$12.95 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781608449903
72 pages
Also available at fine
bookstores everywhere

Excerpt from the Book


It's a bright early September morning in 1937.

There's a hint of coolness in the air and a sense of anticipation and excitement. More people and more cars are on the neighborhood streets today. Everything seems busier than usual.

The building is solid and strong, serious yet welcoming. The dark brick walls, large windows and bold dormers on the roof reveal an architectural style of days gone by. The encompassing black iron fence stands ready to defend and protect.

Inside, the walls vibrate with sounds of voices and laughter. The faint smell of the janitors floor cleaning powder lingers in the air. Rows of doors stand open awaiting new arrivals.

She is prepared. Wearing her crisp conservative dress and sensible shoes, her hair is set in perfect rows of finger waves. Her footsteps echo as she walks along the hardwood floors. Entering her assigned room, she pans the faces of the children who will be under her charge for the next term.

She is 19 years old, stands a mere 5' 2" and weighs in at 78 pounds soaking wet. She is hardly bigger than some of her third grade students. But she is prepared...she thinks.

Thirty one faces gaze back at her. Boys and girls grouped together from various backgrounds and circumstances. Little girls dressed in their best first day of school dresses, hair ribbons neatly tied and pig tails perfectly platted. Little boys with fresh haircuts, shirts attempting to stay tucked into their pants. Some are smiling, some appear a bit scared and a couple reflect total annoyance.

The bell rings.......the first day begins.......


Victoria Mae Schneider (called Peggy all her life) started teaching third grade at York Street School in Newport, Kentucky in 1937. She continued teaching through December, 1940.

Like the rest of the country and much of the world, Kentucky faced great difficulty with the arrival of the Great Depression. There was widespread unemployment and little economic growth. Jobs were scarce and times were difficult for most families and as a result, affected the lives of the children as well.

During this time, Miss Schneider collected and compiled a scrapbook of many hand written excuses sent in by the parents of her students regarding why they were absent from school. These humble and many times humorous notes give us a glimpse into the lives and lifestyles of these children. Mother and Fathers' parenting skills and various disciplinary styles are reflected.

The following pages contain these written excuses. For privacy and consideration, the last names have been removed from the notes.

Enjoy your journey through the lives of these students of York Street School. Imagine who they were and who they became as adults. Consider the role Miss Schneider may have played in the young impressionable minds of these children of the Great Depression.