Memory from childhood of attending a one-room schoolhouse.
My Fancy Four-buckle Overshoes
In the winter of 1961-62 I was a Kindergartner at the Chain Lake School in Brown County, Nebraska. I had four classmates...Delbert, Lonnie, Patty, and Jerri. The school had 13-14 kids that year. Mrs. Shirley Daniels was our teacher. She taught us to read, count, write our names, etc. This was before naps were taken by the kindergartners. Mrs. Daniels had a thing about saying something to make us think we were in trouble and then waiting. By the look on her face, we were sure we were in big trouble. We never knew she was kidding…until she smiled. Really kept us on our toes.
Ever since I could remember (I was only five) I had admired Dad's five-buckle overshoes. Unusual for a little girl? I wasn't, and never have been your 'typical' little girl. So in the fall of '61 my wish came true...my very own little pair of fancy (I thought they were fancy) four-buckle overshoes. Only...they had round toes and were made to wear with shoes...I wore boots...all the time. I didn't care, I loved them and couldn't wait for it to snow so I could show them off at school.
Can you see the problem developing?
My favorite part of the day was recess, like most kids. Our recesses involved sledding on the hills across the gravel road, north of the school. Sliding around on the lake or playing coyotes and hounds in the junk-filled, blow-out behind the school. It was a very informal game, with no rules that I can remember....some of us were chased (the coyotes) and some did the chasing (the hounds). I was usually a coyote 'cause I could run fast and dodge. Maybe a Sandhill version of pump, pump, pull away?
At recess time, when there was snow, everyone quickly pulled on their overshoes and out the door they ran. My four-buckle overshoes wouldn't slip on all that easy...matter-of- fact, they didn't slip on at all. Mrs. Daniels and some of the older girls would pull and tug on my prized fancy four-buckle overshoes. One pulling up on the tops of the overshoes and others trying to shove my booted feet into them.
If you've ever tried to put shoes/overshoes on a five-year old that is either, unwilling or not understanding how to help, you will understand the dilemma. I was wanting to go outside, so I was co-operating to the best of my ability. Which meant I was willing, but maybe not understanding all that was asked of me. They struggled, until finally my boots would find their way down into the overshoes. But...by then, recess was almost over. <sigh>
Well, you think they were hard to 'slip' into? Taking them off wasn't any piece of cake, either. Now, with someone pulling on the heel and a couple folks hanging onto me to keep me from being pulled off the bench and onto the floor, Mrs. Daniels and the older girls would tug and pull until they skinned me and my boots out of my wonderful fancy four-buckle overshoes. I'm sure they dreaded snow and recess that whole winter.
Looking back on this memory...I have to wonder why we didn't try shaking a little baby powder into those overshoes.
I was heartbroken when I outgrew my fancy four-buckle overshoes. Whatever Mom and Dad replaced them with must not have been nearly as neat, because I can't remember what I wore after that winter of 1961-62.