Late October 1872
"Mrs.Scott,our children need a school. The Madigans tell me you're a schoolteacher. Would you consider teaching here?" Mr.Campbell asked Maggie.
"I haven't taught in quite a while,Mr.Campbell. I have my daughter to take care of and I help out here. You know what it is like a new baby on the way and three other children to take care of. How long would I have to teach?" Maggie liked the idea of teaching again but also realized that this was not the best time to take on a job.
"But the baby isn't yours,is it? From what I've heard you have only a daughter who is around fourteen. She could attend the school." Mr.Campbell pressed.
"No,the baby isn't mine. I was widowed two years ago. Hannah is my daughter. She'll be fourteen in January. When would the school start? Where is the schoolhouse? I've not seen one sine I came to Texas last month. Is the position temporary or permanent?"
"Temporary,I believe. Unless you are willing to take the job full-time. Ma'am,I have three children who need to go to school. If you are not interested then I will find someone else." Mr.Campbell sounded impatient.
"I am interested. It's just that I've only been here a few weeks and I don't even know any of the children or their families. Mrs.Madigan needs me here some of the time and of course my daughter needs me. However,I can't take on a full-time job."
"That's fine. School will start in November 5. The school is on the east corner of my propery. If you don't know where that is I'm sure the Madigans will be happy to show you. There will be fifteen to thirty students. Some have had schooling but most of them have not. It will be open three days a week from 8:30 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon. Will that be satisfactory,Mrs.Scott?" Mr.Campbell finished off in a crisp professional way.
"That'll be fine,I suppose. How old are the children?"
"The youngest ones are five or six,the oldest around eighteen. Now if that is all then I'll be on my way." He put on his hat and rose to leave."Thanks you for your time."
"You are welcome." Maggie smiled.
"Kate,why did I agree to this? Look at this,half the children can barely read or write!" Maggie had just received the list of children who would be attending school."Then some of the parents want to send the younger children along with their older children!"
"You like to teach school,Maggie. Besides,Sam couldn't read or write either. And Emily barely can." Kate reminded Maggie.
"That was different though. It wasn't a whole classroom full of children who can't read or write.
"Hannah is far ahead of all the students. Where will I put her? It's going to be difficult to place her."
"Is Hannah your only concern,Maggie? If she is,keep her here for a while. She can help me while you're gone."
"What are you going to do? I can't let you take care of this place by yourself."Maggie sat down trying to think of a good solution to all the problems.
"I'll be fine. If I need help then I'll get someone to come over. It'll be all right." Kate was sure she could take care of everything."It isn't although there is a lot to do and besides I'm not an invalid."
"Still though,Kate! What was I thinking?" Maggie didn't know what to do. She knew she had agreed to teach school and that what she planned to do."It isn't really the teaching that is the problem. It is just I've never taught such a wide range of students before and most of them can't read or write."
"Couldn't some of the older children who can read and write help you with the younger ones who can't?" Kate asked.
"It'll have to do."Maggie agreed,sighing.
"This place is a mess,"Maggie exclaimed to herself. She had gone to check out the schoolhouse and found it hadn't been used in a long time. There were cobwebs in the corners and dust everwhere."I'll get Hannah and Emily to help me clean the floors and walls.Maybe Sam could help with the desks." Then she took another look around. There were no desks only benches to sit on. The only desk would be Maggie's.
"Looks like you've got yourself a job,mate! You almost ready to go? Promised Conway I'd help him today. He's got something he wants to do for Kate." Jack told her,looking around at the dusty,cobwebby schoolhouse. He had driven her over to the Campbell's property earlier.
"Yes,I'm ready. I'm going to get the children in here to help clean this place up. What is Con doing?" Maggie took a last glance around.
"I don't know really know anything about it except he wants my help. You want Hiram Harris to make a few desks for this place? Bet he could." Jack asked her.
"He's got so much work already,Jack. But I do wish there was some way of getting real desks for the students." Maggie sighed."It just seems that at every corner there is more disappointment with this school. First most of the children can't read. Then the desks. I suppose we don't really need desks. We'll make do with what we have."
"That's the spirit,Maggie! Besides,when Hiram has time you know he'll be glad to help out. We all will be.
