards and they
were kept oiled with a dirty black oil in order to minimize dust. A blackboard
was located at the front of the room that extended almost the entire width of
the room. Of course there was one of those map cases positioned above the
blackboard. There was a lot of strange looking maps that could be selected from
the case. The maps uncoiled much like a spring loaded window shade. The teacher
would pull down whichever map was desired and they never seemed to want wind
Water was obtained from a well with one of those long narrow buckets that was
lowered into the well with a rope and pulled back out with a bucket of water.
The well bucket had a valve arrangement at the bottom so once it was retrieved
from the well the bucket full of water could be allowed to drain into a
conventional water bucket. Since the school building and well were on a rather
high ridge, the well seemed to be awfully deep. Water was kept in the
schoolroom in a galvanized water bucket with a common dipper. In order to get a
drink, we fashioned a drinking cup out of a sheet paper and folded it a couple
of times to form a drinking cup. Its no wonder we learned to make paper
Recess and lunchtime were the most fun. We played all kind of different games
To name a few; Jump Rope, Ring around the Rosy, Under the Mulberry Bush,
Ante-over, Mumbley Peg, Marbles and Hopscotch, (Many years after grade school
when I was walking down a street in Seoul, Korea, I came across some Korean
children playing hopscotch. To their amazement and giggles I jumped through
their hopscotch diagram) We also played stick ball with a sponge rubber ball.
Whenever some wise-guy hit the ball into the bushes, we spent quite a bit of
time hunting for the ball. In the wintertime, after a big snow we always fixed
a skating place by packing snow and adding a little water to form a thick layer
of ice. We would form a line and get a running start and slide (skate) standing
up across the ice. As I recall our parents never liked the wear and tear on our
We spent a lot of time at home memorizing some kind of poem so we could recite
it in front of the class. Except for possibly improving presentation skills,
Ive never figured out the value of memorizing a poem. Of course I still
remember a few lines from Kiplings If.
Sometimes on Friday afternoons we would have a program where we
would provide ourselves with some form of entertainment. I recently made
contact with Georgia Marie Lewis Esch who played the guitar and sang at one of
those programs. She made a big impression on me with her ability to
play the guitar.
Almost every year, Jack Hysinger would visit the school and tell some stories.
He had a mouth full of gold teeth that sparkled like new money when he talked
and he always rode a beautiful saddle horse. The thing I remember most about
him though was that he always gave each child in the class a new nickel.
Undoubtedly, the nickel was spent on a candy bar or some other foolishness.
What would I give today for one of those nickels?.