Ashby Public School
Top left: Mrs. Marden. (See Plate 34).
Bottom left: Robert Darling. He pitched a tent opposite the Presbyterian Church about 1920 and preached hellfire and brimstone. Citizens cut the tent ropes and city fathers ran him out of town. Amelia gave him her wedding ring with the diamond in it. She put away her silk dress with the lace collar (see Plate 33) and made Marjory wear pigtails with long-sleeved dresses, black stockings, black bloomers and old-fashioned, high-topped black shoes.
Right: Ashby School, circa 1925. Donald is second from left in the second row from the back (bib overalls and baseball bat). Marjory is standing 9th from right (front) in black coat, hat, stockings, and shoes. Front row: Lois Sanstead at left, Eva Bemis, Dagmar Jorgenson, Superintendent J. John Halvorson are at right.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"Before I started school, I was quite worried about getting lost in that big building, so Pa took me up there one day to look around. Old Man Randall was there getting the building ready for school, so I found out where the toilets were, and which was my room, etc. Then Pa said there was an electric spanking machine upstairs, where they took you if you didn't behave. We didn't go upstairs that day, but it was a long time before I quit looking at those stairs with a special respect." [7.49-2]
"One day when I was in first or second grade I stood at the foot of the steps outside of the schoolhouse like a 'smart alec' and as the girls came down the steps, I pointed to them as they passed by and said, 'You're homely, you're cute,' etc. and when Norma Skaar (no relation to the Ashby Skaars) came down, I said, 'Norma's homely, but I like her anyway.' I should have been smarter; I never heard the end of that." [7.35-3]
"When we were in the lower grades at school, there was only one baseball bat for the whole school, and it was kind of a juvenile size. There was always an argument over who was to use it -- the little kids, grades 1 to 4, or the big kids, grades 5 to 8. The little kids got out a little earlier for recess than the big kids, so they (we) would grab the bat. But then the big kids would come out and take it away from them (us). We would go and try to get the janitor (Carter Randall's grandfather) to take it away from them. (He never would.) Then one morning he was out splitting kindling for the big coal boiler and [we saw] he had solved the bat problem -- by making an ax handle out of the bat." [7.47-1]
"During the first years the style for small girls changed from black stockings and black underpants to white stockings and white or pink underpants, Marj had to wear black ones anyway, which was even worse than my knee pants, because all the town boys wore knee pants, but she was the only one in school who had to wear black underpants."
"They had put in some new playground equipment about the last year we lived in town: a slippery slide and teeter totters and a giant stride, which was a high pole with a whole bunch of chains with handle bars. About a dozen kids could go around at once, running and swinging higher and higher, until their feet didn't touch the ground at all. Pa used to work the field behind the schoolhouse where the ball diamond is. He always said he could see one pair of black pants going around [higher than anyone] on the giant stride." [14.91-4]