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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Letter 84 ~ November 5, 1918

Minnie writes me about school activities, making up for lost time, and some Halloween shenanigans at the Sherman Township school house.

Addressed to Pvt. Ward C. Griffing, 164th Depot Brigade, 25th Company, Camp Funston, Kansas

Sherman, [Kansas]
Tuesday morning [November 5, 1918]

Dear Boy:

Well school went off real smooth again. Children seemed ready to go to work. Two of my primary children have quit. The little fat boy that I thought so much of has gone to Manhattan to live and the little five year old girl has been sick so much they decided not to send her anymore this winter.

I guess I will make up my school on Saturdays. The patrons would rather not have the last time made up than keep the children in school longer in the spring. And the children all seem willing to go on Saturdays. So I’m going to see the school board this week and if it’s all right with them, that’s what we will do. It will suit me just fine. I won’t have to pay any extra for my board and I can go home on Saturday evening instead of Friday. That will be alright.

I was sure surprised yesterday morning when I opened the schoolhouse. I left it just as clean as could be – everything right in place, dusted well, etc. When I opened the door everything was in a mess, pencil boxes turned upside down on the children’s desks and everything about the schoolroom out of place. The first thing I thought was that they had been fumigating the schoolroom. I know the State Superintendent asked all schools to do so. But when I walked in I knew they hadn’t been, but someone had been real smart. The lamps were taken off their racks and put on my desk, the water jar put on my desk, nearly all my books put on a heap on my desk, and the contents of the desk drawer thrown on top. I had a couple of pair of stockings up there so if I should get my feet wet this winter during bad weather I could change them before school in the morning. They were pulled apart and thrown on top of my desk. Then they had tobacco strewn over everything and burned matches (a dozen or more) on the floor around the desk. They had spilled ink on the school register [and] marked on the report cards. They had my flowers on the floor under some of the desks. Well I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t do anything for awhile. Then I heard the children coming down the road so I decided if they had a hand in it, I would have everything all cleaned up and act as tho nothing had happened. But none of the children had a hand in it, I found out. Every large pencil was taken and two fountain pens, and a pearl-handled knife. We thought possible they were hid but we can’t find them anywhere about. They wrote my name in the Library book and scratched all over the page with black ink. They spelled my name Fry, so it was someone that didn’t know me but knew what my first and last names were. It was one of the new books. I hate it awful bad and everything on my desk and in the desk drawer smell so strong of tobacco that I would feel so ashamed if anyone was to visit my school. They would think I was a habitual smoker, wouldn’t they? They also stole our box of matches.

The children think it was some boys out Halloween night. Parkerson’s think it was Charlie Scott for one and some other boy with him but we can’t imagine who. That Charlie Scott is a regular pill. Anyway he thinks he acts awfully smart. He’ll stand out in front of the school house when they are working roads and cuss a blue streak, walk crazy, and everything else to make the children laugh.

Well, I must go to school. Today is the day you thought you might be transferred. I hope it will be to [Camp] Funston. With lots of love, -- Minnie G. Frey
  • Charles H. Scott was a 21 year-old farmer in Sherman Township, Riley County, Kansas.

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