By Connie Hanson Malloy
I had turned five years old on Aug. 6, 1953 and started first grade at Vannoy school a few weeks later. My sister, Linda, was a year older than I but my parents, Paul and Wanda Hanson, wisely decided to start us both to school together at the same time, even though I was very young. Through the years we have been so glad they were able to do that, as we were together all the way through the University of Missouri. Our sister, Penny, joined us six years later at Vannoy.
I will relay some random memories through the years of that simple time in our lives. Vannoy was the focal point of social interaction between the neighboring farms and of our neighborhood life, really, besides church and the Farmer Farmerette Club activities.
There was no kindergarten at Vannoy. One teacher taught grades first through eighth. Miss Betty Stone taught us in our first, second, and third grades, and Mrs. Ruth Kerns was our teacher for the duration. Linda and I were the only two in our grade, for the most part. Virginia Smith was with us some of the time. Also, there was a “skipping grades” practice used in country schools then. I really don’t know how to explain it. Everyone still received the same education and went to school the same number of years. I think it helped the teacher consolidate subjects in order to not have to teach as many subjects to all eight grades. I maybe wrong on that, though. Usually, there were around 18 students in school as I was going through. By the way, our “country school” teachers certainly prepared us well for the “big” Bowling Green high school when it came time for us to leave Vannoy.
There were two main large rooms to the school, but we usually referred to Vannoy as a “one-room” country schoolhouse, as we held classes in just one room. The other was used for recess when weather forced us to play inside. On those days, we would toss around homemade beanbags or play jacks or write on the blackboard in that room. We referred to that room as the “other room.” Also, this room was used for our school programs.
I can still remember the smell of the polish that was used on the furniture and on the two large floor-to-ceiling wooden doors that would fold to make a divider between the main classroom and the other room. In the winter time, we would keep the doors closed to keep the heat in our school room.