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Kentucky Color: Drinking water protocols, Breeding Grade School
Drinking water - when it comes from a faucet it is taken for granted - when it tastes good. But back in the late 1950s, Breeding School had no running water - it came from a well.
Click on headline for complete story from those wonderful days, and photo of a memento - a collapsible tin cup - from those days
By Billy Joe Fudge
I went to school at Breeding Grade School between the years of 1957 and 1961. There was no running water, no indoor bathrooms, no air conditioning, no computers, no cell phones, no lunchroom, no gymnasium, no detention, no time-out, no uniformed guard, no asphalt, no drink machines, no parents picking up children except to cut tobacco, etc.
Yes, we did have electricity, I think?
Sorry, I became so engrossed in all the no's that I distracted myself from the gist of the story.
In reality, however, we did have running water since some of the students would run to the well, pump the water into what I remember to be 5 gallon metal coolers and run it back to the room.
Once the water was back to the room, the teacher would use a medicine dropper to add chlorine to kill whatever bacteria might have been in the water when it came out of the ground or might have inadvertently dived in on the trip from well to room.
The cooler sat on either a table or a shelf depending upon which room one found one's self and the drinking cups sat on wooden shelves hanging on the wall. I remember them resembling a "whatnot" wall shelf with little compartments. Our names were put on the compartment into which we placed our cups. There were a lot of Tupperware like cups, some kitchen glasses, some pint fruit jars, Pork and Bean tin cans, and of course for me through the fourth grade, there was this aluminum, collapsible cup which I continually forgot to bring home on Friday afternoon like I was supposed to do. Momma wanted to give it a complete boiling for sanitary purposes so it could be re-contaminated the following week.
The bad thing about this cup was it could be readily collapsed by any number of male or female bullies with a gentle or firm tap on the bottom while one was drinking from it. So, before "bottoms up", one would peruse the immediate area for suspected or proven bullies. Although embarrassing, having water running down from chin to well below the belly button, could be quite refreshing on hot stifling days. Conversely, it could be quite uncomfortable during those days when the temperature could be in the low single digits more than 10 feet away from the massive heatin' stoves.
I do remember that all of us, including those of us affluent enough to own brought-on drinking cups, often used folded sheets of writin' paper for drinking cups. These were the first disposable and handmade drinking cups to which I was exposed. Not only were they easily and quickly whipped up for one time use as drinking cups, they could quickly be adapted, much to the dismay of teachers, to really attractive sailor hats for those whose heads were of sufficient girth to wear them. Despite warnings of lead poisoning, ink containing unmentionable non-ingestibles and unseen microscopic plants and animals which might inflict ones digestive tract with Crisco like efficiency; these writin' paper, disposable drinking cups remained popular all the way up through 4th grade.
At any rate, this little collapsible Aluminum Drinking Cup carries a lot of memories for me and is one of my most treasured pieces of memorabilia. Just for context, I set it on top of my most recent drinking cup which is a double walled, vacuum sealed miracle of modern technology. To the best of my recollection of the details of my last experiment, it will keep an ice cube hard and virtually dry for somewhere near a week, give or take a half dozen days or so.
This story was posted on 2016-08-28 06:02:54
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