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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 005. My Foxy-Looking Teacher

It's Just Me Again No. 005: My Foxy-Looking Teacher
The next earlier Chuck Hinman story: Running away from home

by Chuck Hinman

For who knows what reason, winters were extremely severe when I was going to country grade school. I went to New Hope school in Gage County, Nebraska during the time period 1928 to 1935. Mercy, that's over 70 years ago!

Snow-fences (remember them) were in place on east-west roads well before the onset of snowy weather. It wasn't uncommon to be delayed getting to your destination because you were "snowed in" -- not for just a couple of hours, but for days or until the snowplow opened up the roads again.

And occasionally you could be snowed-in not in the comfort of your own home but many miles from your home -- in some stranger's home. YUK!

When the roads were icy, Dad was kept busy with our Fordson tractor and a 20 foot log chain pulling cars up notoriously steep Kinney Hill. Even when the weather was good, most drivers had to shift back to "second" to get over this obstacle between Liberty and Wymore, Nebraska. And it was treacherous in snowy-icy weather as you can imagine.

I remember one snowy day when Dad got a large box of Oreo-type cookies for pulling a grocery-supply truck over Kinney Hill.

It was common for country school-teachers to take residence with someone in the school district, going to her home or her parent's home for the week-end. Many times she came to school on Monday morning direct from her weekend home and then stayed for the rest of the week at some residence in the district.

When I was in the eighth grade, our teacher showed up extremely late for school one Monday morning. All the school kids had arrived at school waiting for the teacher to arrive, shivering from the elements. Where, oh where is the teacher?

In college there is a tradition that if the teacher is fifteen minutes late, class is considered canceled and you are excused to leave. At country grade school, we had no such tradition to guide us. So we stood at the door and waited... and waited....

It turned out she had been to a wedding dance on Sunday evening and the dance was formal which meant that formal wear was the mode. She must have been the "queen of the ball" -- such make-up -- Wow!

She was driven to our school by her boy-friend who was still dressed-up from the dance. Apparently they had gotten "snowed-in" en route to their homes after the dance and were rescued by a snow-plow just in time to make it -- late -- for school but not in time for her to go home and change out of her fancy duds.

So, even though she was resplendent in a strapless formal gown for the dance, she was miserable, not to mention freezing cold, for teaching school before 20-25 rambunctious kids dressed in overalls and gingham dresses. As I remember, she was a "looker" to this teenager's prying eyes -- perhaps a tad over-dressed or dare I say un(der)-dressed. Her high-heeled shoes were obviously killing her as the day wore-on!

I'm sure it went down as one of her longest days even though the circumstances were totally understandable, a freak situation caused by the snow storm.

What I remember most about this incident was that I got slapped for giving one of the several low-whistles she received as she walked by our desks! Why me? I admit I was a smart-aleck kid whose hormones were on fire with what I saw (or thought I saw). I would probably whistle now if I could find my teeth and I am 88 years old and know better.

At least I have learned to duck when I whistle!

This story was posted on 2011-01-02 07:21:42
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Chuck Hinman family home, Liberty, Nebraska

2011-01-02 - Photo by Bob Ruyle. Liberty, Nebraska
774-777 miles from Columbia, KY according to (Google MAP)

Nebraska boyhood farm home of writer Chuck Hinman as it looks in 2009.Chuck's stories are laced with memories associated with his (then) home near tiny Liberty, Nebraska. Photography by Bob Ruyle, also a product of Liberty, Nebraska but presently living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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