Remembering school days at Kapp School

Joan Hart

Joan Hart


Childhood memories are strange in the way they lie dormant in the inner recesses in our brain until they are triggered by a certain word, or melody, or scent.

I have one very vivid memory, certainly not a pleasant one, of walking barefoot with a cousin in ankle deep mud on a very black night in utter darkness sometime in the early 1950s. We were walking down Kapp lane (now known as Hemlock Road) from Kapp school where we had attended some kind of celebration or meeting. A hard rain while we were there had turned the rough rocky gravel surface of the road into thick gooey mud, which had so much suction power that I had to pull off my black ballerina style flats and carry them through the mud.

I was to spend the night with my cousin, Wilma Faye, and we were walking back to her home. I’m not now nor have I ever been a country girl, and I’ve always found mud repugnant, even when my younger sisters made mud pies outside. I was always inside curled up with a good book.

Ever since that night many years ago, I never hear the name of Kapp School without thinking about that muddy walk. But I have developed fonder memories since then because my grandparents Lloyd and Amanda Smith Rowden lived almost within sight of the Kapp School, and my dad, Francis Rowden, and all my uncles and aunts attended school there and always spoke very affectionately about their school days there. I also found out this week that the original building was built on land belonging to my Uncle Bryan and Aunt Gertie Clark.

So the recent Kapp School reunion put me into research mode about the school. I went to my good friend Clyde Berg again because he is also an alumnus of the school and  a contemporary of my dad. He attended there from 1932 to 1939, skipping third grade because he was the only student in that grade. One of the benefits of attending a one room school is that the younger students could listen to the lessons taught by the teacher to the older students, and Clyde had taken advantage of that. His teacher believed he was intelligent enough to be moved immediately to the fourth grade, and the teacher’s instincts proved to be accurate.

For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.


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