Zion School ( Allies Frog
Pond ) was located in Lucas County, Iowa about 5 miles east of
Williamson, and about 25 yards from the west side of Cedar Creek.
During heavy rains the Cedar would overflow and back up into the
School yard. When the creek subside it would leave a pond that would
remain for day's. This is where the name Frog Pond came from. I
attended School here from 1938 to 1947. Zion was a typical one room
School of the era. There was a enclosed entry way where coats,
overshoes, dinner bucket's and personal belongings was stored. As
with a lot of School's Zion housed a large cast iron bell in a
belfry located on top of the School. The Teacher would ring the bell
to start class in the morning via a rope attached to the bell. The
other end of the rope was protruding through the ceiling in the
entryway. If you was tall enough to reach the rope you might get
picked to ring in the day. Some times an over eager bell ringer
would pull to hard and turn the bell up side down. When this
happened one of the older boys would get to climb up on the roof and
right the bell. I know for sure this was done on purpose just to
prolong the starting of School.
Long dresses and Overalls...
There was no School dress code. The girls
wore long dresses and most of the boys wore bib overalls. I have
read and heard stories of kids coming to school with out shoes but I
don't remember anyone coming to Zion with out shoes. You wore the
same pair so long you would ware holes in the soles. We would cut
card board from the back of our tablets and place it in the shoe to
cover the hole. When it come to hair cuts Most of the boys got a
trim at home. I recall some of the boys coming to school with what
we called a bowl cut. A parent would place a bowl on top of the kids
head and trim around it. this produced some very interesting sites
to say the least. I was lucky. I always got a hair cut at a barber
shop in Chariton for 50 cents. This included a neck shave and
liberal dose of Red Tiger hair oil that had a great smell.
Primary to 8th...
through the 8th grade was taught at Zion. There were 8 row's
of desk. Some of the desk were double, two students occupied each
one. You could choose your partner as long as you maintained the
quite rule. Each row represented a grade except primary. they sat in
the 1st grade section. The teacher sat at the front of the room and
faced the students. If you needed help with your lesson you would
hold your hand up and the teacher would have you come up to her desk
or she would come to you. A blackboard covered most of the wall
behind her desk. Assignments for the various class's to solve was
entered in chalk on the board. You were required to work the
problems on your tablet and turn the work in as soon as it was
completed. The work was graded and returned to you with a grade
interred at the top of the page. Grades ranged from A to F with a
variance of plus or minus for each grade. A of course, was the
highest and F was a failing grade
writing, arithmetic, geography and penmanship was the required
studies at Zion. Teachers earned around $40.00 a month or less. Not
much when you conceder they were responsible for educating your
The blackboard was also used for punishment of
rule infractions. A circle was drawn on the blackboard with chalk.
The disruptive student to be punished would have to place his or her
nose in the circle for a time prescribed by the Teacher. I recall
some students that was exceptional disruptive or repeat offenders,
be required to stand on their tip toes to reach the circle with
their nose. Other forms of correction came from a paddle with holes
in it. the idea of the holes was to raise welts on your back side. A
quick and effective attention getter was a rap on your hand with a
A large hexagon shaped clock with a pendulum hung on the wall over
the blackboard. When class was in season you could hear the tic, toc
of the clock. With The hush of the room and the sound of the clock
it was hard not to fall asleep on a warm summer day. If you did fall
asleep the teacher would slip around behind you and drop a large
book on the floor. Talk about waking up. I recall students
jumping right out of their seat. A picture of George Washington and
Abraham Lincoln hung on the wall on each side of the clock.
...At least twice a year the School would host a
School play. One end of the main room would be cleared of desk and
used for the stage and two dressing room's. the stage and room's was
configured with large Curtin panels suspended from the ceiling. All
students were required to participate. Skits, plays and singing was
on the program. We practiced and rehearsed our parts two weeks
before the event. These events were very popular in the community.
On the night of the play all the parents brought their favorite
dish. After the program was over the food was laid out on long
tables and everyone dived in. No fancy dishes, just good old down to
earth country cooking. Meatloaf, sausage, casserole's, pie's
and cake's of every description.
COAL OIL LAMPS...
... hung on the wall's between the 8 window's. they were used for
night time activities, such as School play's and School board
meeting's which was always held at night. In the back of the room
was a huge coal stove for heating. In winter the Teacher was
required to arrive before the students and have the School warm when
they arrived. The stove was also used to keep our dinner hot. In the
winter each family would take turns preparing a hot meal for all the
school. It was always a one dish meal like soup stew or a casserole.
This was a double treat for me when it was our turn. I would get to
ride to school. Other wise like everyone else, I walked or rode a
horse. In warm weather each student would bring their own lunch. A
Kayro syrup bucket was a popular lunch pail. Some had store bought
dinner buckets and others used paper sack's. Lunched consisted
of sandwiches made of peanut butter, butter and sorghum, egg
and some times spam if you could afford it. Hard boiled egg's was in
a lot lunch pail's as everyone raised chickens.
...We played outdoor games
weather permitting. Ante-over was one of the favorite We would toss
a baseball over the top of the School and someone on the other side
would try to catch it. Baseball, tag-your-it and red-light,
green-light was other favorite outdoor game's. There was no
...Water was supplied from a well with an old
cast iron pump. Everyone that could carry a bucket full took
turns pumping drinking water. The bucket sat on a cupboard in the
Alco. A long handle dipper was keep in the bucket and everyone
drank out of the dipper. Now, It's hard to believe that everyone
didn't come down with cold's or flue at same time. However, I don't
recall the School ever having a out breaker of illness. In the
summer time when it was hot we drank right from the pump. You would
hold your hand over the spout with one hand and pump with the other
or some one would pump for you. the water coming from the well was
so cold it would hurt your hand and your teeth. A real treat on a
hot summer day.
The boy's liked to play pranks on the girl's. One
of the favorites was to slip behind the girl's toilet after
observing someone entering. Take a board or large club and strike
the back of the toilet as hard as they could. This would normally
produce ( to the delight of everyone watching ) an ear piercing
scream from the victim inside. Sometimes the victim would come
charging out of the toilet still in the process of pulling her
clothes up. Then the old, thumb tack on the seat. This trick was
usually perpetrated when someone would leave their seat for a brief
period during class. The tack would be placed on the vacant seat.
When the person returned and sat down the normally quite room was
shattered with an outburst of pain, startling everyone including the
Teacher and producing roaring laughter from everyone.
I recall having 3
Teachers during my 8 years at Zion. Regina Scieszinski, Cleta Hall
and Phyllis Davis in that order. Regina administered my first and
only spanking with the previously described paddle with the holes in
it. not counting an occasional whacking on the hands with a
ruler. I don't remember how long I had each Teacher except
Phyllis. She was my 8th grade teacher and my last year at Zion.
Phyllis loaned me her car, a green Studebaker to take my driving
test for my drivers licenses. I think it was 1941 Commander. It was
the first time I drove it but some how I managed to pass the first
time. I was 14.