Jump to content
Mervyn The Hired Hand

The Christmas Schoolhouse

Recommended Posts

Mervyn The Hired Hand

My mother’s Dad lived on a small dairy farm in the hilly country of southern upstate New York, and there was an old one-room schoolhouse on the farm where kids of all ages from nearby farm families were taught by my Grandma. Over the years, the schoolhouse fell into disrepair, and the local school board met repeatedly to try and figure out how to fix it.

As usual, the principal issue was money. Nobody wanted to spend any more than they had to, so when one of them proposed to build a new schoolhouse, that idea came in the front door and went out the window, as Grandma used to say. This happened repeatedly, until a vote was taken by the school board turning down the proposal to build a new schoolhouse.

Eventually, the school board had a showdown. Meeting in the schoolhouse on Christmas day, discussion among school board members was opened by one of them complaining that the roof leaked, saying it needed repairs. Arguing if they couldn’t have a new schoolhouse, at least they should keep the kids dry, Granddad made a motion to repair the roof. After lengthy discussion of the least expensive way to do this, a vote was taken and they agreed to shingle the roof.

Spying a glimmer of opportunity, Granddad noted many of the windows were cracked or broken, causing heat loss in winter and making it difficult to keep the kids warm. A motion was made to repair or replace all the cracked or broken windows. After lengthy discussion, a vote was taken and they agreed to repair the windows.

This lead to discussion of the inadequacy of the old wood stove used to heat the one-room schoolhouse. Noting the hinges on the door to the stove were broken, Granddad moved to replace the old wood stove with a new coal burning stove. After some discussion, a vote approved this proposal.

Looking down at the old, worn wooden floor of the schoolhouse, one board member noted the cracks between the boards were getting large enough to let bugs and mice in, and a lot of heat out in winter. A motion was made to replace the floor of the schoolhouse, and a majority voted in favor of it.

Next the wooden board and batten walls came under scrutiny, because the old newspapers that had been pasted across the gaps between the boards were peeling off as the wood shrank and the gaps got wider, allowing cold winter air in. A motion was made to insulate the walls and cover the insulation with drywall on the inside. After lengthy discussion, a vote of the school board approved this motion.

The entryway to the schoolhouse was through a small mudroom with an old, cracked wooden door hanging from one hinge so it was hard for kids to open and close securely. With kids coming and going, the door was often partly open, letting heat out and cold air in. Granddad moved the entryway be enlarged and a coat room added with a new double door, and the motion was passed.

The hour was getting late when Granddad reviewed what the schoolboard had done during the meeting, totaled up the estimated costs, and suggested all the repairs might cost more than building a new schoolhouse. Then he made a motion to build a new schoolhouse, saying it would be less expensive to build a new one than to repair the old one. The motion was passed unanimously. Eventually, a new schoolhouse was built. My grandparents and most of their kids are long deceased, but the little one-room Christmas schoolhouse where my Grandma taught my Granddad to read still stands.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Drosselmeyer

that was fun - thanks for sharing

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Felix Estridge

Something about "not seeing the forest for the trees."

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Santa Bill Reiller

Great story!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Hubcity Santa

Wonderful story, thanks for sharing it for us to enjoy!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Mervyn The Hired Hand

Thank you so much for your comments. It's all true. Interesting to me how many fine stories seem to revolve around the holidays. Maybe its the mood people feel then, the spirit of the season? Seems so to me. Many fond memories from long ago, and even recently.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
  • Similar Content

    • Drosselmeyer
      By Drosselmeyer
      came across this discussion of history involving traditions, lore, media and marketing - part history and part social science -  it is interesting how they interpret the legend in terms of what was popular at the time and some of the ethnic histories that evolved to create the image we have today . . . 
      10 DECEMBER, 2017 - 13:56 JIM WILLIS Santa the Shaman Comes to the New World: The Shapeshifting Magic-Man from the Ancient Past
      In 1626, a ship filled with folks from the Netherlands put into what would later be called New York Harbor and went about building a Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. The figurehead on the prow of their ship was none other than the patron saint of sailors, Saint Nicholas. The Dutch called him "Sinter Claes."  Thus, "Santa Claus" came to the new world.

