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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Letter 26 ~ September 26, 1918

Minnie tells me about giving exams to her students. Also describes a “typical day” as a school teacher, gets angry at a student in class, and laments that her students can’t remember all that she has taught them.

Addressed to Mr. Ward C. Griffing, 25th Company, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas
[Sherman, Kansas]
Thursday evening, [September 26, 1918]

I received a letter from you and Mama today. I was sure glad to get them.

We had five exams today [and we are] going to have twelve tomorrow. I like examination days, only I was so disappointed in some of the papers I graded tonight. Some of the things I just drilled and drilled them on I got the awfulest answers for. It sure isn’t encouraging. I wanted to grade all the papers at the school house tonight before I came home. I was grading away and was on my last paper when I looked up at the clock and saw it was fifteen minutes of six. We have supper at six, and I had the school house to sweep and the boards to erase before I could go home. I sure pitched in and broke my record for sweeping. It took me three minutes to sweep the school room – and you could tell it had been too – when I got thru. Believe me, I did some jumping. I looked at the clock just as I shut the door to come home and it was 10 minutes of six. So it took me 5 minutes to do my work. You sure can do a lot in a little time if it’s necessary. I got my supper all right.

I have to keep about as regular hours as you do, Ward. I don’t believe I’ve ever told you how my days planned out. I wouldn’t know it if I did [since I’m] writing every day and I can never hardly remember what I have written the day before.

Mrs. Parkerson gets up at six o’clock. About 6:30 she calls, “Breakfast will be ready.” I get up then and dress and go down for breakfast. At 7:30 we eat, then Mr. Parkerson reads from the Bible and then we all kneel and have prayer. It is then generally about 20 minutes of eight. I go to my room, make my bed, straighten up my room, put the finishing touches on myself, collect my books and address a letter to Ward (if I hadn’t the night before), [and] then it is about 8:15. I go to school, mail the letter on my way, get to school about two minutes before time to ring the half past eight bell, etc. in the evening I have to be home in time to wash and get ready for 6 o’clock supper. [Then I] talk to Mrs. Parkerson from one to two to three hours, go to my room, write about an hour, tinker around about half an hour, give W. C. G.’s picture one farewell glance, say my prayers and go to bed. This I do day after day hardly varying at all.

I’m so lonesome tonight I feel like screaming. I’m sure I don’t know why I should be so much more than common. I believe you must be thinking of me tonight, I have seen two cars go by. I just feel like going out and hailing them. I want to go some place or do something so bad. I think one reason is that always before at end of week, I’m planning great on seeing you. Tomorrow is Friday and I have no such plans for this weekend. My, but I wish I could. Just think what it will be like this winter just week after week. I’ll just half to sit up here, snow so deep I can’t even get home [and with] you so far off that I can hardly make myself believe that you are [real] and wondering if you really did ever exist or if I’ve just been dreaming. My, I don’t like to think of what’s before me.

But believe me, boy, this is going to be a long old Saturday and Sunday. Gee! (excuse the slang) but I do wish I could see you. It seems as if I want to worse than ever it that’s possible. But I guess it’s like you say, if last Sunday was the last, it was the last and that’s all there is to it.

I sure hope you get to stay at Camp Funston quite a spell. Maybe I’d get a peep at you once in awhile. My! if about Saturday or Sunday you would come driving in, I think I would be the happiest piece of humanity you’ve ever seen. I don’t see why something like that can’t happen.

I read in tonight’s paper where one of the boys in your division left for a camp in Montana. Now there’s no sense in them sending you off some place like that when you might just as well be here. Looks like they would know that.

Mama said in her letter today that she didn’t think I would get home for a couple of weeks.

