Last week I recognized the August 31, 1942 first, first day of school for Pilot Mountain School children.
Let me continue with the second and third first days of school, because there's more to the story. In 1943 the state of North Carolina increased the required days of school from eight months to nine for a new total of one hundred eighty days. To accommodate those extra days, school began earlier in August. Not too early, though. This was pre-airconditioning. This was a rural county where children were needed on the farm. Most days were added in the spring.
But there's even more to the first day of school stories because in 1944 school didn't open until mid September, almost a month later. Why?
Children were not allowed off their properties, were confined to their homes until the county polio epidemic was contained and believe me, this is one law these families followed to the letter. The assigned first day of school passed with no relief in sight. The August 31 first day of school date passed also. Finally, four weeks into the school year, the quarantine was lifted and the children flocked to school, happy to be free from the imposed stay at home restrictions.
As first days of school pass this year, keep those 1944 polio epidemic children in mind. Kiss your children, celebrate your grandchildren, post their pictures on facebook, but remember the past and the blessings of medical advancements that today's children enjoy.
Catch of the day,