My Memories and Acquired Knowledge of Sandlake School by Mildred Brode Wilkins

(Note that Mildred Brode Wilkins submitted this information to someone at Nestucca Valley Middle School during the years that students were working on the Heritage Project. It was discovered several years later and is typed below. My gratitude is extended to Mildred for such well thought out and well communicated memories of life in the Sandlake area! db)

Over the years Sandlake had three grade schools and a high school for a time.

One of the schools was located west from the store on what is now known as Galloway Road. It was across Sand Creek bridge a short distance and on the north side of the road. Another school was built about one and a half miles north of Sandlake. Carl Ward later farmed that area; then the Green family moved there. The latest school was located across the road from the store at the junction of the road with Galloway Road. It was a large two-room building. It housed a high school and all 8 grades until about 1927 the high school students were bussed to Cloverdale, and the school became a two room grade school. Four grades were in each room. I believe that took place the year that Mr. & Mrs. Roy Grettie came as the teachers.

My mother, Beatrice Clark Brode, came to Sandlake on a farm in 1918 from Bay City. She taught in the Bay City school for at least two years. After arriving in Sandlake she rode a horse to Woods and taught there during the week returning home on the weekends. She had a small child that was being taken care of by her husband during the week. The road between Woods and Sandlake was completed in the early 1930s. She taught for many years at Sandlake in both upper and lower grades substituting when needed.

In 1928 Mr. Roy Grettie and wife, Estelle Grettie, came as the teachers for both rooms. They had three daughters, Roberta, Ruth and Alma.

Following them Beatrice taught again and her sister, Laura Clark, came from California and finished teaching out a year that another teacher could not finish.

About this time Alpha Kerr taught for a year. Other teachers that I know of are Grace Drew, Leona Gould, Fern Osborne, Ms. Lindberg and a Mr. Smith up to 1955.

My borhter, Woodrow Brode, and his wife, Grace, both substituted on occasion. They also taught in at least two other schools in Tillamook County.

Being a country school we had very few minimal discipline problems. Most of them were handled by "staying after school" or writing something a set number of times on the blackboard. Of course staying in and missing recess was about the worst. Passing notes, talking or chewing gum were about the only things that brought on punishment.

One discipline problem that I remember was when one of the upper room boys thought he could get away with anything because his father was on the school board. The teacher caught him shooting spit wads at the ceiling. They would stick and made the ceiling look bad. He was expelled from school and sent home. His father was back immediately to speak with the teacher. She informed him that either he or his boy or both were going to clean the ceiling. That is exactly what happened. Boy and father worked all weekend to accomplish this.

Walking to school was the only way to get there. And, we had better be on time. The first bell was rung by the teacher or a designated student at 8:55 AM. The "last" bell was rung at 9:00 AM, and we had better be at school. On nice days we would line up outside while the flag was raised. After saluting the flag we would march into the classroom and stand at our desks while we sand America then were to stand reverently while our teacher offered a short prayer.

Some of the studetns had quite a distance to walk. One family lived near the Boy Schout camp on the south side of Cape Lookout. That was probably about 3 miles. Their cousins lived southeast of Sandlake on the hill, and that was about 3 miles for them. Their father would set bear traps along the trail so as to make it safer for them. Many times when the weather was bad the younger girl would get to spend the night at our house. That was fun!

Our lunches were in tin pails, purchased lunch boxes, metal cigar boxes, lard pails or paper sacks. There was no soda pop and few brought milk or other drinks. My mother would bring mild to school, and all students had their own cup and would get at least one cup of milk each day. I despised milk but still had to drink my cup.

Our school day was from nine AM until four PM. The yhounger ones were dismissed about 2:30 PM. We had a teachers' institute day maybe a couple times a year. Other than that we only were off the usual Washington's birthday, no spring vacation, Armistice Day and Thanksgiving coming back to school on Friday. Then we were off for Christmas, for the week between then and New Years. We went back to school the next day. That was probably the reason why we were out of school by the middle of May.

After lunch each day our teacher would read to us for one hour. We were given the choice of books. We liked Little Women and Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come etc. That was reallyh a bonus. Of course if we were not behaving properly there would be no reading.

The County Health Nurse, Mrs. Wells, would come about twice a year and would weigh us, measure us, check our ears, eyes and noses etc. That was an exciting day. Then we could compare how we measured up with each other. I still remember the time she told me that if I washed my hands until they squeaked I would be less apt to get sick. That concept is still being preached today.

Recess was, of course, one of the special times of the day. As we ran outside we were all calling out the place we wanted on the baseball team. First batter, pitcher, catcher etc. Of course we just played "work-up," but to us that was real baseball. Other games that we played were Steal-Pegs, Run-Sheep-Run, Kick the Can and of course just plain Anti-Over the school house.

We had two swings and two sets of rings. Under them was a generous supply of beach sand that was replenished each year by the local people hauled in by team and wagon from the beach, probably Galloway beach. Our play shed for many years was a small building with a woodshed on one end and an open area on the other with a horizontal ladder across two sides. We would get lots of blisters on our hands by swinging on it. When the weather was too bad for us to go outside to play we played blackboard games and other 'quiet" games in the classroom.

The big wood heater in the back of the room was a real comfort, and we would crowd around it to get dried out and warmed up. The teacher would designate some of the "bigger" boys to carry in the wood. It was a good place to sit and eat our lunches. We had very little equipment, but we had fun . . . used our imaginations and made it up.

In the early 30s the district decided that we needed to have indoor plumbing. Hurray! No more trips to the 3-holer out by the back fence. Some students had to be taught h ow to use the facilities as they did not have them at home. Only 4 squares of paper was all we could use. Anyway that was better than the Sears Catalog!

The floors in the school rooms were fir boards about 4" across and were well oiled with linseed oil. The sand on the playground was hard on the floors. Our desks were the usual kind . . . with an ink well and storage place for books and papers. They were to be kept neat and clean. They would be inspected periodically, and usually the boys had a job to do!! It must be done before they could go home.

We studied the usual . . . like arithmetic, geography, history, English, spelling, reading (literature) and writing. In the 7th & 8th grades we studied civics.

Our penmanship was monitered. Palmer method was taught, and we were supposed to write so it could be read easily. In the 5th grade we were made to feel really grown up by being given an ink pen and a bottle of ink. We were taught how to dip the pen and not get it on each other!!!

One of the most exciting highlights of the year was our Christmas program. It was held in the Sandlake Grange Hall. The Christmas tree was the biggest tree ever. By drawing names each one was insured to receive a gift. The whole neighborhood would turn out for the occasion. Several times my dad, Lucius Brode, was the Santa Claus. I didn't know it was him. Bags of candy with oranges and all kinds of nuts were given to us after we had said our pieces and sung our songs. What fun! We were so proud of our program. (Another Santa Claus was Everret Allen.)

The only lights we had were gasoline lights hung around the hall. They made a dim light which added to the mystery of the gifts under the tree. One time a storm, a "sou'wester," was so bad we had to cut it short and h ead for home.