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Remembering Farmora School

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 3:38 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 4:19 p.m. CDT

The Farmora School was built on Farmora Road northwest of Wyanet.

Barbara (Conkling) Heuer said there were seven farms on that road, and the children who lived on those farms attended the school, including she and her sister, June.

Heuer said she started in 1939, and there were about 10 students in the school. Heuer was in the first grade, and Helen Behrens in was in the second grade. Maxine White was the teacher.

Heuer said the school was heated with a large round coal-fired stove.

“In the winter we sat near to keep warm for our lessons,” she said.

Heuer’s family lived near the school, and her father would start the fire and bring coal in from a shed out back before the teacher arrived.

As at many one-room schools, the older boys took turns filling a bucket of water from a well outside. There was a tin dipper used by all to get a drink. Heuer said a few years later they had a crock with a spigot and paper cups.

“What a treat that was!” she said.

Heuer said there were outhouses and later indoor restrooms that she remembers she was too scared to use. She said she believes the school got electricity around 1940.

Heuer said the students had penmanship and art on Friday.

“The teacher would pick the best penmanship to take to Bureau County Fair,” she said. “So that made us work hard making all those circles!”

Near Christmas, the students would make presents for their parents in art class.

Recess was an important part of the school day. Heuer said she and her friend, Helen, had recesses together, and there was a teeter-totter, swings and a bar. Also the children would build snow forts, and they would take asparagus tops and make a roof.

At noon, all the children played games such as Mother May I, Red Rover, Hide and Seek, baseball, and in the winter, Fox and Geese.

“What fun we had!” she said.

Heuer lived close by, and sometimes she would go home for lunch. Most children brought their lunch in a tin dinner box or tin lard bucket.

During World War II, Heuer said the teacher made red, white and blue striped dresses and “Oh Johnny” bell bottom outfits for her and Helen.

“She took us to Manlius High School gym to perform on the stage,” Heuer said. “We sang ‘Oh Johnny,’ ‘Playmates’ and ‘Anchors Away.’ In 1941 during World War II, everyone was behind our troops!”

The students also had music once a week when teacher Edward Fay came to the school.

There was other county schools very close by, and Farmora had play days with them. The schools were Pleasant Valley No. 129, Maple Grove No. 124, Sapp No. 123, Hickory Grove No. 130, and Sisler No. 114. Sisler School was the farthest and was located on Route 6 toward Princeton.

In 1945 the Farmora School closed, and all the students went to the Wyanet Grade School, with Heuer starting seventh grade.

“It was a big change to a bigger school,” she said. “My dad took us to school and from. No school buses back then.”

Heuer said the Farmora building was later moved and became a home.

“Now all that is left is good memories!” she said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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