Sunday, September 08, 2013

Little Schoolhouse On The Prairie

Yesterday, Hermione, Charles and I drove out to Elbert, Colorado, so she could take photos of the hundredth anniversary of a restored one-room schoolhouse.  The little green building had served as a school for 32 years, before its students were relocated to a town school in 1945.  Eight former students came to the event, and more than 100 other people.  Several attendees had parked vintage cars in the schoolyard, near the cast iron water pump.  I wish the pump worked--I accidentally rinsed my hands with lemonade from one of the coolers and became even more sticky than I was after my initial assault on the snacks table. 

The flatlands might seem to be an odd place to start off a visit to this Rocky Mountain state, but I didn't want to overdo exertion-wise before I acclimated to the altitude and dryness.  Too, Granddaddy and Grandmommy had both attended tiny schools like this one when they were young, and I rightly assumed that this would be an interesting cultural experience.  Hermione is a professional-grade photographer, and the building's restorers had asked her to come to record the event.  My pictures are definitely amateur, but here goes: 

The Senior cat first had to approve my arrival on Friday.

A 1922 Model T had been driven two miles down the dirt road to the school for the day. 

Guess what--none of the three floor pedals was for gas!  The right one was the brake, the middle was for reverse, and the left determined whether the car was in first, second or neutral gear.  The accelerator (and the spark plug controller) were levers on either side of the steering wheel.  The wind-shield wiper was hand-cranked (I guess you got your passenger to do that!).

View from the back of the "Super Deluxe" V8 engine Ford parked nearby.  The seats were so soft it probably felt like driving a sofa down the road.  The back seat was huge, with side pillows.  No seat belts, of course.

View of a nearby farm from the schoolyard. I found wild sage and wildflowers among the prairie grass.  It really was reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories of her teaching days.

There were poster-board displays about the history of the building around the room, many featuring stories by former students of their early memories:

Kids since have aspired to own their own cars--in earlier times, they longed for their own horse.

The schoolhouse had originally been built stark white, but had been painted green for as long as anyone living could remember, and so it now has a new coat of green paint to compliment its new roof. A local television team pulled up as we were leaving, and a 30-second feature about the event was shown on the late news--it was too bad they missed the midday crowd.

The Denver Art Museum is closed tomorrow, so I plan to drive to Red Rocks to do some walking and very easy hiking. My cousins assure me it is beautiful--they both are working through Thursday, so I am on my own. 


Anonymous said...

Don't do anything that will require you to amputate your own arm with a dull jacknife.

KYP said...

I was going to bring my Leatherman, so if I had to do any self-surgery the knife would at least be sharp, but then I decided not to check any luggage. I'm carrying a phone and staying on well-marked paths...

Hermione said...

I love your chronicle of the events (and the guest appearance of Senor Cat)! I never got over to the cool car, so I was glad you filled me in there. It so exciting to have pictures on the blog!