Essay, Research Paper: Education In 1930s

Education

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1) When and where were you born? I was born the 12th of October, 1919 in
Lincoln, VT. Five generations of Purintons have been born and raised in Lincoln.
2) Do/did you have any siblings? I had two brothers, John and George. John was
five years older than me and George was three years older. John died a couple
years ago, but George is still alive and well and living up in West Lincoln
making maple syrup. 3) What did your parents do? My father worked up in the
woods clearing land and he also helped out on a farm. My mother mostly stayed at
home and cooked and cleaned, like most women did in those days. She would often
get together with the ladies from town to bake and sew while sharing the latest
gossip. 4) What were your daily chores? I remember getting up around 5:00 every
morning to go outside and get wood for the fire. There was always plenty of work
for us kids to do. The boys always did the hard labor, for example, the wood.
The girls mostly stayed inside, helping their mother with whatever chores she
needed to have done. We only had three boys in our family, so what I remember
about what girls did is based on what our friend Carol Ann Rose told us. Carol
was two years older than me but she was really good friends with all three of
us. 5) What was a typical day like? Well, like I said, every morning we would
get up at 5:00, especially when it wasn’t a school day. No school meant that
there was more work that needed to be done and we needed to get an early start
on it. One thing that our parents taught us was to spend time with God every
morning and that was the most important thing. After our morning quiet time we
would have a warm breakfast, although some were much bigger than others. We
didn’t have a lot of money growing up. I remember spending a large amount of
the day in school, then coming home and doing chores until dinnertime.
Dinnertime was followed by time we spend reading or listening to the radio
together, most of the reading was from the Good Book (the Bible). The latest I
ever remember staying up during my childhood was 9:00 because we always knew how
early we had to get up the next day. 6) What was the most exciting childhood
event? Most boring? I think that the most exciting event in my childhood was in
1932 when our parents brought us to the World’s Fair in Tunbridge. I remember
having a terrible a terrible stomachache from eating so much of that delicious
food. As far as boredom goes, there was absolutely no time for it. We spent
every moment not in school working. Boredom was not tolerated by our parents. 7)
What did you do with your leisure time? There was very little leisure time, but
what leisure time we did have was spent with the neighbor kids, playing
baseball, going swimming, stuff like that. 8) How did your family celebrate
holidays? Easter and Christmas were the most important holidays in our family.
The mornings of those days were spent in church and reading the Bible. Family
would often come to visit for Christmas. I remember many a white Christmas spent
outside with our cousins from New York throwing snowballs at each other. 9) Did
you have any childhood diseases? I was very fortunate, I was very healthy when I
was young. I had a small case of the measles when I was 10 and had chicken pox
when I was six. Other than that I had a very healthy childhood. 10) Did your
parents keep in touch with their home country? My parents were born and raised
here. A Purinton hasn’t been born outside of Vermont in five generations. 11)
Do you remember anything else about growing up? Only school-related stuff, but I
understand that’s the reason you’re here anyway. 12) What about dating
practices? Our parents were very strict when it came to dating. There was also
very little time for it. PUBLIC SCHOOL EXPERIENCE 1) What elementary schools did
you attend? I went to grammar school in a one-room schoolhouse in Lincoln.
It’s the one right next to where your Aunt Patty lives, I think someone turned
it into a house recently, though. 2) What were the economic conditions at the
time? Well, it was the depression, so there wasn’t a lot of money to be spent
on unnecessary things. Especially in a small Vermont town, people did not have
much money, not like they do now. 3) What was the school like? Well, it was a
one-room schoolhouse with a mudroom as you walked in. When you walked into the
classroom, you saw a big blackboard that stretched across the front of the room,
then there was a furnace directly in the center of the room with four rows of
desks around it. Since it was a small town, we had an outhouse, which was darn
cold in the winter. 4) What were the fun activities at school? We only had a
short recess break, but since the river was right across the road, the teacher
would usually accompany us down to the river to go fishing. 5) What was the
curriculum like? What subjects? What we studied seems to be pretty similar to
