Memoir focuses on one-room school in Shoreham

SANFORD ROUSE, SEEN here in Brandon where he now resides, casts his memory back to the 1930s and the one-room school in East Shoreham where he was educated with six other children. He captures those memories in his second memoir, “The Little Red Schoolhouse.”

BRANDON — Sanford Rouse is at it again. In his recently released second memoir, the 93-year-old Brandon writer is taking readers back more than eight decades to the less complicated world he knew growing up in East Shoreham.

“The Little Red Schoolhouse” recounts some of the details of daily life in a one-room school in the years of the Great Depression, before World War II, before the world got more complicated.

This new book continues the story that Rouse told in his first book, “Days of Yesteryear,” which came out a little over two years ago.

“I have enjoyed doing my writing and there are so many memories I can remember so well,” Rouse said.

Those memories include the teacher Mary Williams of Benson, whose parents owned the hardware store in the nearby town. Miss Williams oversaw the education of seven children: Edith Delano; Arthur Timmo and his sister Joyce Timmo; Rachel LaCass and her brother Daniel LaCass; and the Rouse boys, Sanford and Charles. Those surnames are probably familiar to some people in the area.

Rouse tells about things he learned and people he grew up with in the Little Red Schoolhouse. His memories, as sharp as they are, were surely aided by the work of another teacher, Katherine Howard of Benson, whom Rouse described as “a very nice teacher … and a great photographer.” Miss Howard photographed the children in her school and recorded their names on the back of the photos — surely an aid to future historians.

The writer’s memories of Miss Howard came from a second Shoreham school he attended, the Richville School, where he and his six schoolmates were sent when the little red schoolhouse was shuttered. Not to worry, the Richville School was only about a mile from Rouse’s home.

And it was bigger. The Richville School had all grades from first through eighth, Rouse said. It wasn’t quite so little, but it was still a rural Vermont school from the first half of the last century, so it was in some ways a different world.

In “The Little Red Schoolhouse” our nonagenarian scribe recounts how at the end of the school year “Miss Howard would reward us by taking all the students to the Methodist Church for a school picnic.” And it wasn’t just the food that stuck in Rouse’s memory; after the picnic the parents would carpool the children into Middlebury to the Campus Theater on Main Street to the movies. He particularly recalls seeing Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” — in Technicolor.

“What a great day!” Rouse effuses.

Want to read more? “The Little Red Schoolhouse” is for sale at Carr’s Gift Shop in Brandon.

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