Friday, August 13, 2010

It's in the "house"

Way back when, before WalMart and even before convenience stores like Seven/Eleven or Circle K, people in the country bought their few necessary items at local stores and rarely went into town. Road conditions in the late 1800's limited travel, so many families opened a mercantile business in their homes to offer items for sale. These businesses were called "storehouses." I've always pictured a storehouse as a place to keep left over stuff, not a house to sell merchandise, but according to my research yesterday, I must expand that image. I'll color  my imagination with a little sepia to make it fit the nineteenth century and picture a local storehouse.

Likewise, many early schools began as "schoolhouses" where children were taught in the teacher's house. I often interchange the terms school and schoolhouse when referring to Pilot Mountain School. Or is it Pilot Mountain Schoolhouse?

Storehouse. Schoolhouse. When I taught Reading 080 at the community college, we talked a lot about denotation and connotation of words. Denotation (D for dictionary, my teaching kicking in here) is the actual definition of the word. Connotation is the feeling behind the word or the attachment the word has to the speaker, writer, listener or reader. So when someone in the Pilot Mountain area says they are going to that building on the hill, they call it the schoolhouse. That's what they say, "going up to the schoolhouse." It's a carry over from days gone by and I will do my part as the storycatcher to pass it along when I use schoolhouse instead of just plain school. In the mind's attachment, it's like going to another house, a schoolhouse. Does it bring a certain comfort to call the building a schoolhouse?



  1. Would that we could get back to the "feeling" of schoolhouse. I think my grandson would like school if we viewed it like "the good old days."

  2. Hi Gretchen,
    I went to the schoolhouse down the street in my hometown in Georgia. I am really looking forward to reading your stories as you blog them and then the book.

  3. When you're a teacher, your classroom is your home. Perhaps these early teachers had it best, they didn't have to travel. Students came to them.

    What if they called them "Schoolhomes?"

    Have fun learning the stories of the past and sharing them with the Now people!