The plan last Saturday was for me to read from my book, and I did, to a small but enthusiastic crowd at a coffee house called Java Journey. Since most of those in attendance weren't acquainted with Lessons Learned, I chose the selections with a lot of thought, looking for the uniqueness that makes this schoolhouse stand out from the rest, for reasons why people would want to open it and read further.
I found examples aplenty, starting with the year the school opened in 1942 and the war effort the teachers led on the home front. The children collected scrap metal to bring to school for the teachers to log the weight and reward them with a sweatshirt when they reached a particular level. The children brought nickels to buy stamps for their redemption booklets that the teachers held in a side desk drawer. As each child's booklet filled, they converted it to a War Bond. The teachers remained late after school and came to school on Saturdays to register families for their rationing books, using precious gasoline and rubber tire coupons to operate their personal vehicles to be at school to perform war time duties.
Establishing a cafeteria during war time rationing was next to impossible, as the readings I selected also showed. I read to the crowd about the barter system the school established and the home grown produce the workers served.
I could have read selections from the baby boomer years, from the desegregation years, from the final years when the school was converted to a junior high, or even from the more recent years when it has become a coffeeshop and reception hall. But instead I chose to read personal stories people told me about being a student at the school, stories like going to the gold mine holes and digging clay to take for art class, stories of being nervous for the yearly recitation and declaration contests, memories of feed sack clothes and wearing holes in pant legs from playing marbles on their knees.
All too quick my time was up. But I had so much more to read!
Catch of the day,