September 4, 1928
Today would be embedded as a jewel of a first day forever in my memory; with all my children returning for another year of school. I stood on the top step watching as they walked down their mountain trails, meeting and hugging friends; sharing their summer events and laughing and jumping for joy because they were together once again.
This year everyone’s syrup pail was full of their lunch and a snack. I saw they all had shoes on their feet and their faces and clothes were clean. And, I can thank my brothers and my Pa for being responsible for this great gift to my children. Tears filled my eyes as I continued to watch the children walk nearer to the school yard.
I noticed an elderly woman bringing a little girl by the hand to school. The woman arthritic hand was holding the child’s gently and they finally stood at the bottom step looking up at me.
Finally, I was able to speak after the shock of their torn and grimy clothes worn over equally dirty bodies. I asked them to please come in because I would ring the bell in thirty (30) minutes. The children on the school ground were too busy to notice the surprise of the day.
The woman’s name was Helen Woodward and the little girl was her granddaughter, they moved to the Gap two days before and they had very little she said: “We stayed in an old house that no one wants, and we do not have any money for Holly’s school clothes or for food. I came looking to stay with my sister, but she died years ago; I just found out.” Mrs. Woodward dried her eyes on a dirty ragged sleeve which smeared the dirt worse on her wrinkled face.
This morning got the prize for being the biggest first day of school shocker---my brothers Matthew and Mark just walked in to check on their sister---thank God and green apples they did. I took Holly and Miss Helen (as she asked me to call her) ---to my desk and gave them my lunch.
While they ate I told Matthew and Mark her story. It seems Holly’s mother went missing years ago and no one knew who Holly’s father was and if he even knew he was a father. Well, this was right up my sweet brothers' big hearts, and they said do not worry my darling sister we will take care of everything.
They took both Miss Helen and Holly and I smiled at being bless with such great men as brothers in my life. What goes around comes back to love you as I always hear them tell me over and again.
I rang the bell for the first day of school to begin and I received inundations of love from each child as they walked into the little school-house with greetings and hugs. Then I began to call the roll and to my great joy everyone was present.
Just before lunch as everyone was doing their writing assignments---a loud knock cause me to drop my chalk and it broke into pieces. One of the children picked it up for me. And when I looked up a very handsome blond-haired man was looking down at me; it seemed that time stood still as we both just looked and did not move; until the children started giggling.
I then smiled and offered my hand and told him my name; and waited for him to reply---as his light blue eyes seems glued to my face. Suddenly, he spoke: “I am sorry for being so rude, but I was expecting a much older teacher since everyone told me of the different grades you were teaching and how the end of the year grades excelled the ones in the larger cities.”
“I am Andrew MacThomas, the new lawyer in the Gap, your brothers someone told me would be here this morning and I wanted to meet them. Are they young also?”
I evidently was hanging on his every word as one of my children said: “Teacher is it lunch time?”
I could feel my face getting warm as I walked to the top step and rang the lunch time bell; then stood to watch the children as they went to the picnic tables for lunch.
I thought as I turned to enter the room; what else could happen today. Then happily I found out. It seemed Andrew as he told me to call him was here to begin a new business and hope to add stores for the Gap, such as grocery stores, clothing and shoe stores, but he had to meet with my brothers first. Matthew and Mark owned most of the land in the Gap so one would need to talk with them about any new venture.
Andrew took my hand and said he would like to see me later for tea and he would bring it to the school-house for an after school treat. I just shook my head and smiled up at him and he seemed paralyzed, because he was not moving. Then he looked deeply in my eyes and turned and walked down the school steps into the mountain woods.
I rang the bell for the children to return to their seats and the afternoon flew by until the clock said it was time to ring my---school is out bell. And then I was alone with the lessons to prepare for tomorrow; and to straighten the classroom and put the first lesson of the morning on the board for the five year old children to review their vowels.
When I finished I turned around and there stood my two brothers and Andrew with big smiles on their face. Needless to say Andrew and I did not have tea; because of an invitation to Mark’s house for dinner.
Dear Diary I am so tired I will tell you later.
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