“You had to work. It was hard work. From the time we was five years old we worked in the corn fields. From the time you was able to count to three you started working. Every day. Except Sundays. My dad didn’t believe in working on Sundays. It was raising corn, wheat, and potatoes, and a big garden. It was all strawberries. Anything you could raise, we raised it. Tobacco, we raised tobacco.
“Where did I go to school? West Virginia, Pleasant Valley. Forest Home. One room. With a pot-bellied stove in it. We carried wood to keep the fire going. It was fun. It really was. Because, the teacher – we had from the first grade to the eighth grade, and from then on you went into town. You was bussed into town. But we walked to school. We walked a mile and a half to school. We didn’t have no busses. The kids walked then. The teachers was good. I had two men teachers in my lifetime and one woman. What I remember most about them is, I don’t know, getting the switch used on you. The punishment was a hickory switch or the razor strap.
“We had reading, arithmetic, geography, and history, and writing, and spelling. It wasn’t like it is today. They have different subjects I think today, don’t they? Or is it everyday? Now we had it every day. I run off one time. I run from my dad one time. I never did that no more, never. And you know I can’t remember ever getting into real bad trouble. The way we had to work and go to school. We didn’t have time.”
Pauline Riley, Pomeroy, Ohio