We are currently renovating the Nickellton school, a one room schoolhouse built in 1901, to the original look of the 1940's. This blog shares the restoration process while taking you back to some of the stories and images of the school. Before, during, and after images will also be shared. The Nickellton School is located in Nickellton in Macon County, Missouri. It has not been in use since 1952 when it closed.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Do you have fond memories of Christmas as a child? Every year Nickellton School would celebrate Christmas by hosting a Christmas Festival. The school would come to life with tinsel and pine garland and a Christmas Tree. The stage depicted a scene by the fireplace and all the comforts of home. Parents and community members would gather at the school in the afternoon to watch the children perform the Christmas Festival program.
The children would memorize verses, short stories, lines for a Christmas play, and songs. Grandpa Willie Borron, at the age of 6, stood before a crowd of parents, fellow classmates, and community members to say his first recitation, "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old mans hat. If you haven't gotta penny, a half penny will do. If you haven't got a half penny, God bless you." My mother, Charlotte Borron, sang for the Christmas Festival in 1951, she was in the 4th grade. Her white crate paper dress with red bows was made by her sister, Shirley Borron.
Ronnie Perry and Charlotte Borron singing a duet.
Joyce Crawford and Sarah Demmitt
Mickey Farmer, Judy Perry, Katie Farmer, and James Replogle
Ronnie Perry and Charlotte Borron
A couple weeks before the Christmas Festival the children would draw names for the gift exchange after the Christmas program. The gifts were simple yet thoughtful, handkerchiefs and Blue Waltz Perfume for the girls, little dime cars and trucks for the boys. Other gifts were coloring books, magic slates, and Old Maid cards. The teacher, who had little resources to give gifts, often gave the students pencils, candy, and fruit. Miss Ida May Parren had the children decorate wooden trinket boxes to give to their parents for Christmas Gifts.
One year the teacher instructed a group of boys to cut enough pine branches to adorn the stage in festive greenery. The boys knew the exact tree to use, the tree just up the road from the entrance to the Borron home place on the north side of the road. They didn't cut the tree down, but instead cut off all the branches on the north side of the tree. The little tree survived, but grew lop sided having branches only on the south side of the tree. Strangely enough this pine tree became a part of my childhood Christmas memories as I always knew we had arrived at Grandpa's house when the pine tree came into my view on the horizon. The tree lived through many years of ice storms, tornados, and the wear and tear of children using it's branches. The pine tree finally died and was cut down in 2009. I miss that tree.
I hope you have enjoyed reminiscing. Have a Merry Christmas!