Whitesburg KY
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Swinging bridge led to one-room school




I have a lot of fond memories of going to school in a single-room schoolhouse about 2 1/2 miles above Blackey on the River Road. The old building was turned into a church for awhile before its demise, a wonderful way to end its career. Two of the teachers I remember best are Earl Hogg and Eunice “Poss” Bates.

A body had to cross the river on a swinging bridge to get to the school. Many of the kids were afraid of the bridge, afraid it would fall, but it was anchored quite well. Sometimes us over energetic boys would catch a girl or two on the bridge and start jumping up and down on it to scare them because they were afraid of it.

Some of the happiest days of my life were at that little red one-room school, studying hard and playing hard. We didn’t have all the modern teaching material we have today, but we learned the basics skills needed to survive in the world thanks in part to the paddle or board of education and an endless supply of switches. Our schools were destroyed when those were taken out of them. I know they were used excessively in some instances, but for the most part they were a necessity. You would be amazed how much better a student could hear after a good dose of the paddle or switch.

Back then there was only rabbit tobacco (life everlasting) and cornsilks to smoke on the sly and maybe a tidbit of homegrown tobacco. Now we have loco weed or as I call it sometimes, the idiots’ tobacco.

Anyway, back to the little school where all eight grades were taught in the single room by one teacher. Uncle Arch and Aunt Artie Cornett lived just down the track a ways and Ken and Cornelia Cornett lived right below them. You had to go down beside the railroad, crossing it once to get to their houses. On a little knoll after crossing the swinging bridge was Lillie and Bertie Cornett’s house, and a little farther up the valley was Parker and Susan Drake’s house. As you came down the road there was a long driveway on the left, about a quarter mile to Bazil and Arlie Hall’s place. I spent many wonderful nights with them prior to mowing grass the following day.

On up the valley was a house where I spent some happy time also. Charlie Whitaker and his family had lived there also, but Curt and Thelma Halcomb and their family lived there when I spent some happy time with them. All these people I considered my friends, something money can’t buy.

On down the road a piece was a lane which went up to Aunt Annie Hogg’s place. We could go up by her house and down the other side of the ridge and get home quicker, but going from school in the afternoon we were in no hurry to get home and do chores so we usually went down the road past the place of Earl Hogg, one of the teachers, which was the last house till we came to Bill and Grace Caudill’s house. Later Russell Parker and his family lived there, and Dewey Parker and Liz and their family lived right below us.

We lived on the hill above the railroad bridge after the road took our house. A little below us across the tracks the Howard Ison family lived, and below them the Kern Whitaker family lived. Across the river and tracks as you came down the road was George Watts and Sarah’s house, and a little ways below that was Steve and Flora Whitaker’s place. There was no road to either house, only swinging bridges.

Now that I made it home from school that’s all from the funny farm till next time.


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