The Day Education Ended at Ellum School
(C) by Jerry Davis
revised 6/15/04 after hearing it told again by my Uncle who was there.
music: "One More Last Chance"
I don't know how many years ago, but quite a few years ago, just down the road from Okra, TX. (pronounced "Oak're" by local folks). There was a "two room" school house.
This school house, as I understand it, was separated into two rooms by a coat & cap closet and a huge pot-bellied stove positioned in the center of the building. The central location of the stove could heat the whole building with the right amount of firewood.
Children from the surrounding area attended this school, known locally as "Ellum" school.
One winter day it was very cold and the kids kept complaining of being too cold. The principal had finally heard all the whining he could take and decided to build up the fire in the ole pot-bellied stove. A little later someone noticed the roof of the school was on fire.
All the children were rushed through the cloak room to the outside and most had carried their supplies with them including their books. When they got outside, my Uncle, Jim Tom Cawley, being in the second grade, decided the building was going to burn completely and that would be the end of their education. He decided to throw his books into the fire since he wouldn't be needing them again. He persuaded the other little children to throw their books back into the fire like he had done since they didn't have any educational future either.
Jim Tom said one of their darkest days came however, when two weeks later they were told they had to attend school down the road at Okra, Texas.