My memories of Dallas Village and Rison School were some of the happiest times of my childhood. These notes are written to record some of the events during this time.
We (my cousins and neighbors) did interesting fishing on the bank of the "big ditch." We caught tadpoles and minnows, putting them in tin cans. They died in a few hours after being placed in ditch water, but we really did enjoy fishing.
Raided the kitchen and swiped potatoes and cooked them on the bank of the ditch. Since scouting was unknown by us we swiped matches from the kitchen. Fortunately, we did not get burned. We did get tongue-lashings when we were caught and sometimes more severe punishment.
Another event that was interesting to me was the weekly payroll. Dallas Mill paid their employees each Friday in cash. Mr. Routt (the constable) rode in the back of a flatbed truck carrying a shotgun and escorted the bags of money into the mill office. The Paymaster would take the money and pay the workers. All of the workers had a numbered token and received their pay by returning the token back to the Paymaster.
An important part of our history was that the mill became unionized. The workers were trying to obtain a contract and when the mill officials would not or could not agree with them, they would strike. Some periods the mill was closed for 8 to 9 months. That was some of the hard financial times. We would get food furnished by the Union or if not eligible would work cleaning house for others, doing odd jobs to make some money to put food on the table. We were all thin people; no one had to diet. The government set up programs called Workers Project Administration (WPA) and others that our parents worked on during these lean periods. Since I was old enough to remember this, Christmastime was not very memorable. No candy and no toys. But, someone gave us a hen and we had dinner and trimmings on Christmas Day.
When school started we exchanged books with kids who had finished the year ahead of us. The school did not change school textbooks often so that you were able to get "second-hand" books. We spent a lot of time erasing notes from books we were exchanging so we could get more value for the book. When we bought new books, we were careful not to draw or mark in these books so they could be exchanged.
The 1st grade was more fun to me. Miss Esslinger would read to us and it was so interesting that you wished she would finish the book. She never did and I can't remember what happened to the mouse she read to us about. Her goals I believe now were to make us want to read and she accomplished that with me.