- Excerpt from the Journal of Jess
ARNOLD (1906-1994), lifelong resident of Rock County, Wisconsin.
In this section he recalls his school experiences at the Merrifield
School and later at Edgerton High School.
- When I came to live with my father
I started to Merrifield school. I fell in love with
- the school, and the teacher the very
first day, and I never got over it. The kids were wonderful,
and the teacher was like a mother to me.
- My teachers at Merrifield school did
not only teach the three R's. They taught us
- how to play and get along with each
other, When it was time to go outdoors to play the teacher went
with us. There were several games that we liked to play. We
went from one to the other for variety.
- Softball, I think, was our favorite.
The teacher and kids of all ages took part. When
- the little ones came to bat, the fielders
had a way of falling over their feet until the little ones got
on base. We must have had a wonderful teacher over those years.
- Every spring we always had what we
called, Arbor Day. Everyone got to school
- early that day. The teacher &
kids cleaned up the yard and then started out for Merryfields
(MERRIFIELD) woods. The woods was about a 20 acre area
covered with trees, grass and flowers, and a marshy lake of about
four or five acres. At that time it was almost as nature had
made it. There were a few deep hollows filled with ferns. I
have always loved ferns. The rest of the woods was covered with
shooting stars, blue bells, violets etc.
- There were wasp nests, which looked
like Japanese lanterns, I am sorry to say that
- we boys would throw stones at them,
but as we had to be a comfortable distance for a running start
the wasps were not in too great danger. I remember that at least
one big hollow tree had a swarm of honeybees. When you looked
up between the trees you were apt to see a hawk or two soaring
overhead. They could go all four directions, and up & down
by just bending their wings in the right directions.
- By this time we were ready to have
our pail lunches by the little lake. After our lunch
- we had a game of softball, and then
it was time to head for home. Those dinner pails were filled
with the interesting things we found during the day. There was
apt to be a few turtles which found there way into a few stock
tanks, when we got home.
- The teachers we had during those years
must have been wonderful. The school board
- must have been made up of some very
fine people, to be able to choose such child loving teachers.
- I don't remember myself as being the
perfect pupil. I sometimes got some strange
- ideas in my head that made, even me,
wonder how they got there, I remember one time I was kept after
school. I sat there for about 1/2 hour, and asked the teacher
if I could go to the toilet. Instead, I ran home. Of course,
the next day I had to stay after school again. I did not care.
I would do almost anything to relieve my sense of guilt. The
teacher talked to me very kindly for a few minutes, then told
me I could go home. After that experience I loved that teacher
with all my heart. I would never again do anything to change
her faith in me. I had many teachers in my boyhood days. Years
later, I married one, (Dorothy NISKERN) she was the most
wonderful of them all, for sixty wonderful years.
- When I was 15 years old, my Aunt Tillie,
(Mathilda ARNOLD EARLE) invited me
- to come to live with her and go to
high school [in Edgerton]. She was a big woman, not fat, with
beautiful brown eyes. It was a pleasure for me to just stop
to admire her. From that day on, my life kept getting better.
- This was an entirely new world for
me. I soon gained the reputation of being shy and
- quiet. It never occurred to me to
make myself famous. I had a few teachers who told me I was a
little above average. That was good enough for me. My high
school record would have been a little better if I had had a
more loveable English teacher. She had no use for the likes
of me, and the feeling was quite mutual. But this experience
had its value. She always picked on me, but my classmates always
stood up for me, bless their hearts. I was much more interested
in having friends than being famous.