Saturday, December 28, 2002
Dear Bertha and Clyde,
In regards to the month I spent with Lulu at the Collum Creek School, you asked what I did with my time while Lulu spent all day teaching school.
You must remember that for 12 years prior to my marriage, I was a schoolteacher. And, I had graduated from Drake University with a degree in music; and before we moved to our River Ranch, I had been home schooling Frances and Dorothy at our Mystic Ranch on Salt Creek.
I love teaching, and I love music, so it should not surprise you to learn that I spent almost the same amount of time with Lulu's pupils as she did. I loved every bit of it, as did the pupils. In fact, I did all of the teaching for over a week while Lulu (Mrs. Keller) recovered from lumps and bruises incurred when she took a nasty fall while carrying water from the spring.
The "regular" attendees numbered six, three Orr girls and three Bivens boys. In addition to these "regulars" there were two others who came now and then. One of these was a young lady by the name of Lichtenhahn, who was serious about learning but was needed nearly full time to help on her father's homestead. The other was a young Greek sheepherder, and I wouldn't attempt to spell his name. I can't even pronounce it. This boy is more interested in the Orr girls than he is in learning arithmetic. He told me that as long as he can account for all his sheep, he doesn't need any other arithmetic. When I asked him if he knew exactly where all of his sheep were at that immediate time, he said he did. Then he went on to explain that he kept a close eye on the sheep from dawn until they had eaten their fill; and then the sheep would bed down and wouldn't move until they started getting hungry in mid-afternoon. And that during the time the sheep were resting and chewing their cuds, he was free to go to school (A case of teaching the teacher?)
Most of the time not spent teaching was devoted to writing. I have always done a lot of correspondence, but now far more than ever before, for I try to write to every one of our young men that enlisted or are drafted into our armed services.
Since my own brother, Bill Bowie, was a soldier in Europe during World War I, I realize how much it means to a service man to receive letters from home. At the Collum Creek School, the closest mail service was at the little country store and post office of Axial, which was about 10 miles distance. So, you can guess that Lulu and I didn't send or receive mail on a very regular basis. And the same held true in regards to replenishing our larder, as we had no transportation and had to depend on neighbors. More on our Collum Creek adventure next time.