"My name is Mrs.Scott. I'm so glad you came today. We're going to have a wonderful time learning together." Maggie read aloud."No,that won't do either," she said exasperated. That piece of paper joined the others burning merrily in the fire beside her.
"Mama,that sounded just fine. I don't think you need to worry. You've taught before and I don't remember you ever making a speech like this." Hannah told her mother.
"I have made speeches before,Hannah. Before you were born. Of course, come to think of it I always forgot them oncec all the children had come into the school." Maggie explained,thoughtfully.
"Well,then,don't bother this time. I'll help you remember anything important you need to say. Is Emily coming to school?" Hannah asked,changing the subject.
"I really don't know. Kate wants to send her but Emily would be place in the first grade. Not that should make much difference,most of the other children can barely read or write."
Emily really wants to go to school,Mama. Please convince Kate to send her. Please?" Hannah pleaded.Emily was one of her best friends and she knew how much going to school meant to Emily.
"She does,doesn't she? I'll see what I can do but no promises,all right?" Maggie said.
Sam probably won't go unless Con makes him. You know how much he hates it.But I'm going to be with Emily so she won't be scared." Hannah remarked.
I can't imagine Emily being scared of anything. If she really wants to go remind her she probably won't be sitting with you."
Oh." Hannah sewed furiously on the baby petticoat she was making. "Emily isn't going to like that very much."
"Well,it is entirely up to you girls. Now if you'll excuse me I need to find some things I packed in my trunk for Kate." Maggie left the room leaving Hannah sewing by herself and thinking what to tell Emily who just wanted to go to school.
The first day of school twenty-nine students came.
"Look at this, Kate!" Maggie exclaimed, giving Kate the list of the children who had come to school.
Brett Campbell, Emma Campbell, Jackson Campbell," Kate read aloud." Emma is nearly nineteen, I'm surprised she came."
"Well, it was their father who wanted the school so much." Maggie answered.
True." Kate went back to reading." Alexandra Miller, Johann Miller, Maria Miller, Greta Miller, Lorelai Miller, Rickard Miller, Mikhail Miller, Emilia Miller, and Marc Miller. The nine Miller children make up a good deal of the class. They're the doctor's children, you know." she noted.
Emilia is quite a chatterbox, half in English and half in German but she made it rather clear her father was a doctor. She seemed very proud of the fact." Maggie laughed." Emilia told me about every single one of her fourteen siblings and her parents and what she remembers about Germany. Quite a little talker, that one!"
"That's Emilia, all right! She'll talk for hours on any and all subjects if you let her." Kate said." Let's see, who else came? Brian O'Conner, Katie O'Conner, David O'Conner, Patricia O'Conner, Annie O'Conner, Joseph O'Conner, and Riley O'Conner. Between the O'Conners and the Millers you've more then half the class! Oh, the Emerson girls came,too! Susanna wasn't sure if she was sending them or not last time I saw her. Beth and Becky are indentical twins but Susanna usually dresses them differently." Kate told Maggie.
"That's a relief. Today they were both wearing pink dresses. If it weren't for Rachel I wouldn't have known who was who!" Maggie exclaimed.
"James Marshall and his flower sisters, Daisy, Hazel, and Ivy. The Marshalls have two other daughters who are too young for school but they're named after flowers as well. Lily and Rose, I believe, are their names." Kate commmented. "The Price children,Cooper, Parker, Nelson, Anne, Leonard, and Melissa."Kate finished reading the lengthy list with a sigh. "Twenty-nine children plus our three. It must have been quite a day for you, Maggie."
It was. But I realized again how much I enjoy teaching. After Hannah was born I quit until she was eight or nine and taught for a couple years. But it has been quite a while since I taught such a large class!"
"You taught at Five Mile Creek." Kate reminded her.
"Not such a large class. There was only about fifteen children there." Maggie replied." All in all, this is a wonderful thing to do while I'm here. At least until January."
"You don't have to quit on my account,Maggie." Kate said."I can manage on my own just fine."
"I know that but I didn't come half way around the world to teach school." Maggie replied, laughing, the happiest she had been in over a week.