By Roy Roberts
“School days, school days,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, good old golden rule days….’ My Mother would be singing parts of that song as she was getting three of her kids ready for school on the first day of September. It was a joyful time as she was glad to get us out of the house. The Montgomery Ward order had arrived a few days earlier so we all had new clean clothes to wear, but there were the orders, “Please keep them clean, and change your clothes the minute you get home from school, you have to wear them the rest of the week.”
Cobb and Edwards wrote the song in 1907. It tells the story of an older couple who longingly looked back on their simpler life in the first grade, country or city school.
There were two verses that went like this:
School days, school days, good old golden rule days.
Readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmetic,
Taught to the tune of a hickory stick.
You were my queen in calico,
I was your bashful, barefoot beau.
You wrote on my slate, I love you so,
When we were a couple of kids.
Let’s take a trip on the memory ship,
And sail back to the Good Old Days.
Sail to the old village schoolhouse,
Anchor outside the school door,
Look in and see, there’s you and me,
A couple of kids once more.
We can be the older couple looking back to going to school in the first grade. (We can remember back then, but we can’t remember what we did yesterday). A few nights before school was to start the family was still at the supper table and Mother looks at Dad and says, “I’m going to see if they will take Roy in the first grade.” Dad says, “He is only five and I think you have to be six to start to school.” “I know, but he knows all his numbers and his alphabet, and I want to get him out of the house.”
Dad didn’t answer which meant she could do whatever she should do. I was told years later that she wanted me out of the house because I was such a tease to younger brother Dale and one-year-old Jane.
On the day school began, off we go, Mother and me, walking to Lincoln School and in to see the principal, Miss. Lillie Mohlman. The request for me to start was turned down because the first grade was so crowded. Mother didn’t give up, we walked the length of Eighth Street to the Beard School. Miss Julia Broadman was a friend of my mother’s and, although I didn’t live in that school area, she welcomed me. I began my education with one year at Beard School.