My Appalachian Home
It is September 4, 1918
School started today in Purvis Gap and we are excited about having a new teacher. We all hope she is young and will have more energy than Mrs. O’Brien. In truth she was too old to teach anymore, as she would fall asleep after lunch each day when we did our silent reading.
My shoes were wet from the morning dew of the high grass on our path to school. I should not complain about my shoes getting wet---as many of the children do not have shoes. My brothers and sister walked with me to school to meet our new teacher for the New Year. We met up with our friends in the hollow and they walked with us on our early morning journey.
Some of us have our lunches in wrapped in old newspapers and some in old syrup buckets. And some do not have anything to carry for lunch. It is a hard time now in our gap where we live on our Appalachian Mountain. Our family is luckier than most---so Ma always puts more in our syrup buckets to share with others who do not have food.
Our Pa is a better provider than most as he has honey, nuts and a large fall garden to feed his family. And he is an excellent hunter and so are my two brothers, Mark and Matthew. They helped Pa plowed with a hand push plow and we helped him plant our garden. We are blessed to have a good house to live in with my two brothers and sister. The boys have their own room and my sister and I share one.
Our new teacher’s name is Miss Margaret Goodhall and she is from Texas---the biggest state of our union. She is petite and beautiful with long red hair and earrings that sparkled in the light of the one room school house. And she had a beautiful dress on today it was lavender and had many ruffles. All the boys are in love with her porcelain face and big blue eyes.
We did a review of our last summer’s lessons and Miss Goodhall smiled as most of us were up to date on writing, reading, spelling and our arithmetic. She gave us new books for the fall and we were all so happy to have something new to learn from and enjoy the smell of newness. We all wrote our names in the new books. It was a proud day for all. We all had smiles on our faces---even the poorest children were happy. The children who always came to school in dirty clothes and no shoes--- were smiling today. It made my heart swell with gratitude
She told us her Uncle John sent the books to us as gifts because he owned a large bookstore in Dallas. That is a large city in Texas. I want to go there one day when I grow up---as I have only been to small places in the hollows and gaps of these mountains. I know there is a great world out there where people can walk on sidewalks and walk for miles on flat land. Imagine that---no walking up and down these mountain trails like a goat.
I am sleepy now Dear Diary---and I will write more tomorrow.
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