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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 339 : New Hope School

Chuck Hinman, It's Just Me Again No. 339: New Hope School
A Column Perfect for 2012 when the whole of the Education Industry is under intense scrutiny:

"This column seems appropriate with all the talk about education this year. Both Chuck's son Paul and his friend Alsie Mae Stapleton have sent me some "new to us" stories. It's sad to know there will never be another phone call from him, but it is hard to miss him when we have all these wonderful stories." Robert Stone
The next earlier Chuck Hinman story is Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 156, The Bruensbach School

By Chuck Hinman

My elementary school education, all eight years (from 1927 to 1935), was received at New Hope School in Gage County, Nebraska. The school grounds were carved out of the Alfred Dillow farmstead on the road between Liberty and Wymore, Nebraska. The school district was consolidated with the Liberty School district in the 1960s and the building dismantled and the grounds became part of the Dillow farm carrying with it wonderful memories of those of us who spent some memorable days there. I have the distinction of getting spanked on my first day of school. Miss (Marie) Mack was the teacher.


New Hope was a typical rural school consisting of one room with no plumbing or electricity. It was heated with a large coal-burning stove in the center of the room. Nebraska winters were brutally cold in those days. The building had the customary A-shaped roof, which was made-to-order for games of Andy Over!

The entry was a vestibule where we hung outer clothing and left our stormy-weather footwear lined up neatly along the wall. Lunches, in an assortment of dinner pails, paper bags, and molasses buckets, were stored on the vestibule shelves until lunch time. The vestibule was also a place of punishment for the unruly, whose parents doubled it when they learned of it.

The school grounds occupied one acre of land; the outbuildings consisted of boys' and girls' facilities of the two-hole variety, also a coal shed. A water well with a hand pump was near the school ground entrance. A merry-go-round was kept busy at recess and noon and there was a baseball diamond for the older kids.

There was no school transportation; we lived one half mile from school. No one lived more than two miles away. Some rode ponies.

School enrollment was large in the early days of my schooling at New Hope. All eight grades were usually represented. My first grade class picture shows there were thirty students including Blanche Kinney, Earl, Bill and Verna Price, Danny Nolan, Bob and Chuck Hinman, Wayne Earnhart, San, Bob and Dottie Dillow, Velma and Marjorie Fulton, Frank, Iva, Minnie and ___ Johnson, Esther and ___ Hartwig, Georgia Pinkston, Russell and Norris Coffee and Lionel Showen.

We had classes in readin', writin', and 'rithmetic, not to mention other subjects such as spelling, history, geography, grammar, ... and oh yes, don't forget penmanship, the infamous A. N. Palmer Method of Writing. (Remember?)

Art and music were presented on Fridays after recess to the entire school. It seemed an appropriate way to wind-down the busy week! It was a fun time and looked forward to with great anticipation!

Teachers in those days often enlisted the aid of the older students in helping the younger ones with their school work. Flash cards were an important learning tool, whether in phonics, spelling, or arithmetic basics. Kids could drill each other with flash cards, making a game of it. Wasn't that innovative and priceless?

Betty Garvin was my eighth-grade teacher. By that time, the school enrollment had dwindled considerably; and I was the only pupil in my eighth-grade class. I particularly liked Miss Garvin because she spent a lot of time with me. She entered me in the Gage County spelling bee; I won second place, failing on the word "arbutus."

When I graduated from eighth-grade, Miss Garvin arranged for me to be the processional and recessional piano player at the Gage County graduation exercises at Beatrice, Nebraska -- quite an honor for this farm boy! But she pushed all her students in everything!

For a graduation gift, she gave me a five-year diary, which I dutifully kept from graduation day until five years to the day, later. Although it may seem unlikely that a teenage boy would keep a diary, I attribute that unusual learned discipline to Miss Garvin, who was simply before her time as a role-model teacher.

Thank you, Miss Garvin for "growing me up"! Even though that statement may appear you failed as my grammar teacher, you taught me an important life lesson, one that I am still using at eighty-six years of age: Everyone can excel in something and all be satisfied within themselves. It's called SELF-ESTEEM.

Emailed by Chuck Hinman on Thursday, 30 October 2008


This story was posted on 2012-02-26 05:30:15
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