While recuperating from a health issue, I discovered reruns of the TV series, “Little House on the Prairie,” stirring memories for me and some of my peers.

Most of us received our early education in a one-room schoolhouse where one teacher presided over our first eight years of formal education.

Located on the outskirts of the small town in Minnesota where I grew up, there were about 30 students in my Lutheran parochial school, including some from surrounding farms.

After Thanksgiving we began practicing for our Christmas Eve program in church. It was always such a relief for an unprepared student when the teacher announced we would begin practicing and to put away our books, pencils and writing tablets.

We were given a small scrap of paper on which he had written a Bible verse for each of us to memorize and recite at the program.

On Christmas Eve, we marched into the church singing “”Oh come all ye Faithful,”” on the way to our assigned seats.

The first Bible passage began, ““And it came to pass …”

We stood up from our front pews and turned to face the congregation as we recited the story of Christ’s birth. I remember fidgeting in my seat as I awaited my turn, so I could locate my parents in the back pews.

We were told not to turn around while seated, and most of us adhered to that command because we did not want to risk the wrath of our teacher. I had a deathly fear of him as he was a very stern taskmaster.

These recitations were interspersed with singing various Christmas hymns, accompanied by our teacher on the organ. At program’’s end, breathing a sigh of relief, we awaited the distribution of a paper bag filled with goodies from the local merchants for each of us.

An orange or an apple, some hard Christmas candy, peanuts in a shell and a few assorted nuts, and my favorite of all –a – writing tablet (remember those blue-lined tablets?) and a new No. 2 lead pencil.

Oh, the stories I planned to write! Letters to my cousin residing in a neighboring state.

Probably not good enough for a TV series such as “Little House on the Prairie,” but how I wish I could resurrect one of them.

What was on my young mind? I’’ll never know.

Merry Christmas.

 

 

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