I grew up on the Rice County, Kansas farmstead established by my mother’s grandparents. My dad bought the farm from my great-grandparents when I was about three years old and I lived there till the day I went off to college. It’s the only childhood home I remember and it was the best childhood possible. I didn’t attend kindergarten, but when it was time to go to elementary school, I only had to look out the south bedroom window of our farmhouse to see Fairplay Grade School where I would attend from first through sixth grades. The charming two-room school closed the following year and I had to go into town for junior high and high school.
But what wonderful years spent at Fairplay. There were six kids in my class: Kay, Denise, Randy, Roger, Terry, and me. We started in the Little Room, and in fourth grade, we graduated to the Big Room. Both classrooms had windows that looked out over tree-lined country roads and acres of farm land, mostly wheat fields. My dad owned the 80 acres behind the school and it wasn’t unusual to be able to wave at him on his tractor while we played at recess.
Both rooms had well-stocked libraries that, next to my mom’s influence, are probably the reason for my career as a writer.
Fairplay was turned into a family home after it closed, and a few weeks ago, my sisters and I made the drive to attend an all-school reunion. The family who now lives in the schoolhouse was kind enough to open their home for a tour. Oh, what memories flooded back, and what fun we had connecting with old friends. I think the most common comment heard as almost fifty Fairplay alumni stood in front of the school and looked down the hill where we played King on the Mountain nearly every recess: “I remember that hill being SO much steeper!”
Here are just a few of the photos from our wonderful day.
What are your favorite memories of your elementary school years? Do you still keep in touch with any of your classmates from those years?