I grew up in the country in North East Texas and went to school in a small community called Argo. This little school only went to seventh grade. After that, we had to go into “town” to finish.
The school consisted of a white elongated building in the front with bathrooms in back. I still remember the huge tin building that served as the gym with the wooden flooring for the basketball court and a tall stage toward the end. The older kids carried on the tradition of telling the dark tales about the horrors of the dressing rooms and the void beneath the stage, where presumably monsters lurked.
|The Argo School today|
The School house building was divided into three sections, first through third grade in one room, fourth through sixth the opposite and in the center was the cafeteria. There was a small stage and a huge heavy maroon curtain separating it from the kitchen area. This is where the seventh graders sat.
Behind the buildings was a field otherwise known as the playground and a baseball diamond. It was dotted with huge old oak trees and the acorns were perfect for making acorn people. Being an introverted child, I spent much of my time sitting near the trunk of one of those trees, entertaining myself while others played.
It was relatively wild and rugged and one year, my brother was bitten by a non-venomous snake while playing under one of the oak trees.
We were barefoot country kids. The grounds closest to the school had asphalt, so most of us had skinned knees from running around the building and crashing into someone else or falling.
When the seventh-grade girls were done with their work, they went behind the curtain into the cafeteria to help clean the kitchen, washing down the tables, washing dishes and sweeping.
It wasn’t uncommon to have to have squirrel stew for lunch, if the cook, Miss Niobe’s husband had killed a batch. In addition to cook, she was also our basketball coach and bus driver.
Everyone played basketball, baseball and track, starting in
fifth grade. The fifth and sixth grade girls were in the pep squad and the seventh-grade
girls were cheerleaders. Our colors were maroon and gold and we were the Rebels.
|Me as Chee|
My last year at the school, there were only 52 kids in attendance, first through seventh grade. The school didn’t offer kindergarten. That year, I was in a big class of nine. I always tease and tell people I graduated first in my class. I just leave out the part about my class only having nine students. Three grades above me, there were only three kids and there was at least one year with only one. I can’t imagine the trauma of being the only person my age going through a grade.
A few years after I left Argo, all the country schools were shut down and the children were bussed into the larger city. They called it consolidation. I have so many fond memories of attending this little country school and learned some of life’s greatest lessons here.