My how change takes place. Someone said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” That is so true. No one brings this to my mind like my sister Susie, who collects old things.
Susie collects old books and things such as catalogues. When I go and visit her in Minnesota, I really enjoy browsing through them. One such catalog is dated 1929 from the Chicago Mail Order Co. The address is only Chicago. There is no street address. There is no zip code. No post office box.
Anyone thumbing through the pages of this old catalog can see that gas prices are not the only prices that have quadrupled in the last 75 years. This catalog of Susie’s advertised a new suit for women: “Smart women’s three-piece ensemble of all wool tweed.” It described the blouse as hip-length, the pleated skirt of the same color and it also has a full length coat that came with it for $9.98! Oh yes, the print at the bottom of the page said: “We pay the postage.” What a bargain!
There were bargains for men too. One advertisement said: “Shirts & Positively the greatest work shirt in America!” The description claims that all seams on these shirts were triple stitched. The price? Two shirts for $1! That is a buck! They even had larger sizes for larger men which they called “stout sizes.” Stout sizes came from 17 1/2- to 20-inch neck but they upped the price of the bigger shirts to two for $1.15!
Susie also collects old school books — readers, old social studies and math books. She has old books of poems and originals printings of some of the great novels.
Education materials from long ago have changed a lot.
One is Susie’s readers was an original McGuffy’s Eclectic Reader. Still in good condition. Anyone can read it clearly. On page 83 it read: “When the stars at set of sun watch you from on high, when the morning has begun, think the Lord is nigh: God made the little birds to sing and flit from tree to tree. ‘Tis he who sends them in the spring to sing for you and me.”
Another read: “All you do and all you say, he can see and hear. When you work and when you play, think the Lord is near.” And: “All your joys and griefs he knows, Counts each falling tear. When to Him you tell your woes, know the Lord will hear.”
The old school book for children mentioned the Lord? A holy God? A God of heaven and earth? I suppose then it was politically correct.
Maybe I am old fashioned but schools today are just not the same. I don’t think the old ways were necessarily the best ways but I do think that some where along the way, many of our children don’t know that the Lord can be and wants to be the center of our lives. If we don’t teach that at home, the world will not stress the message of Christ. If we don’t live out godly principles in our homes, the children will surely not find those godly principles in the world of today.
I am not archaic in my thinking about education. I am plenty up to date on teaching classes on line, assessment techniques for aggregated and disaggregated data and action research in the field of education.
But I do think that education in America has strayed in some ways far from where we began and the results are manifest in our society today.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: