Just imagine it is 150 years ago and you live out in the country. You have to go to school. How do you get there? No, there were no school buses. There weren't any cars either. You had to walk or your father gave you a ride in a buggy pulled by a horse, ox, or cow. No, wait. Nobody really used a cow. Some kids rode a pony to school, too, but nobody rode a cow.

Every three or four miles there would be a tiny school. It would only have fifteen or twenty kids in it. Most were children who lived within walking distance. How would you like to walk three miles to school, in the rain or snow?

The kids would go to a little building sitting off by itself, maybe on the edge of a corn field. It was a school with only one room in it.

That was all right because you only had one teacher who taught everybody at the same time. All the kids in all the grades sat in the same room.

In the springtime, most of the boys would get out of school for weeks. They'd have to help their parents plow the fields. Yes, also the field next to the school.

It was important to have kids help because there were no farm tractors either. The plowing and planting had to be done with horses, cows, and oxen. Excuse me. Not the cows. The cows stayed home all day and did what cows do, make milk and little cows.

Again in the fall, the school would close for weeks while everyone, even the girls, would help in harvesting crops that were planted in the springtime. The whole family had to help. Sometimes when they were done they'd ride a buggy over to help their neighbors.

The teacher lived with one of the families so she, or he, was near the school. The government would give the family money to let the teacher stay with them. It was just like a big family, the teacher and the children. Wouldn't it be fun to have your teacher living with you? What! You don't think so? Neither did some of those children.

When it was cold the school had a big box full of wood. There was also an iron stove that burned the wood to keep the room warm. The older kids had to keep the wood-box filled and take care of the stove. They were used to doing it because that's what they did at home. There wasn't even any electricity. The teacher filled and lighted oil-lamps when it got dark.

There was a hand-pump in the front yard. That's how the school got its water. The first time you wanted water that day you had to pour older water back into the top of the pump. That was called "priming" the pump. You would pour a couple of cups of water in the top and jerk an iron handle up and down real fast until new water came out. That's why it was called a "pump". The teacher would keep a bucket of water in the school for the kids to drink.

There was always a "little house behind the big house." It would be a small building sitting over a hole in the ground. That was the toilet. Inside the little building was a seat with big holes in it. Sometimes even three or four holes in the seat.

Some of the holes were small for little kids to sit on, and some larger for the bigger and fat kids. None of them were big enough to fall in. You would not want to fall into that hole.

Sometimes, but not always, there was one building for the boys and one for the girls. There would be paper inside; often old newspapers or store catalogs. They didn't have toilet paper in those days. They had to have locks on the doors to keep the cows out, or did they? No ... I don't think so.

Well, this is a story of Homer. Homer is one of those little buildings. He was built in the year 1873. When the school was built, the workmen made Homer first. He was needed for the builders to use while they built the school building.

So, since he was there first, Homer got to watch the school being built. The school was made with bricks and so was Homer. He was sturdy and solid, like a brick s***house. Sometimes a good-looking girl was also referred to in that manner.

Soon the furniture, even a huge blackboard, came. It was put into the school and the school was ready.

The teacher arrived with a bunch of parents to inspect the new building. Many of them introduced themselves to Homer that day. The teacher stayed to unpack books and fix things up a little better. Classes began the next day.

At the beginning, there were only a dozen students. A few days later the school had twenty kids of all sizes and Homer was very busy.

The brick schoolhouse, and Homer, were used by everybody until 1929. That was the year a high school was build in a nearby town. All the bigger kids went to the new school. About that time, school buses were bringing children to school and the big kids to the new high school.

Ten years later, all the kids began using a new school in the town. Not many of them walked to school anymore. They came in school buses. Some in the new automobiles that were becoming popular.

The little brick schoolhouse was closed and nobody needed poor Homer anymore.

Homer wasn't lonely, though, because many little creatures living under his seat and the spiders on his walls soon had fun all over his insides. But he missed the kids.

The school became older and the roof started to leak. Some bad kids went by and shot guns at the windows, breaking most of them. The nice lawn was now only weeds.

This went on for a long time until the farmer that owned the fields decided to use the school building to store machinery such as his tractor. He fixed up the school building with a big door in one side and even cleaned Homer up.

Now Homer missed his friends the spiders. But they soon returned. Sometimes though, the farm workers would need Homer. In the fall he would be busy when the field behind him was being harvested. The lawn was mowed sometimes, but not often.

***

Things became better for Homer in the year 1961. A young married couple bought the school building and Homer. They fixed up the old school and added, next to it, a new house for themselves. The family used the old school for a garage to keep their automobile in.

But Homer wasn't needed any more. There was a bathroom inside the house. The new owners thought about tearing Homer down, but didn't get around to it. Homer became very lonely during that time of his life. After a while they did fix him up a little and put dirt in to fill the hole under him.

A couple of years later, the family had a child -- a little girl. Later another girl and a boy. Homer was glad to see kids, the first in forty whole years. But the parents told the children to "Stay out of that old outhouse."

Even so, sometimes the kids would still come over and play in Homer. One of the little girls would sneak into Homer and paint him inside. She made colorful drawings in there. Homer thought they were beautiful -- much better than the nasty writing that had been there before. You see Homer, being next to a school, had learned to read and write. Even a little arithmetic.

Finally the new owner, seeing that his children insisted in playing in Homer, fixed him up real good. He covered the holes in Homer's seat and put wooden boards over it. It was now a desk for the kids. He even put electricity in Homer, and electric lights.

Homer had become a brick playhouse. Nobody is built like a brick playhouse. There was no lock on the door now. The cows were long gone by that time. Ha-ha.

All was well until the kids grew up and left Homer. Finally, even the parents moved and the old schoolhouse and the newer house were left to rot. Homer was lonely again. The last owners even left something inside Homer that kept his friends the spiders away. With no hole under him or in his seat, the farm workers didn't even stop in to say hello anymore. Homer had never been so lonely in his life.

But, this story does have a happy ending. A local historical society bought the old school -- and Homer. They fixed both of them up like they were in 1893. They even put a new blackboard and wood stove into the school. Best of all, they restored Homer. They made new holes, steel lined at that, under Homer and fixed up his original four-holed seat. Homer is very happy again with many visitors. No cows though. Ha-ha.

The End.
Hvysmker – Charlie