As I was writing Silent Ties pieces of my childhood and my parent’s crept into the character’s lives. The story line of the country school came from my father. He grew up in rural New York. I listened to tales of attending the little one room schoolhouse conveniently located on the family farm. He and his siblings were often responsible for starting the fire in the wood stove before the teacher and other children arrived. His stories of playing in the school yard as well as his friendship with the other farm families found their way into the lives of Missy and her brothers.
The photo highlighted here is a treasure. They collected the country school children and drove them to town for a class picture. My father is the young man lower left and my aunt is the girl in the top row. A year after this picture, when my father was in the sixth grade, the decision was made to close the one room schoolhouse. As in Silent Ties they provided a bus for the students, and the move presented new opportunities for all the children. My father took advantage of many activities available to him. He joined the Future Farmers of America; played several sports including wrestling, basketball, soccer, and baseball; and learned to play the trumpet in the town school band.
Today in his early eighties, he is still friends with many of the men who grew up with him on that hill and joined him each day in the one room schoolhouse.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana