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Down Memories Lane

By Mrs. Grace Dean

March 22, 1938

 

I visited the Wakefield school today,

Where I went in days of yore

And many were the strange faces I met,

As we gathered about the door.

 

I could not find my same old seat

A new one was in it’s place;

But I looked again at our teacher’s desk

Close by the old book case.

 

The teacher taught by methods new,

Learned in a Teacher’s Training School;

While I learned, “readin”, ‘ritin’ & ‘rithmetric’,

Taught by the old rule.

 

I thought of the old clock on the wall,

That ticked our years away;

It seemed to be those hands turned back-

Back to my very “first day”.

 

I saw no more those faces strange,

The teacher and all that was new,

But into my mind a picture loomed-

I’ll try to repaint it to you.

 

I saw again, the forest wild,

Waving hemlock and stately pine.

I heard the drumming as a partridge flew

From the nest we never could find.

 

Three settlers cabins nestled,

Where bears and deer roamed about;

Each glowed with a glad warm welcome,

The “Latch-string’s” always “Hung Out”

 

Before we could be a school district,

We must have three “on the board”;

At least eight for enrollment

Then a school we could afford.

 

Thomas Wakefield was the director,

The school still bears his name,

And from his log cabin

Half of the enrollment came.

 

Mr. Ferris was the Treasurer,

“First settler” was his rank,

And from his log cabin came

Willie, Ina, Lewis and Frank

 

Jacob Shad was the other,

A bachelor in that early day,

And only just this winter

They laid his body away.

 

The year was eighteen eighty-six,

As you can easily see

How we could build a school house

By the usual “neighbor-hood-bee”.

 

Before the school was completed,

From the city to our woods country came

A young fellow bringing his family,

McCarty was his name.

 

To most of us, it’s important, when

To school we first trudge away;

But out-standing in our school history

Is the first time we had a “Last Day”.

 

We thought we’d have a picnic

Over by Ferris’s in the woods,

And in those old market baskets

Our mothers brought the real goods.

 

The men built a large platform

For the program underway,

John Maywood and Elmer Johnson

Were the guest speakers of the day.

 

John Wakefield with a yolk of oxen,

Hitched to an old fashioned dray,

Brought the only organ in the district,

That our program might be gay.

 

Tom Armstrong and our Geordie

Brought their violins- just by chance;

And while the sun was shining high,

They had a neighborhood dance.

 

The clock on the wall keeps ticking

The years, and our forests have passed,

And with them our log school house;

We come to the brick one at last.

 

The brick was shipped from Bad Axe

In the good old railroad way:
Side tracked down at the crossing

To be hauled some other day.

 

The Wakefields were the masons,

Alex Parks had the carpenter crew,

They were eficient workmen

As everybody knew.

 

And when at last it was finished,

And we marched in, inline,

A prouder lot of youngsters

You could never find.

 

Altho’ I am back at school to-day,

My hair is well nigh gray,

I cannot join the children’s game

Of “Base ball” and “pull-away”.

 

Yet the school house, like a sentinel stands,

O’er it floats the red, white and blue,

May it always stand for America

And al that is right and true.

 

 

Received from Arzell (Shuart) Mills abt. 1993

Ann (McGillivray) Shuart went to this school.