ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
AND SOME THAT AIN'T
Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!
I seen Betty Jo's pitcher in the paper this week. One of her young'uns was gettin' married or somethin' and they put her pitcher along with theirs and put it in there. I ain't seen Betty Jo in . . . well, I reckon she wouldn't 'preciate me tellin' how long it's been, but I ain't seen her since she got out of the eighth grade. We went to school together when they was still havin' school up there at the head of the holler. They don't have school up there no more. They ain't for over twenty years now, not since they built the new'un in town and started takin' all the kid from up here to that one. The schoolhouse is still there, but it ain't fit to have school in no more. Most of the winder lites is busted out and the school ground is all growed up in bushes. You'd have a hard time just gettin' up to it. It's kinda sad to look at.
Me and Betty Jo both growed up within walkin' distance of the schoolhouse. She was a year or two older than me and was a couple of grades ahead of me in school. I reckon I had a crush on her back then, but what with her bein' older, she never give me a secont look. But, then, I don't remember her ever givin' any of the other boys a secont look either. She didn't make no secret of it that she was leavin' here as soon she got outta school and I guess she didn't want nothin' holdin' her back. But she was a purty girl, about the purtiest one up there, and could've had any boy she wanted.
I always figgered Betty Jo would prob'ly make somethin' of herself. She was smart enough. She had a good head on her shoulders. She didn't ever have any trouble with her lessons. It seemed like she enjoyed book learnin'. And she had her mind made up about what she was gonna do. She said she was gonna finish the eighth grade, go to high school over in town and then go to college.
Some of the kids used to make fun of her when she got to talkin' about goin' to high school and college like that. There wasn't nobody from up here that ever went past the eighth grade. Even most of the teachers hadn't finished college. One of the men teachers had been goin' in the summers for what seemed like forever, but he wasn't through. He hadn't got out. I don't know that he ever did finish up. I think he just went to college forever and never did get out. And the other teacher, the woman teacher that was up there, started out doin' the same thing but quit after a couple of years. I reckon she figgered she had enough schoolin' to learn us young'uns what we needed to know.
The only person any of us ever knowed anything about that had finished up college was ol' Doc Brown. I remember he had this old battered up Jeep he got after the Secont Worlds War ended. That was back when doctors would still come to your house when you was sick and he'd drive it up here to doctor on people. But he was the only person any of us ever met that had gone all the way through college. There was a few of the boys from up here that went to high school some, but you could count 'em on your fangers. And most of them moved off to a big city somewheres after they got through. There wasn't no jobs in the holler where you needed a high school education. They had to leave if they used it.
There wasn't none of the girls ever went past the eighth grade. Well, none 'cept Betty Jo. None that I know of. Nowadays people thinks a girl needs as much schoolin' as a boy, but it wasn't like that back then. People thought that the eighth grade was plenty schoolin' for a girl. What does a girl need with a lot of book learnin'? All they're gonna do is get married and have a houseful of young'uns. It don't take no book learnin' to raise young'uns and tend to the house and garden. Their mamas can learn 'em everthing they need to know about that, how to cook, raise beans and tater, do the warshin' and ironin' and so on.
Now I ain't sayin' that was right, but that's what a lot of people thought-men and women both-so when Betty Jo started talkin' about goin' to college, a lot of 'em accused her of tryin' to get above her raisin'. Some of 'em made fun of her to her back and a few of 'em wouldn't have nothin' to do with her atall. Bein' set apart like that wasn't lost on her, but she never let on like it bothered her. She just kept to herself and, when the time come, done exactly what she said she was gonna do. She finished up high school and then went off to college somewheres.
That's when I lost track of her. The next time I seen her was in the newspaper this week. And of course that was just a pitcher of her at somebody's weddin'. It didn't tell nothin' about her, but she looks like she's done real good by herself. Maybe all that schoolin' was good for somethin' after all.
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