Lone Star 1

…READING AND ‘RITING, AND ‘RITHMETIC, TAUGHT TO THE TUNE OF A HICKORY STICK…The drawing above is one my mother drew, a one-room school house on the prairie.  Mom went to school there in the 1920’s; I went there 1945-46, I think.  It was Lone Star School.  My years in school were sort of out of order.  You see, I completed first and second grade in one year; I was taken out of school in the sixth (story for another time), then I completed seventh and eighth in one year.  Things were different back then.

Lone Star. Sixth-eighth-grade. Mrs. Jackson. Copying selections from the dictionary. (I did learn the sounds of long and short vowels that year! I had learned to read without being exposed to diacritical markings.) I didn’t know that what I was doing wasn’t really very meaningful until I became a teacher and wished for something to have the “brainy-er” students do to keep them out of my hair for a bit.  – Then I realized why I copied the dictionary. 😀

The desks in that school were designed for two students sitting side by side so the ink well was in the middle of the desk. I cheated one time, one time only that I remember. No, hold the applause, it was no great honor that I didn’t cheat, I just didn’t think I needed to. I thought I was smart enough without cheating.

I did become a Christian, about that time, and looked at cheating as sin, so I chose to study hard.

Back to how I cheated. I looked through the ink hole to see my open geography book on the shelf beneath. As far as I know Mrs. Jackson did not know I cheated.  If she did she should have made me copy the geography book instead of the dictionary!

When I graduated high school, Mrs. Jackson helped me write my valedictory address titled as most such speeches are, “Hitch your Wagon to a Star.” Not very original, but very short. I was very limited on my ability to compose any kind of composition—but long on my ability to copy pages from the dictionary! Mrs. Jackson probably came to see me on my big night; I remember little except that I was petrified to speak before my class of twenty-four graduates and all their families.

All that does not sound like a very great salute for Mrs. Jackson. So why do I think of her when I think of mentors, people who influenced my life. One lesson she taught me hit fertile soil. I think these were her exact words, “You can do anything you want to do, as long as you choose to do right.” Thanks, Mrs. Jackson, I received two lessons in that one statement. One, I must choose “right” in order to achieve my dreams, and two, I had the ability to do what I wanted to do.

And, Mrs. Jackson, if you happen to be tuned to my earthly existence, you won’t be surprised that I love grammar but I’d like you to look at my blog. I have learned to put words together in meaningful ways—composition.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
This entry was posted in mentor, school, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Yinglan says:

    Wonderful and fascinating story, Oneta. 🙂

  2. Lovely drawing, thank you for sharing. Lovely words too. Nice to hear good memories of a teacher. 🙂

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thank you, Diane. I’ve been working with my mom’s “left behind” stuff. It stirs memories, all most all are good. Surely there was some bad but it just goes to prove good can dominate one’s life. At least it does mine. Much to be thankful for.

  3. says:

    She would be very proud❤️

    • oneta hayes says:

      That is kind of you to say that. Interesting things in days gone by. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson both taught. Maybe they swapped off according to who felt like teaching that day! The year I was there she was the teacher, but my little sister had both of them, I think, but one at a time. I need to find out. Maybe another story!

  4. Salvageable says:

    My mother went to a one-room schoolhouse. She was one of two who graduated eighth grade that year. I went to the same school. The community had grown, and the school district added several wings to the original school, and then built a middle school across the street. There were ninety in my eighth grade graduating class. J.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Wow. That was fast growth. Lone Star was moved by my grandfather into a little town, and converted to a church. I guess it is still used as a church. The last I know of it, anyway. Long life for the little building. My grandfather was sentimental about it because it was the school in which the revival was held when most of my father’s family became Christians. :C

  5. Faye says:

    Thanks for the memories shared of your school life. Thanks for rekindling my own. Small school perhaps not so remote was my experience but the memory remains of Miss McMinn. All I know today is she somehow taught me not to be terrified of putting my hand up to go to the toilet and was my never to be forgotten example of an adult who insisted I sat still in one place and actually learned. How she did it all and remained ‘Loving’ is the lesson that somehow has stayed. Thanks for the post.

    • oneta hayes says:

      That lesson was a keeper for sure, wasn’t it? That “putting your hand up” experience was the kind of thing that terrified me also. There were some amazing people in our backgrounds, weren’t there? I’ve never figured out how mom demanded obedience and got it! I think I had my hand swatted with a ruler one time, but I can’t remember the circumstances. That was before Mrs. Jackson. Maybe I’ll see something which will make me remember. Hope so. I’m sure it would be a good story now that I tell every-thing about myself!

  6. calensariel says:

    Wow! You were a resourceful little minx, weren’t you! 😀 What a great story, Oneta!

  7. Ish says:

    love your “spell” story!!! We can never really do what our mothers do for us. Can we?

    • oneta hayes says:

      For most of us, we have good reason to follow the pattern our mothers set for us. I’m sure they had the same regrets regarding their mothers. Are we ever really ready to turn loose? Good to see you, Ish. I haven’t seen you for a “spell.”

  8. Trail Walker says:

    I enjoyed your school day reminiscences. I went to a similar school. It wasn’t a one room school, but we did have two grades in each classroom and the same double desks with ink wells that you describe. I lived in a very small town in southeastern Pennsylvania where I received a very loving, traditional upbringing.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Hi, fellow small school person! Childhood soaked in love. Far too rare these days. However, my little ones seem to really love their teachers – first and third grade. I think that is generally true of primary grade teachers. Then so many teachers have to turn into traffic controllers or something like that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s