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Special ‘interview’ highlights 100th day of school for youths PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz

The Imperial Republican

When this 100th day of school rolls around each year,  elementary students at Chase County Schools celebrate in a number of special ways.

One of those special activities Monday took Arlys Cupp’s kindergarten class to Imperial Heights for an “interview session” with Olan Wallin, who turned 100 in 2012.

Now 101, Wallin had a lot to tell the youths who are about 95 years younger about what life entailed when he was their age.

The kindergartners learned a lot from this experienced gentleman.

One that surprised most of them was Wallin’s answer of seven to their question of how many years he spent in school.

“That’s not very long,” quipped Beau Weiss.

Another asked him what he learned in school.

“Well, I guess the A, B, Cs, reading and writing,” Olan said. He assured them there were no computers or video games then.

What about recess games?

Olan said a popular one was pump pump pull away. Another was hide-and-seek. While the youngsters heard of hide-and-seek, Olan had to explain the other.

The youths also wondered how Olan got to and from the Chase School house, about three and a half miles away from his home.

Rather than ride a school bus, Olan and his four siblings took a horse and buggy, driven by his oldest sister. He told them about getting kicked in the head by one of the horses on one occasion, which drew some laughs.

He doesn’t remember having “snow days,” and the bathrooms, both at home and school, were outdoors. He agreed that it was cold out there on days like Imperial’s had this week.

Olan proudly talked about his birth in a sod house, and spending all of his years farming. He’d always lived in their home, 12 miles west of Imperial on Highway 6. He moved to the Heights six years ago.

And, no, he told the five and six-year-olds, “I didn’t farm with a tractor” back then. Rather, it was four head of horses, “and there were no combines.”

He planted his corn with a horse-drawn single head planter, one row at a time, unlike his grandsons today who plant 24 rows at once.

“I feel pretty healthy,” he responded to another question. “And take just one pill a day.”

The hardest time he remembers here were the “Dirty 30s” when the dust blew so hard “you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.”

Last week’s wind in the area was nothing, he smiled.

Before departing, the kindergartners, as a group, counted to 100, something teacher Cupp said they practice every day, not just on the 100th day of school.

The class also presented Olan his own “100” hat, a bracelet and pencil.

Cindy Hudson, a member of the Heights/Parkview staff, presented the class with 101 pieces of candy showing Olan’s age and another six in a group showing theirs, noting the vast difference in size.

 

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