Klahn account brings back memories

Dear Editor:

I found Barney Klahn’s account of his elementary education very interesting because in many respects it paralleled my own; and I suspect that in most of rural Washington it was typical.

My early years occurred about five years after Barney’s. The layout of our school was similar to his, but our teacher had four years to manage. I still can’t fathom how she did it.

We rode a bus about three miles to our school. The bus then went nine more miles to the “big” school at Eastsound. That school housed twelve grades in one building, with the high school on the second floor. Incidentally, the bus had two opposing benches and we entered and left via a rear door. I believe there was a similar one in the Forks’ area.

We dipped a pail into a nearby creek for drinking water and we all shared a dipper. I don’t recall a woodshed but there must have been one.

We too enjoyed those salmonberry sprouts and we picked wild strawberries from a nearby hill. The boys swung through the trees like Tarzan. We found sword ferns made satisfactory spears and we occasionally engaged in rock fights on the county road. One would expect that this internecine warfare would result in some form of carnage but I don’t think there was a single casualty.

I will never forget one incident: When one of the twin girls attempted to crack a hard-boiled egg on her sister’s head, it turned out that the egg was uncooked. The rest of us found this deliriously funny.

A small cabinet behind the teacher’s desk held the school’s library and my imagination soared as I read about the thrilling adventures of the knights of the Round Table.

I think it was about 1935 when the island schools were consolidated and we all moved to the Eastsound school. Our teacher was assigned to grades four, five, and six.

Like the Shuwah school (and the Beaver school), our school eventually became a private residence. Every time I passed by it in later years fond memories rose to the surface.

It might interest some of your readers to learn that my parents bought our farm from an old German who had homesteaded it in the late 19th century. So they became the second owners of the land, not counting the Lummis who had used it only for hunting.


Bob Hall