what is taught in schools now. The big difference from then and now is that back
when I was a kid, the Bible was first and foremost. Then came the “three
R’s”. 6) How long was your school year? We were in school for about ten
months out of the year. We started at the beginning of September and got out at
the end of June for the summer. It was nice to have the two hottest months of
the year off from school because it gave us a chance go down to the Bartlett’s
Falls swimming hole and jump off the rocks. 7) When did you enter high school?
What was it like? Let’s see, I started going to Bristol High School the year I
turned fifteen. Boy, was that quite a change. It was so big compared to that
tiny little schoolhouse in Lincoln that I attended grammar school in. There were
so many rooms, all having the latest equipment for teaching. It was very
overwhelming at first. What was different about Bristol High School was that all
of the little towns around Bristol that didn’t have high schools like Lincoln,
Starksboro, and Monkton sent their kids to Bristol High School. I liked that a
lot because I made a lot friends from other towns that I would not have met
otherwise. There are many of them that I still talk to to this day. 8) Were
there problems with drugs? What about divorces? People using drugs back then was
unheard of. We had morals back then. The Bible taught us that your body is a
temple and you must no taint it. The same went for divorce. People took the vow
“ ’til death do us part” very seriously. Of course people still did get
divorced, but not as much as they do now. 9) Were there discipline problems?
Dealt with how? You know school is, most of the kids are pretty good, but there
are always some that are a little too rambunctious for there own good. Teachers
preferred corporal punishment to solve behavior problems in the classroom. Most
of the teachers used a ruler on the back of the hand. I remember a few days that
I went home with red knuckles, then got spanked at home for misbehaving in
school. Many teachers made you sit in the corner after the second time you
misbehaved. 10) What educational experience helped you most in life? Studying
the Bible, no two ways about it. Studying the Bible in class helped me develop
morals. I think I grew up to be a well-rounded individual for that reason, and
that’s why so many kids are troublemakers these days. They aren’t brought up
with any morals. 11) Who was your favorite teacher? What was their approach? My
favorite teacher was Mrs. Judith Robinson. She was a very devout Christian
woman. She took pride in her job. She was a very dynamic teacher. She was
concerned for every one of her student’s well being, in and out of the
classroom. We all adored her and admired her. 12) Was cheating a problem? What
about teen pregnancy? I keep saying it again and again. Kids back then had
values, they knew right from wrong, the Bible taught us right and wrong, as well
as our parents. That’s another problem these days, parents just don’t care
about their kids. They take no responsibility. 13) Was there prayer in school?
Darn right we said prayers in school. We started every single day with prayer
time, but the government has gone and taken that away too. And they worry about
the kids in our nations growing up with a poor upbringing and they wonder why.
14) What did you do after school? Sundays? Holidays? I think I talked about
after school earlier. Our parents took the Sabbath very seriously and so did we.
We saw the Sabbath as a day to rest, go to church, and also go home and spend
time with Him. Holidays in the spring and summer were spent working, fishing,
and swimming. On winter holidays we would go up to the old Lincoln ski tow to go
sledding and skiing. 15) How did parents feel about education? College? Parents
back in those days thought school was good to an extent. Work and God were much
more important. Parents realized that their children needed basic knowledge.
They did however see college as completely unnecessary. There was just no use
for it in rural Lincoln. 16) What was the socio-economic status of the students?
Most students were relatively poor that went to school, but there were a few
“well-to-do” kids in the schools. The reason that kids did not go to school
was no so much that they couldn’t afford it, but because it was more necessary
for them to work and support their family. 17) Was there cooperation between
parents and teachers? Absolutely not, parents then had virtually nothing to do
with their child’s education. If there were a school function maybe the
parents would attend. But other than that it was up to the teacher and the
student. 18) Any differences between old/new schools, teachers, etc? Schools are
not as safe as they were. Students just don’t care anymore. The parents try to
make it look like they care. The communities are more developed, even little
towns like Lincoln.

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