Holmes Hill School

by kfrego

How great it was to be old enough to attend school. My sister Sharon was my chaperone on the first day and just getting to school was an adventure for me. The school was located where our dirt road intersected with the highway between Winthrop and Potsdam in the hamlet of Holmes Hill. We walked about a quarter of a mile and were joined by two of our neighbors children for the remaining mile or so. We walked at a leisurely pace and their was seldom any traffic on our road. Houses were few and far between. We weren’t encumbered by the fears and distractions of today’s children. We didn’t complain and we were completely at peace with our world.

Holmes Hill School consisted of a one room school, a mud room entry, and attached outhouses in separate rooms. A wood stove provided heat and there was no running water. The individual desks were lined up in rows for students of grades one through eight. The front of the room had a small library table on one side and the teachers desk on the other. Two large blackboards covered the front wall. The rear wall was mostly coat hooks and the entry door. Outside items consisted of a double swing set.

The name my memory associates with the teacher is Mrs Parr. She was very jovial, kept everyone in good order (or standing in a corner), and was more like a mom away from home. The only time she ever got truly upset was when one of us would do a full 360 while swinging. The older boys would have to get the seat thrown back over the top and return the swing to it’s original position. She did not think this was amusing, but it was a rite of passage for the younger boys. Actually, it was fun and the ride was well worth the time spent standing in a corner.

Little did we realize the one room schools and our ways of life would change forever in the near future. We were social, but we were individuals. We were independent, but we helped and respected everyone. We didn’t have many possessions, but we had many values. My time spent at Holmes Hill School will always be considered a great adventure. Oh, how it makes me wish my children and grand children could have experienced it.