In the afternoon of March 11, 2017, the Linda Mae Mahon Lema Foundation joined a conversation between six former students of the Rhoads one-room schoolhouse. The participants were Lesley Blodgett Ostman, Joan Hahn Holt, Betty Augustine Woolever, Leo Fassler, Melba Ledbetter Mosher, and Refugio Martinez. They represented Rhoads School graduating classes from 1941 to 1947. As with other children in the area, after completing their schooling at the Rhoads School, they went on to high school. All except Joan graduated from Elk Grove Union High School. Joan graduated from McClatchy High School in Sacramento.
The former students' conversation revolved around how lesson plans were administered in a single classroom which held first to eighth graders, including memories of recesses, the annual Christmas play, ballgames with other one-room schools, keeping the heat on in the winter, and getting to school by walking, horseback, or riding a bicycle. There was even discussion about the school outhouse. All of the participants knew each other and spent a good deal of time reminiscing about other classmates, details of the various farms and ranches of the area, and some of their special memories, including memorable hijinks.
It took nearly a year for the LMML Foundation to coordinate and produce this recording session, but the effort was most worthwhile. As the afternoon progressed, the participants not only reacted to each other by stimulating and sharing common memories, but the became more and more animated in their descriptions of life in the era of the one-room schoolhouse—much to the delight of those manning the microphones and recording devices. The session was unscripted and the graduates lovingly shared their stories in a manner that allowed us to be transported back to a mostly bygone age.
Also witnessing the recording session were long-time area resident and LMML Foundation member, Mel Pierson, along with Roberta Tanner and Louis Silveira, both associated with the Elk Grove Historical Society and the Rhoads School Museum and Living History Program.
We are most thankful to the Rhoads School alumni for sharing their stories and we look forward to publishing podcasts of those stories on our website and Facebook page in the coming weeks.