After moving from California as “reverse Okies” we lived north of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a tiny and dear place called Vera. I never knew we would be considered poor, but I had developed the impression that steak was for really rich people.
One day my older brother hollered to me to tell my daddy that there was a “steak in the well.” I did as I was told, not fully understanding what all the fuss was about. I had heard rich people ate steak, so I rushed to share the good news with my parents who ran urgently to the well.
Next I gushed to my sister how great it would be to have such a fine supper. As I stayed out of the way back at the house, I began to think of how great it would be to have steak for supper.
It was only when my brother and parents returned to the house with hoes, sweat, and a story to tell that I realized it was a SNAKE! All that excitement only led to finding out that it was a snake in the well, and there would be nothing particularly exquisite for supper.
The school at Vera was small with a courtyard in the middle where we played. I remember getting my vaccinations there, learning many wonderful songs there (some from my teacher and some from my sister who brought them home and shared them with me.)
With those songs she and I traveled the world, and found ways to keep from being bored while we washed the supper dishes while singing.
I never went to kindergarten since at that time there weren’t enough children to start a new class, so they started one every other year. First grade was fine except the day we had to recite the ABC’s backwards. To this day I find that a daunting task, and as a teacher I never ask my students to do that particular frightful job.
Of all my school memories, Vera has always held my heart. It was there that I found the magic of learning, and that is what I’ve spent my life helping others do with all my years of teaching.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Contact the author for print or online republication.