Updated: May 18
In 1954 I began my formal education at the Thompson School, a mostly one-room schoolhouse located a mile from our farm in rural South Dakota. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Selland, lived in one of the 2 “cloak rooms” where she slept and cooked on a hot plate. The building had no indoor plumbing.
There were 5 kids in the school that first year, and 3 of them were from our family. We mostly walked to school, but later on rode our bicycles and sometimes rode Faye, our Shetland Pony. Starting in 6th or 7th grade, Dad would let me drive the pickup on occasion.
I was the only kid in my class and because there was only one room, we all absorbed everything that was going on around us. As a result, my second grade teacher suggested I skip 3rd grade and go right into 4th, which in retrospect was a mistake in that I was one of the youngest ones in my class throughout high school and college.
The building was abandoned in the early 60’s after a larger consolidated school was built nearby. Each time I returned home to visit my family, I would always include a stop at the school to look around and to reminisce.
Sadly the iconic Thompson School was destroyed by fire last week, ending an important chapter in the lives of each of us who attended.