vermont historical society link HISTORY PROJECT LINK INFORMATION LINK

Welcome to Our World
On Eagle Ledge
Back in a Dream
Traveling Back to
Maxham’s Store
Life on Eagle Ledge
Dear Diary
Time Traveling
Farming in Worcester
The Pratt Road Farms
Back When It Was Simpler
Back in the Olden Days
The Amazing Bike Ride

Back When It Was Simpler

house photoI'm going to tell you about the Minister Brook School and what it was like to go there as an everyday student. Let us travel back in time to the early nineteen hundreds, where it is almost 8:00 and we are close to getting to school.

On a lovely winter morning the snow is crunching under our feet and… "We better get to school, it starts in ten minutes and we are going to be late if we do not hurry," I said over the crunch of snow. Nine minutes later, my sister and I went through the schoolyard fence and onto the grounds to play games with the other children for a half hour morning recess. We saw George Richardson taking water from the spring to bring into school for us to drink, and Walter Martin bringing in firewood for the stove.

This is a picture of Calvin and his wagon and team.
wagon photo
Minister Brook School interior "No electricity and no flash" for the camera, according to Margaret Hatch's caption in her album
old house photo

After recess we went inside and said the Pledge of Allegiance, which everyone had fully memorized. Our teacher then read to us for about a half an hour. While we went through the rest of our classes, I thought about what I would like to have for dinner. I thought that we might have green beans or maybe squash from the garden. We harvested it in the fall.

"Time to clean up and go home for dinner children," the teacher said so suddenly that it startled me! In less than five minutes, everyone was cleaned up and ready to walk home for our noon dinner.

snow photoDuring the time we were walking home, I thought about my sister and if she would want to ride down the hill on the sled. In the morning, she was too scared to go down. Maybe she would not be now, but I doubted it.

Sooner than I thought, we were home and I could smell the sweet smell of freshly baked bread. Mom had made bread, baked beans and cookies. Our walk home from school had taken a good portion of our dinner hour, so we had to eat our food on the return to school. We hugged Mom goodbye and slid down the hill with our lunch wrapped in a towel.

Wait a minute, we?!

"So you finally decided to go down that hill on a sled?" I asked my sister when we had finished dinner and were approaching the school.

"I guess my fear of falling off the sled has subsided," she said proudly.

When we got back to school, we had only two minutes before our studies started again. We finally went out for recess when, SMACK!

"Snowball fight!" one of the eighth graders yelled. All of a sudden, everyone was making snowballs, so my sister and I happily joined in. After the ten-minute snowball fight, everyone's cheeks were as pink as my uncles' newborn pigs.

As we were all getting ready for history, I realized it was my turn to read to the class. I took out my worn book, stepped in front of the teacher's desk and read about Christopher Columbus and the Indians. When I was done reading, it was Pauline Richardson's turn.

Though I should have listened, I found it hard to pay attention, for I was thinking about the box social that happened three months before. At these socials, the girls each made a dinner box of delicious food, while the boys bid on them. The highest bidder for each box shared the food with the girl that prepared it. One of the boys from our school got sprayed by a skunk and had to go home to change his clothes. Although it wasn't a big story, it made the newspaper!

social photo
mother & child photo


Following our history period, I was thinking about the time when George Richardson and Walter Martin were throwing a beanbag back and forth behind the teacher's back while she was writing on the chalkboard. When it flew right through the window, George quickly said it must have been a bird, so no one got in trouble.

Bedroom at Thelma Howieson Healy's home.
family photo
Dolena & Earlene Dailey at their family home on Pratt Road.
family photo

With all my daydreaming, our 15-minute work period seemed like 1 minute, and I got very little of my work done! Likewise, by the time my sister and I had walked home, done chores, eaten supper and were all snug in bed, it seemed like only 15 minutes. There was so much to do, that time flew by.

students photo

As you can see, the life back then may have seemed simple. Simple, that is, compared to the craziness of today's world. Though we have many conveniences of modern times, I would prefer to live back then. The earth was treated better, there was no television, children read more, a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle was always home, and families were much closer. Life back then just seemed much better. As time changes, everything from Mother Earth to families to education are affected.

I would like to say a thank you to the people that gave me the information to write this story about Worcester in its older days. My thanks to Thelma Healey, Pauline Richardson Utton, George Richardson and Harold Richardson.

Thelma Howieson Healey, at her home, with Emily D. & Chianna Simonetta C.
group photo
Pauline Richardson Utton and George Richardson with George's granddaughter, Tanya, and Ethan T., Brett F., & Chianna, after an interview in our classroom.
ducks photo

Thanks also to Harold and June Richardson for sharing the photograph album Margaret Hatch made of her teaching days at Minister Brook School.