The Daily Gazette is reprinting excerpts of the late Larry Hart’s long-running column, “Tales of Old Dorp.” Students and teachers re-open their books this week. And if kids are complaining about homework and hard math problems, they should consider how tough life used to be for their teachers. This column excerpt originally was published May 15, 1979.
Al Saulwater, a bowling pal of ours, came up with an interesting treatise on “School Days Gone By,” printed on a place mat in an out-of-state restaurant. It may bring back some memories for our readers.
“Teachers were poorly paid and traditionally ‘boarded around.’ Each family had the teacher as a house guest for a while to help pay for their child’s schooling. Female teachers were also expected to obey rules like this:
-- You will not marry during the term of your contract.
-- You are not to keep company with men.
-- You must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
-- You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.
-- You may not travel beyond the city limits, unless you have permission of the chairman of the school board.
-- You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man, unless he is your father or brother.
-- You may not smoke cigarettes.
-- You may not dress in bright colors.
-- You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
-- You must wear at least two petticoats.
-- Your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.
-- To keep the school room neat and clean you must: sweep the floor at least once daily; scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water; clean the blackboards at least once a day; and start the fire at 7 a.m. so the room will be warm by 8 a.m.