Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Basement

This is a series of posts about Owatonna State School Museum (starting here), within a series of posts about our three week holiday in the US in June, which starts here.

One of the prevalent comments made by State Schoolers in their stories was about scrubbing and polishing the floors in the main rooms of their cottages. 

They hated this work not just because it was hard but because it was all to the benefit of the staff. 

The children didn't live on the main floors, the children - when not working or at school - lived in the basement!

Each child had their own chair, which was recognised as a tool for order and accountability.  I suppose a vacant chair would immediately identify if anyone was missing. 

The floor of the basement was concrete, so the boys could 'roughouse' without worrying about hurting anything (other than themselves). 

To be fair, it looks as though the Matron spent a good deal of time in
the basement as well.

They played games, shot baskets and generally hung around.  They entered and exited the building via the basement door, walking two by two.

"At bedtime, Miss Morgan would dismiss us one at a time. Some nights, she required each of us to sing a song, recite a poem or do an act before leaving. Then it was up the stairs to brush our teeth and go to bed."

If I had to live in a basement, I know just what I would have been doing.


Anonymous said...

Oh how times have changed! I think I would have been terrified to live in a basement! All the creepy-crawlies.

Shelley said...

AA - Actually, it looked pretty clean when we were there and with all the radiators and such I suspect it was fairly warm. Well, as warm as concrete floors get. It just seems strange to have such a large house and have the kids all live in the basement. Maybe it was just easier to keep clean and a better way to keep track of them.