New book on rural schools brings back memories for student and teacher

The Yarrow School as it was in the book, and the way it looks today (KTVO)

A newly published book is bringing the past to the present.

Two local authors, Larry Evans and Vivian Wright, are sharing snapshots of the past, from rural schools in Adair County.

97-year-old Geraldine Prather, taught for four years at the Yarrow School, and says she remembers the children the most.

“Some of them that you didn’t know for sure if they were learning or not, they just sat there so silently you wondered if they were learning, but when you’d check on them, they knew as much as you did,” Prather said with a smile.

Clara Straight, 98, still remembers her first day of school in the one-room-building.

“August 28, 1924, on my fifth birthday, and I had come all prepared because I had learned to read,” recalled Straight.

Class is no longer in session in one room school houses across Adair County, like the one in Yarrow, but the memories of the students who were taught there live on, especially thanks to a brand new book that’s just been published, titled, A Pictorial Tribute to Rural Schools: Adair County, Missouri.

“We did the second book, because after we completed the first book, we had so many pictures and memories left that we had collected from the students and teachers who taught in the rural schools in Adair County and decided that we really didn’t want these to go to waste so we published them,” said co-author Larry Evans.

“Larry and I have been working on it for a couple of years,” said Vivian Wright, co-author. “Beautiful pictures, and the memories just started coming after the first book was written people started saying oh we remember that, and we have those pictures.”

For Prather and Straight, the memories of a different time bubbled up when they saw themselves on the pages in black and white.

For them though, they saw it in color.

“They came from all over in the hills, the hills were just full of people in those days, there were little trails everywhere. Nobody cared if you walked through their place, there were kids that walked right under our kitchen window in the morning we knew it was time to go to school,” remembered Straight.

But some things, like a child’s love of recess, seems to stay the same.

“I made a rule that they had to sit down for at least ten minutes, because they wouldn’t eat their lunch, they’d just go out and play,” Prather reminisced.

Evans and Wright are doing a book signing on Saturday, November 18, at the Adair County Library from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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