Friday, August 10, 2012

A History Lesson from Dad

Move your pointer over the photo’s for additional information.

This past week has been most exciting for me. The reason, a walk with my father through history.

Dad at 85. He was just 5 when he entered that door for the first time.

It started last Sunday afternoon. His elementary school was open to the public for viewing. He was excited to be able to take 3 of his 4 children on a tour of the one room school house. He pointed out the several areas of the school house, not only to us, but the local “historian” that took notes of what he was telling about the school house. I guess it’s not often that they get to meet someone that actually went to the school AND can still remember vividly where things were located.

Dad attended this school house from 1932-1937. Five grades were taught in this one room school house.

Many of the desks were not original, but for display purposes only. They did have the desks aligned properly however.  A large square coal burning stove was located to the far left at the rear of the school room. Looking toward the rear of the room to the far right is where the restroom was located. With no running water back then, Dad had some interesting stories about how the restroom was taken care of. Disappointed smile

A look toward the front of the School House.

A look toward the rear of the class room.

The main entrance at the front of the building is no longer used. The back door is used today for visitations. It was a very memorable experience for me to actually walk on the same wooden floors that my father did when he first stepped foot into the building to attend Kindergarten in 1932


This Historical Plaque stands in front of the “Bunert One Room School House”.

Dad mentioned that on Thursday afternoon at 4 PM, the “Two Room School House” will be dedicated and that he was invited to attend the ceremony. I asked if I could go with him, his smile on his face said it all. “Of course you can come, I can tell you everything I remember about that building also”. I looked forward to spending some quality time with my Dad on Thursday.

I arrive at Dad’s house to pick him up at 3:30 PM. We arrive at the “Two Room School House” at 3:45 PM. There were only about a dozen people there. Only one other person, a “Lady” as I’ll refer to her as we didn’t get her name, attended the dedication ceremony that went to school in the “Two Room School House”.  (Her Photo Below)

The Two Room School House. Grades 5 thru 8. The main entrance, inside to the right was the 5th & 6th grade, to the left the 7th. and 8th. grade.

This Two Room School House was built in 1927 and closed in 1944.


The photo above taken in 1936 with all the kids attending both the “One Room School” and the “Two Room School” Dad is in the front row, 4th. from the left. He was just 9 years old in this photo.

As we entered the building Dad would point out how the building was divided into two rooms. They needed to separate the 5th and 6th grades from the 7th and 8th grades.

The post was originally a wall seperating the building into two rooms. Dad is standing in the doorway of the 7 and 8th grade side. The 5th and 6th grade was to his right on the other side of the wall that is no longer there.

The "furnace room" now used to be where 2 coal stoves were located. One on each side of the divider wall.

Dad went to this “Two Room School House” from 1938 and finished his 8th grade in 1942. Just two years later in 1944, the “Two Room School House” was closed. The O’Conner family purchased the building and converted it to “Maple Grove Hall”. I found out this day that one of the women reading the history of the building during the dedication was the Grand Daughter of the couple that bought the building. She being an O’Conner married into our family. She addressed my dad as Uncle Fred! How cool is that!

The Mayor of the City of Warren unveiling the Historical Plaque.

One of the first things the O’Conner family did was remove the center wall which separated the building into two rooms. This made for a large single room building. Perfect for the purpose of having large gatherings, like Square Dancing, which was popular back then.

Dad and the Lady were the only two students that attended. The man on the far right is a relative of the lady.

Now fast forward to the year 1947. Dad used to attend those Square Dances every week. I guess you could say the Maple Grove Hall was the local hang out. That is where he met my Mother. They danced to the live band every week having a great time together. Dad did mention that the Hall now looked quite smaller than he remembered.  With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, he pointed out where the Live Band would be, and how he and mom used to Square Dance for hours until their feet hurt. In 1949 they married. I came along, their first born child, 15 months later in 1950.

The new "Historical Plaque" Dedication on August 9, 2012

Once again I felt so privileged to be able to walk in the same building that my Dad went to school in. As a special bonus, the same building that my Mom and Dad met in! As he talked about the days gone by, I could almost picture myself there with him. What a very special time I had with my Dad. A special time I will cherish forever!

Until next time, be Safe and God Bless.


  1. Now those are some very special days! How lucky you are to have experienced them with your Dad. :)

  2. You are very fortunate Fred to have your dad share this memory with you. Cherish the things he tells you, and find out as much as you can about him. What a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    1. Karen, as you know with us growing up so close, I wasn't very close to Dad. He always seemed distant. Maybe it was just me. But I do cherish the time I have with him now. I guess trying to make up for lost time.

  3. That is so special for both of you.