So I asked Mary Sandy about noon yesterday --- after she had taught eight second-grade sessions while sitting on the recitation bench at Puckerbrush School --- if she were interested in returning to teaching full time.
Mary, how age 93, said life was just too busy. That's education's loss, but we certainly were happy that she had agreed to introduce the kids to life in a one-room country school during a visit to the museum campus yesterday by about 100 of Iowa's brightest and most accomplished second-graders.
The youngsters arrived at 9 a.m. after having walked over by class from Columbus School, accompanied by teachers, chaperones --- and sack lunches.
We gathered first in Otterbein Church, then sent the youngsters off in eight smaller groups for brief visits to nine stations where historical society board members, staffers and volunteers were posted --- Stephens House, Otterbein Church, Puckerbrush School, Pioneer Cabin, Pioneer Barn, Blacksmith Shop, Swanson Gallery and Lewis Building, upstairs and down.
Each scholar brought along a clipboard with pencil and check-off sheets containing lists of items they were expected to find and identify at each stop.
I was stationed in Otterbein Church --- this year, each student was given an opportunity to ring the bell at least once.
Board member Kylie Dittmer was stationed in the Pioneer Cabin, the building that probably intrigued youngsters the most.
I'd hoped to take some photos in other buildings, too, but each time I started off to explore another group of students arrived and it was necessary to give that idea up and get back to work.
After the tours were complete, sack lunches were retrieved and everyone ate lunch on the grounds before marching back to Columbus.
These visits by students are among the most rewarding things we do every year --- the sixth-graders will be along later in the month --- but the adults do tend to get a little worn down during the process. When you add to the morning activity, regular afternoon hours (1-4 p.m.), a visit from our security technician who spent a couple of hours fiddling with the front door and a late afternoon board meeting --- it was a busy day at the Lucas County Historical Society museum.