I arrived at the school house about 6:45 AM on the first day of school and got the fire started in the fireplace to have the school warm by the time the students arrived.
The students began filtering in about 7:30 AM. Wilfred Throckmorton was the first to arrive, which I had anticipated. He came on foot.
Next was Peggy Newcomer (possibly a relative of Daphne’s), Deborah Miller and Maryanne Mercer by buggy, driven by Ms. Newcomer. These three were as thick as thieves. They huddled around the fire and giggled incessantly.
Janey Mumma and Jimmy Poffenberger were the next in the door, delivered by Mr. Mumma on his big draft horse. Esther Line, James Clipp and Ruth Pry were delivered in a wagon by Mr. Pry. Jenny Williams arrived on foot. Wayne Douglas and Wayne Coffman arrived riding double on an old horse. Paul Piper arrived on foot. And, of course, the Sage boys were the last to arrive in a wagon.
I ushered each bunch into the school house as they arrived. They all congregated around the fireplace to warm their hands and backsides.
Once everyone had arrived, I asked them to take a desk, which would be their desk for the duration of the year. Jonah Sage opted for a desk behind Peggy Newcomer, the prettiest girl in the school, and immediately pulled her hair. She cried out. I had been watching both of the Sage boys and knew they would need to be put in their place.
I looked up and said, “Jonah, you need to apologize to Ms. Newcomer.”
He guffawed and said, “Why should I?”
“Because I told you to,” I said.
“I bet you ain’t so tough without your pistols,” He retorted.
“Aren’t,” I corrected. A few of the student laughed.
“What do ya mean,” he said.
“I bet you aren’t so tough without your pistols, is the correct statement,” I rejoined.
“Are you making fun of me?” he yelled as he rose to his feet.
“No, I’m just instructing you in the correct English,” I patiently explained.
I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Do you think you can whip me, Jonah?”
He grinned and said, “Yeah, I can.”
“Well, let’s go outside and see.”