When Mrs. Reed began attending Cornishville School, construction on the building was not completely finished. Bleachers in the gymnasium were used by the students who had their books on the floor and wrote with notebooks in their laps.
She remembers ball players moving the desks up on the bleachers before practice or a game, and move them back to floor level before classes the next day. New desks arrived in time for basketball season.
“I’m sure the players were wishing we had our own room, she said.
Besides adjusting to the bleachers, she had a hard time adjusting to the popping sounds made by the engine running at Cornishville Mill across the Chaplin River. Still without a classroom, the students adjusted, she said. They made new friends, learned to love the teachers and were promoted to the next grade in the spring.
When spring arrived, students in the eighth grade moved to the ninth grade in an upstairs room. The seventh graders who were promoted to the eighth grade shared a new room with the new seventh graders.
School buses began hauling students to school in September 1935 when some of the schools were consolidated. The Mercer school board moved seventh and eighth graders from one-and two-room schools in the county and placed them in district high schools.
Unlike today, the students got their water from a well. The pump had a long handle and it took two hands to pump. One person would pump the handle while another held a cup under the spout.
“I remember we made our drinking cups from a sheet of notebook paper so we could have water at recess and for lunch,” Mrs. Reed said.
A cafeteria was added to the school in the 1940s. Mrs. Reed said, “Cornishville had a good school, a good community and a pretty village of good people.”
When the school closed in 1969, the building was sold to the Baptist Church and is used for a community center. A school reunion is held each September in the center.
Dean Elementary School, known a “Chicken Coop,” was at the south end of Mann’s Road across the Cornishville Road. The school opened in 1915 with a new teacher. Evie Darland, who later became the mother of Mrs. Reed, was the teacher. At the time, Evie lived with her parents 15 miles from the school.
Arrangements were made for her to live with a second cousin, Arthusie Darland Reed; her husband, Willie; and their four young children. They lived near the school and Evie could walk to school.
Evie was not only the teacher. She went to school earlier on winter mornings to start the fire to heat the school building before students arrived. She carried out the ashes, and swept the floor mornings and after school.
She and the students brought their lunch in a dinner pail or box. The meals usually consisted of sandwiches, fried eggs or a piece of chicken, rabbit or squirrel, and a biscuit. The biscuits, with a variety of preserves, jams and jellies were dessert. When in season, fruit was included, and sometimes a cookie or piece of cake accompanied the lunch.
Evie returned home on Friday and came back Monday for classes during the six months of school from July to January. She spent the weekend with her family and attended church.
Evie taught two years at Dean School, then married Fred M. Durr and became a full-time homemaker.
After the school closed, the building became a dwelling.