      Saint Nicholas ( Public Domain )
      But he almost disappeared as quickly as he settled in. He remained a part of American holiday traditions for only thirty-eight years. Then the new colony was ceded to England, changed its name to New York, and became inundated with an English population who knew nothing of "Sinter Claes" and despised what they considered to be pagan traditions surrounding the winter solstice.
      Raising Santa From the Dead
      It took more than a hundred and fifty years to raise the figure of Santa Claus from the dead here in America, and it required a historian, a poet, a cartoonist, and a marketing department to do it.  To greatly simplify a convoluted story, it happened like this:        (to read the whole article see link below...)
      Source - - - https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/santa-shaman-comes-new-world-shapeshifting-magic-man-ancient-past-009255
    • Black River Santa
      By Black River Santa
      Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was born on this day in 1840, in Votkinsk, in the Russian Empire. Though he never played Santa Claus, the score he wrote for the two-act ballet, “The Nutcracker,” adapted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," is part of our collective Christmas soundtrack, and attending a stage performance is an annual family tradition for many during the holiday season. I know this has to be a @Drosselmeyer favorite!

    • Black River Santa
      By Black River Santa
      Santa Claus Flew a Piper Cub
      By Black River Santa
      On Christmas Eve 1944, the beleaguered American defenders holding the little Belgian town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, were low on everything except courage. An airdrop the day before had brought in some supplies but the few, exhausted medics, who tended to wounded GIs in dank cellars throughout the town, had no penicillin and damn little of anything else. When the Germans surrounded the town on December 19, they captured nearly all of the medical personnel and supplies. According to one trooper named Ernie Cummings, who was there with the 101st Airborne, the handful of medics had no choice but to amputate the growing number of gangrenous and frostbitten limbs.
      Back at headquarters, they were frantically trying to get medical supplies through to Bastogne but the foul weather ruined any hopes for another airdrop. Instead, they turned in desperation to some of the smallest members of the massive American air armada – the single-prop, unarmed Piper Cub L-4s, known affectionately as “grasshoppers.” The Piper Cub was designed in the 1930s and was a popular civilian sport plane. During the war, it was used for reconnaissance flights and made an ideal spotter plane for artillery and armor, but the slow-moving, low-flying, grasshoppers were also vulnerable to all types of ground fire.
      At the 28th Division HQ, volunteers were requested from the ranks of the Piper Cub pilots that spotted for the division artillery. The men were told that they would fly in at night and face heavy enemy fire. They were also warned that there was no airstrip near Bastogne to land on, and no lights to guide them in. Every one of the plucky grasshopper pilots stepped forward to volunteer. One, who insisted the loudest and most adamantly, was a young lieutenant from Far Hills, New Jersey named Kenneth B. Schley, Jr.
      As the tiny planes were loaded with vital penicillin, the weather worsened and an icy fog began to envelop the airfield. Back at HQ, the brass was beginning to have second thoughts, and shortly aftr the planes took off, they aborted the mission. Kenneth Schley had anticipated the recall, so as a precaution, he turned off his radio so that there would be no turning back. Alone, he bounced along through the frigid, starless night relying on his compass to guide him to Bastogne. Along the way he dodged bursts of flak, machine gun tracers, small arms fire, and anything else the enemy could throw at him.
      After 30 minutes under intense fire, Schley finally reached Bastogne. As warned, he couldn’t see any lights or signs of a landing strip. He buzzed the town several times, swooping down to rooftop level and gunning his engines hoping to be heard but there was still no sign. Determined to get the supplies through at any cost, he decided to crash land. Just then, a double row of flashlights flickered on below, outlining a makeshift landing strip. For the astonished troopers of the 101st Airborne, it was as if old St. Nick had dropped in himself. For the wounded lying in the cellars of the surrounded and besieged town, there couldn’t have been a better Christmas present.
      Schley spent the night in one of crowded cellars. He was so impressed with the tenacity of the men of the 101st, he tried to enlist the next morning. When he was told that it was appreciated but not possible, he decided to get back to work. Against the advice of his new comrades and superior officers, Schley hopped back into his Piper Cub on Christmas morning and flew back over enemy lines to his unit. For his “gallantry and complete disregard for personal safety” that foggy Christmas Eve, Kenneth B. Schley, Jr. was awarded the Silver Star.
        
      Lt. Kenneth B. Schley, Jr. (left). A Piper Cub L-4 Grasshopper (right)
  • Donations

    All donations go directly towards the cost of hosting and running ClausNet!

    Your support, through donations or simply by clicking on sponsor links, is greatly appreciated!

    Donate Sidebar by DevFuse
  • Our picks

    • If You Have the Post Christmas Blues You’re Doing Christmas Wrong
      The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not?

      Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days.
        • Like
      • 25 replies
    • Auld Lang Syne
      Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
        • Wow
        • Like
      • 2 replies
    • Merry Christmas, My Friend
      Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”.

      However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt.

      Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.

      That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
        • Sad
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
    • Is it time to start calling out Bad Santas?
      Is it time to start calling out Bad Santas?

      Do you think we should start calling out those in our community whose actions or behavior is unbecoming of Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus?
        • Wow
        • Like
      • 94 replies
    • Backlash Building Against The Man Who Invented Christmas
      Backlash Building Against The Man Who Invented Christmas

      ChristmasWeekly.com
      September 7, 2017

      EXCERPT:

      There is a new Christmas movie headed to theaters this Christmas about Charles Dickens about his creation of A Christmas Carol and Christmas purists hate it. Already.

      The film has a stellar cast that features the dreamy-eyed Dan Stevens as Dickens and the legendary Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Here is the trailer:

      “This is a very presumptuous film,” said Christmas fan and would-be film critic, Arnold Yates, via MSN. “Charles Dickens was great but he certainly didn’t invent Christmas. Bah Humbug!”

      That sentiment is growing online as the preview makes the rounds.
        • Confused
        • Like
      • 14 replies
    • Seeking recognition
      Seeking recognition is a downward path for a legend who performs his tasks in the veil of night.

      Recently, a fellow portrayer of Santa posted an image on Facebook that they constructed to look like a magazine cover with him on it and several story snips like many publications have on their covers.  You may have seen it if they are your friend on Facebook.  It looks okay.  The composition is good, but the rendering when uploading it to Facebook became distorted it and it is quite pixelated when you look at it from a development standpoint.
        • Love
        • Like
      • 13 replies
    • Not Everyone Can Be Santa!
      Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
    • Are you the 'real' Santa?
      How do you answer this question?

      "Are you the 'real' Santa?"

      Read all the replies...
      • 91 replies
    • Infringement? Make up your own mind.
      In the last couple of days, on several different social media and bidding sites, an item has been offered for sale that in my opinion is cause for suspicion.  I would like to bring that product to your attention.

      There is some disagreement over whether or not it is an infringement or not.  I believe it is close enough to be considered as an infringement, but that is not the only the reason behind my post.
        • Like
      • 32 replies
    • Why Bass Pro Shops’ longtime Santa won’t be back this Christmas
      Why Bass Pro Shops’ longtime Santa won’t be back this Christmas

      Christmas is going to be a little different this year for families whose traditions include visiting Santa at Bass Pro Shops. Paul Davis, who spent the last nine years as the Bass Pro Santa in Ashland, will not be there anymore.
        • Sad
        • Like
      • 98 replies
About | Forums | Blogs | Newsletter | Contact


© 2019 MJR Group. LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Copyright IP Policy

Proud affiliate of My Merry Christmas!

Subscribe to the ClausNet Gazette

Enter your email address to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

About ClausNet

The ClausNet community is the largest social network and online resource for Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Reindeer Handlers, and Santa helpers for the purposes of sharing stories, advice, news, and information.
×
×
  • Create New...