The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Day Of The Easter Egg Hunt

By Beulah S. Fox © 1986

Issue: March, 1986

It was the last of March with the chill still in the air. Stowersville School, named for the ancestors of some of the pupils who attended, stood just off the dirt road in Bland County, Virginia, showing its age of over a hundred years. Once it had been a larger school, but now it was lucky to have 20 pupils in seven grades and one teacher. The pupils were bright-eyed children of farmers who tilled the surrounding fields.

Teachers had done their best to make the schoolroom livable by whitewashing the walls. Wainscoting came up about a yard from the floor. Many holes had been cut in the wood by pocket knives. the holes were stuffed with paper and broken pencils. A few windows were broken with cardboard tacked in.

The sun came in through the high windows spotting the heads of the children and making a pattern on their desks.

On that particular day, excess energies had accumulated for everyone was looking forward to the Easter egg hunt to be held at 3:00. School was out at 4:00. We had an hour for the party. I felt shy and left out. I felt different because I had long hair. All of the other girls had short hair.

Time came for lunch. We marched out and took our lard buckets which contained our lunch, from the shelf in the cloakroom. The girls went to their favorite eating place, underneath a large walnut tree in back of the school. There we sat down and began eating our lunch. Our lunch consisted of meat and applebutter on biscuits. We hurried and played house under the tree. House consisted of a floor plan bounded by rocks.

After playing for a while, we went back to the school building and pulled out some tin, leftover from covering the roof, from under the floor of the building and used it to play jackrocks on. Our jackrocks were small round rocks and treasured for their uniformity.

The bell rang and we went back inside. It seemed that 3:00 would never come.

After that, we marched up to the recitation bench to recite our History and Geography. Finally we were allowed to go outside for the Easter egg hunt. That morning each pupil had brought colored eggs dyed with onion hulls and catnip plant. The eggs were hid by one of the parents while we were in the schoolroom. We were told to look within a certain boundary. It wasn't long until all the eggs were found. A little boy had found the most eggs and received a small prize.

Then our teacher took us about half way up the hill behind the school. She told us we were going to have an egg roll. The object was to roll the egg down the hill about 20 feet into a small hole. Boys and girls tried, each person missing until my turn. I tried and the egg went into the hole. The teacher said, "Beulah, how did you manage to do that?"

I said, "I noticed that everyone was aiming at the hole and missing it about four inches. I tried aiming four inches to the right of where they had started and hoped it would hit the hole. It did. That's all I did." My teacher laughed.

Suddenly I didn't feel so shy anymore. I had done something the others hadn't done. The prize was a box of candy. I couldn't have been happier.