Letters to the Editor, March 15, 2014
Those were the days...
EDITOR: Today, Thursday March 6,2014, I read with great interest the Daily Review article, "A Touch Of Artistry In Frenchtown." My first thought was 'Where in PA is Frenchtown." I now know, thanks to my trusty computer, that it is 4 miles off I-99 -- about 10 miles southeast of Altoona.
I found it extremely interesting that the townspeople would preserve the 'old two-room country school' and continue to use it as the town's municipal building.
One or two or more, of the readers out there may say, "What's so special about a 'two-room country school ?" All I can say is, to this old reprobate, alot! Because, I went to a two-room country school for four years starting in the fall of 1939 as a fifth grader. Carlyle Spencer of Towanda was our 5th to 8th grade teacher. And I have many fond memories of that old school that stood where the Ridgebury Township Municipal Building and Firehouse now stand.
Today's students and many of those persons classified as teachers cannot appreciate the wonderful atmosphere and experience of attending a "two-room country school." The Ridgebury school was one room UP (grades 5-8) and one room DOWN (grades 1-4). Each room had a big round heating stove in the rear of the room. The fuel was coal or wood -- whichever the "Board" chose to purchase. And, the older boys were delegated to carry the fuel up for the fire.
Recesses in the Spring and Fall would be spent playing ball or "Andy-Andy Over"--a tag game using a sponge ball thrown over the top of the two-story building to catch and use to tag or "touch" one of the opposing team. In the Winter, we'd play Fox 'n Geese out in the snow covered ball field. Or, we'd sit on the floor in the back of the room and play "mumble-d-peg" or "flip the jackknife." Yes, every boy carried his own jackknife to school back then and there was no blood shed! Then, at lunch time, everyone brought their ice skates and went skating on Burnham's Pond!
While many super-schooled members of today's teaching staffs and Boards of Education would throw up the hands in horror at those "old fire traps" and scoff at the levels of "educational experience" of the teachers, we thought they were great! And, I still do!
In any event, I would like to commend the people of Frankstown for preserving the structure, and hopefully, some of the fond memories of going to a two-room country school.