Submitted by Nute Chapman
Written by Clifford Peterman
From Onaway Outlook August 10, 2012
Caption: PIERSON SCHOOL 1909-1910 Back row from left: teacher Bernice Fockler (later Mrs. Charles Rosciam), Violet Peterman and Homer
Waring. Front row from left Ed Lennox, Walter Peterman, and Arthur Peterman. We do not know any of the others.
The school I attended when I was growing up was known as the Pierson, named after an old couple who lived just east and across Three Mile Road,from the school. It had been previously known as the Davies School, named after a family that lived on the corner of M-33 and Three Mile Road, where Don and Sally Butler now live. Mrs. Pierson taught at the school, which may have had something to do with the name being changed.
We lived just short of two miles from the school, and except for very cold or stormy days, we never questioned the fact that we must walk the almost four miles each day, to and from school.
When the weather was severe, Dad would hook up the team of horses, put us on the big bobsled (normally used to haul poles from the woods), cover us with heavy quilts and take us to school. Many times Dad's eyebrows and the scarf around his neck would be covered with frost or blowing snow by the time we reached the school. Of course he had to make the return trip and pick us up again after school, if the weather remained bad. With no phones , we had no way of knowing in advance when there was a cancellation.
We, the older generation, tend to think there was more snow in those days, but maybe we just didn't have the means to handle it. However, I so remember walking on snowbanks that were high enough so we could reach out and touch the telephone wires as we made our way to school. This would be in an area near Warren's hill, were the snow would continually drift the road shut again and again, after it was opened by the snowplows.
In the fall and spring when the snow was off, we would cut across the farmer's field, to shorten the distance. However this proved to be a downfall for some, as they would find patches of leeks, and onion-like plant that grew wild, eat them and then be in trouble with the teacher, because of their bad smelling breath. Many would be sent home, which is probably what they were trying to accomplish in the first place.
One time while brother Dale and I were walking to school in the morning, we found a box of kitchen matches that had probably fallen from the grocery bag in the back of a pickup truck. They were wet from the previous night's dew, and we were not able to get them to light. So we placed them on a rock where the sun would dry them during the day while we were at school. Sure enough when we returned that afternoon, the strike-anywhere matches would light easily. Though we had been told many times not to play with fire, we couldn't resist the urge to strike and throw matches at will. We continued to do this until we reached the farm of Mr. Warren. A swift breeze was blowing, and as we flipped matches here and there carelessly, one caught the grass on fire along the fencerow, and it immediately got out of control.
Knowing we were in deep trouble, we decided to head for home to get help to fight the fire. Of course, to keep the seat of our pants from being tanned when we got home, we proceeded to cry as loud as we could, to demonstrate our remorse for having done this awful deed. When we returned with help, the fire had burned Mr. Warren's fence posts off for several hundred feet and was threatening Brewbaker's field. I was surprised at how well Mr. Warren took the whole thing and never held a grudge against us. Of course we were expected to apologize and I'm sure we did. Dad may have helped him replace the fence posts, but Mr. Warren did not demand that we be punished.
To be continued next week.
-Onaway Outlook, August 10, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.