Before I Forget ...
(The following schoolday recollections are from Roy Vail's "Before I Forget." Mr. Vail, a noted antique collector, historian and gunsmith, has been kind enough to allow the WARWICK VALLEY DISPATCH to publish excertpts from the book in its current issues. We're sure pupils and parents looking forward to the start of another school year will enjoy the account of a one-room school.)
Since we are so isolated in the little old country school we hardly ever got sick or had colds or sore throats. (It wasn't until we went to Warwick schools that we got the measles, mumps, and tonsilitis.) On the boys side of the school there was a ledge of rocks that left only a couple of feet of room between them and the school. The boys brought picks and shovels and crowbars and at noon recess we'd work away on those rocks and actually removed another two feet. We took pleasure in working and accomplishing something.
We had a coal stove at the school and Melvin had the contract with the teacher to take care of the stove. It only had 3 legs and a brick for the 4th leg. Two of us had to hold the stove while Melvin shook it. Finally another leg broke and the trustee bought us another brick. It was so wobbly, it was dangerous. Finally someone said when I say the word give it a shove which we did and over it went and broke in two in the middle. Coals came out on the floor and we were really scared. We got the water pail and put the coals out. Abbie Riggs who wore glasses sat just in back of the stove and the pipe opened right over her head and dumped a gallon of soot all over her. Her face and hair were black except around her glasses. She was the funniest sight I ever saw. We has a vacation for 3 or 4 days until the trustees got another stove but it was good and safe to use. I suppose today we'd be classed as juvenile delinquents.
Nick, the ice cream man, would come with his horse and candy wagon every Thursday and we'd go down to Drews Corner and buy Cracker Jacks or ice cream cones from him. Most of us only had a few cents to spend. On the corner there used to be a cabinet maker called J. Bloom and the corner was called Blooms Corners and the road is known as Blooms Road. He was a fine cabinet maker much before my time or my father's time or grandfather's. He specialized in finelight graceful Windsor chairs, arm chairs with a continuous arm some of which he branded J. Bloom. The early ones had nice deep bulbous turnings and later he used the bamboo turnings. I don't know how long he worked but I have receipted bills dating back to 1800 and one of 1830 where he sued a man in Warwick for six wooden chairs.
At the school there was a big fat boy that none of us like very much. He's hold me at the foot of the hill after school until my brother got out of sight over the hill and get me crying. Then he'd let me go. He'd pull his sister's hair at lunch time and when she crying he'd steal her cake. One day we were skaking on the ice and one of the boys said when the bell rings all jump on him and pummel him good. He had his skates on and couldn't get after us. He was late that noon and had to stay in after school and that us a chance to get home. The next day he took it out on some of us until we told him if he didn't quit we'd all jump him again. He went Warwick in a couple of years and we were one big happy family again. After Miss Wood, Miss Jones came, then Dora Brooks from Chester. I don't know who followed her as we went to Warwick with our neighbors, the Howells. We'd drive one week and they'd drive the next. We'd put our horse up at Van Nesses livery stable in the rear of the Dispatch building. On real cold wintry days we were so cold we couldn't unbuckle the harness but Uncle Lewis would be there or father or the hired man. Then a few years later Mr. Howell got a Motel T and took us to school. We'd walk over there and home too. It was about a mile. We'd wait at the bakery near West Street, Bantas or in Mr. Sayre's store where the Masonic
building stands now. A fine man, the father of Dr. Harry Sayre and grandfather of our fine Dr. Sayre, II, now practicing. Petere Rhode's barber shop was next door. He did taxidemy work and we'd be fascinated by the small animals and birds. It was here I first saw a mounted passenger pigeon, that I had heard about so much about, red breast and real long tail.
It was the winter of 1914 that Tommy Scanlon and I sent to Sears Roebuck for a 6' pair of hickory skis. We had a lot of fun with them. Tommy read when you waxed them they's run much faster. He had no wax so put lard on them and when he tried them he couldn't move. He had to scrape it off so he use them. There were no bindings. Just a strap with iron uprights. I think we paid $3.50 a pair for them and the express was 35 cents. I had them for my children to learn on. When a camper and his borrowed them, they couldn't stop at the foot of the hill so they put coal ashes in the trial so they could stop. What the ashes did to those skis was really unbelievable.
This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated August 30, 1978. At this point in time I think Roy Vail was living at the house on Sutton Road. The Blooms Corner School was at the corner of Blooms Corner Road and Drew Road. Article used with permission.
Many of the transcriptions found here are now in published form. They have been published by the Orange County Genealogical Society (in Goshen, New York). Volume 3 includes my Volume 3 and Volume 5. Volume 4 includes my four parts of New Milford history. There is a planned Volume 5, which will include my Volumes 6, 7, and 8, Part 1, which is about 250 transcriptions. They can be purchase through the Genealogical Society. Just Google them and print out the order form. Or they can be purchased from the Warwick Historical Society. They are also on sale at the gift shop at Baird's Tavern. I would like to thank the Genealogical Society and Dan Burrows for their efforts. Started a new blog for images of Warwick. Go to: www.imagesofwarwicknewyork.blogspot.com.