Dear old golden rule days

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Pearlie Long and Joseph Killough have several things in common.

Her youngest son is married to his youngest daughter; they both grew up in the lean days of the 1920s and 30s. Both

"Miss" Pearlie and Mr. Joe were "country kids" who attended the rural community schools common back in those days.

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The school term was only seven months

a year, not nine, as it was for the city children.

That didn't mean they got off easy.

Mr. Joe explains. "There were always chores to do on the farm, morning, noon and night.

When crops needed planting or harvesting, we helped out, too."

Mr. Joe, born in 1920 as the next to the youngest of the nine children in Lloyd and Ida Killough's household, vividly recalls his early days at the Mt. Zion School.

The white frame structure, housing 1st through 9th grades, once stood on an unpaved road close to the old Mount Zion Church in rural Butler County

"It was a pretty good piece over there from our house [located on what is now designated "Joe Killough Rd"] so Papa and some other folks paid a fellow to run a bus service to get us back and forth to school", says Mr. Joe.

The "bus" was, in reality, a converted pick up truck with a cover and benches, able to seat approximately nine children.

Mr. Joe recalls it was mostly filled with Killoughs, Pollards, and his cousin Ed Butler-pretty much a family affair. His father and the other families paid three dollars a month for this service.

"It took the bus about 20 minutes to run on a good day; course, if it was raining and real slick, we couldn't make good time.

A lot of roads were still unpaved out here." Mr. Joe explains.

Miss Pearlie's earliest experiences were of walking to school.

The only child of Clara and Clint Hill, her school days began in the late 1920s, in the community of Kolb City. There the shy little girl attended a true one-room white frame school house.

"We had first through sixth grades in that one room, lined up in rows according to our grade level.

We only had the one teacher.

How she kept it all straight, and kept us in order, I don't know-but she did," explains Miss Pearlie with an appreciative smile.

Later on, the Hills would move to the Midway Community where Miss Pearlie attended the larger 4-room structure (now gone) which sat close to the present-day Midway Baptist Church.

The school housed 1st through 8th grades.

"I only lived about one to one-and-half miles from the school, so it wasn't a bad walk.

Back then, of course, folks walked a lot more than now-not many country folks had cars in those days," recalls Miss Pearlie.

Neither of our subjects experienced cafeteria food in their early school days.

It seems most everyone back then ate a lunch of homemade biscuits with sausage or ham, carried to school in a sack or pail.