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A One Room School Named Bolen

By Jerry Sutliff

I have often paused to think about the history of Bolen School,

How many kids were taught to read and write and learned the Golden Rule.

I think of the times the bell rang and called scholars in from play,

From games of softball, kick-the-can, tag and pom-pom-pull-away.

I’d like to see if the path still shows in front of Huckleberry Bluff,

Where children cut across to school, in the days when there was no bus.

I remember after the first dandelion many shoes would disappear,

As barefoot kids would walk to school, from dairy farms both far and near.

Shelves of lunch pails all in a row and hooks for coats on the wall.

We got water from a pump in the yard, to fill the porcelain cooler in the hall.

Everyone enjoyed the winter time, we’d ski, slide and play in the snow.

A big wood furnace heated the school when the Wisconsin cold was twenty below.

Such fun on the merry-go-round and swings and the other games we played,

The best liked game was “boys chase girls” to hear them shout and run away.

Many a boy found his first sweetheart and discreetly passed her a note,

That with the help of his best friend, he laboriously and lovely wrote.

Programs were put on for the holidays, parents came to join in the fun.

Santa would be there at Christmas time, with bags of nuts and candy for everyone.

Pictures of Lincoln and Washington watched us as we lined up for a spelling bee,

Or recited lines from poems like “Under the spreading chestnut tree.”

Many children sat in the very same desks where their families sat before,

They watched the same clock on the wall in those memorable days of yore.

Classes were held in the front of the room by the big map that pulled way down,

While everyone else studied at their desk til their turn for class came around.

The Pledge of Allegiance and songs we sang, Geography, English, Arithmetic and History,

Book reports, flash cards, nouns and verbs, are all there somewhere in my memory.

One teacher taught all eight grades, their days were hard and long,

In a one room school called Bolen, a way of life that has come and gone.