A School Day
I discovered the wonderful Old Flovilla School House in the village of Flovilla, in Butts County. The school house was built in 1884 and held classes until 1932. I took a tour of the museum school house with a gracious member of the Historical Society, Lillian Cowell, who opened it just for me. When the old wooden door swung open the smell of the ancient wood carried me to a different era. This is the classroom of Avery’s mother in Avery’s Battlefield and Avery’s Crossroad, exactly how I imagined it; precisely how I wrote it.
The original two-seater desks with inkwells and the blackboards painted on the wood walls… oh, what stories they could tell. Whose initials are those carved in the desk top? Did he grow up to be a doctor, lawyer, butcher, baker, a soldier,............
The volunteers from the Historical Society decorated the classroom for Christmas. The tree has cranberries and popcorn and some interesting paper and yarn ornaments. It was easy, standing there in the winter cold on a creaking floor worn shiny, to imagine the happy chatter of girls in pinafores, boys in overalls shivering around the pot-bellied stove in anticipation of Christmas those first years of peace following the Civil War. It was a time of grave degradation, but also of anticipation and hope for a future when everyone could go to school.