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Ione Stapp, Cave Hill Rural School, Metcalfe Co., KY
by Geniece Marcum
from the book The Best of Senior Quest
Cave Hill Rural school was closed at the end of the 1948-49 term, according to former students Ione Stapp, Juanita Fancher and Cora Emma Jessie. Earliest records from the Metcalfe County School Board show the school in existence as early as 1899. These records also show T. A. Gooden as Superintendent that year and E. T. Higgason as Trustee. A barn belonging to J. H. Jolly now stands on the site where the old schoolhouse used to be.
The school got its name from a cave which lay a short distance from the school yard. Mrs. Ione Stapp recalls that for an outing the teachers at Cave Hill would sometimes allow the students to walk across to the entrance of the cave. Some would even venture inside the cave's opening, but never for very far.
Digging out old photos of the place and identifying faces of fellow students from her youth brings back many memories for Ione. "I can see everything about that school building," she says, "And it is as clear to me today as it was back then." When you entered the front door of the school house she says, there was a sort of vestibule before you came into the classroom itself. This room was where the water cooler always stood and shelves lining the walls held the students lunches, which they brought along with them from home each morning.
On a school day, Ione describes how that vestibule would be filled with the wonderful aroma of freshly boiled corn on the cob, fried chicken and country ham biscuits, wafting from those lunch pails.
Ione walked a distance of one mile to get from her parents home to school. She was joined on these treks to and from classes by other youngsters, including the Froggett children, Virginia, Mazetta and Wendell; the Russells, Preston and Truman; Authellia Thompson, Juanita Earl and Ruby Jolly. Ione says she has such happy memories of the early days of her education and feels that even the walk to and from school was an education in itself. Especially in the early morning hours when the world around them was fresh.
So many little things about those long walks are still with her today, the sight of black-eyed susans and goldenrod blooming beside their pathway, or how a thousand tiny dew-drenched cobwebs briefly turned to threads of glistening silver at their feet in the morning sunlight.
Between their homes and the school Ione recalls a deep gully of about twenty feet in depth, which crossed their path. The children had to maneuver its steep banks to get to the other side. To make this easier for them, Ione's dad, Grover Gooch, and another parent, Jim Earl, were thoughtful enough to cut steps in the soft earth leading down into the gully on one side and up again on the other side. Whenever it rained, water would come swirling through this gully and at such times the youngsters had to take a much longer way home. But in spite of this inconvenience Ione still found great beauty in this spot.
See also Fond Memories of Node Store, Seven Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church by Gary Lane.Ruby Jolly's father always raised a big patch of watermelons, Ione recalls, and when they began to ripen he would send a large one to the school to be enjoyed by everyone. To the delight of her schoolmates, Ruby would always bring several pomegranates from her dad's garden to share with them, too. A pomegranate was considered a prized possession by any school girl back then, Ione says.
As we talked about her memories, a tree frog sounded from a tree branch just outside her kitchen window and so I was introduced to yet another friend of Ione Stapp's, who we realize has been a lifelong friend of all of nature.
This story was posted on 2010-12-01 21:55:02
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