I got real fierce in school today. Little Cecil Klein reached across the aisle and kept sticking Glen Wickstrum with a darning needle. Glen told me. I told Cecil to put his needle away, then to go up and sit on the floor behind the oil stove. [I told him] if he couldn’t leave others alone when he was at his seat, he could go where he couldn’t torment anyone else. Well that little skunk went up there and just stood. I told him to sit down. He didn’t do it. Then says I, “Cecil, can you hear what I say?” He shook his head that he couldn’t. I yelled it out again, “Sit down!” he wouldn’t do it. Well, it made me just stew to think that he would refuse to mind me. I went over there and he sat down alright and got up and sat down several times faster than he could ever have done it alone. Then I spanked him good and hard. I was just trembling I was so mad, but I’ll bet that kid never refuses to mind again. He cried for about two hours. It did him good tho and didn’t hurt him abit.

The boys brought a ladder up and a couple of fishing poles and we put the new rope thru the loop on the flag pole on top of the belfry. So we had the flag up on the school house this afternoon.

I just finished reading “The Adventures of Deer Slayer” in school yesterday. It is cut down from the regular novel on purpose for school children. It sure was interesting . Today I began reading “Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.” It is also a small book cut down for children. They were some Miss Holtman sent for and they just came about a week ago.

One of the geography questions today was: “What is the Weather Bureau and tell of its work.” Mabel wrote: “It is a machine that can tell what the weather will be.” In the same question: “Define Isothermal Lines.” Lloyd [Krause] had, “Lines that divide states, also river and mountains.” I get some of the most senseless answers. I don’t see why either because they all understand it when we go over it. If they don’t when they come to class, we talk about it until they do. Some of them remember and give good answers; others are terrible.

Mrs. Parkerson is knitting some socks for Clinton Scott – a boy who lives right near hear, or rather his folks do. They live in the first house south of school house. I don’t know whether you would remember or not, it’s the place where the folks thought maybe I could get room if I couldn’t get here. Well he is at Camp Funston and he expects to leave for Siberia right soon. Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Parkerson are both knitting a pair for him and I never saw such heavy things in all my life. I’ll bet they will stand alone when they are finished. But they are sure just the thing for him.

If I go to church with Parkerson’s Sunday, I expect I’ll get to meet what young folks there are up here. I guess there’s not more than 3 or 4. The girls up here marry between fourteen and eighteen years of age and the boys between sixteen and twenty-one. So there’s nothing but married people. I’ll be the first teacher they have had for years that hasn’t captured some fellow to go with while here. The teach last met “The Man” while up here. He’s in France now tho.

My, but I wish I would hurry up and hear where you are. Not but what I think you’ll write when you can and all that, but am just curious and very anxious. Mr. Parkerson told me last night he wouldn’t be surprised if they would come to some understanding before snow flew. I only wish he knew what he was talking about.

I’m glad you got a chance to go over to Junction City Sunday evening and get away from the camp a little while. I’ll bet it’s awful tiresome. You ought to be ashamed to have had your hair cut that way. I can’t imagine what you would look like. It may be alright now that you’re away but I sure would be peeved if you would have it cut that way when you are around me. I know I wouldn’t like it...

Well, this has grown far too long already. I never seem to know when to end a letter anymore. Your lonesome girl, -- Minnie G. Frey

  • Cecil Klein was the four year-old younger brother of Zelphie Klein, children of Ross and Jadie Klein of Grant Township, Riley County, Kansas.
  • Glen Wickstrum was the seven year-old son of 45 year-old Swede farmer Charles O. Wickstrum and his 37 year-old wife Nancy, of Sherman Township, Riley County, Kansas.
  • Probably Mrs. Marina Holtman, the 21 year-old wife of 28 year-old John Herbert Holtman who was a farmer in Sherman Township, Riley County, Kansas. According to his draft registration papers, John H. Holtman was born on 11 April 1889 in Kansas. He was described as tall and slim, with blue eyes and brown hair. His parents were both born in Sweden.
  • Clinton T. Scott was the 24 year-old son of 60 year-old farmer William L. Scott and his 57 year-old wife Netta who lived in Sherman Township, Riley County, Kansas. Clinton would survive the war, marry Alice Busher around 1921, and resume farming in Sherman Township. By 1930, he and Alice had two daughters, named Marie and Betty.

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