SHS

As a kid, I did anything I could to please my grandparents. It did not matter which side of the family they were on, I wanted to make them happy.

That was especially true when it came to my Grandaddy, Oscar Roberson. He was my Mom’s father and our next door neighbor.

In my memory’s eye, he could have been a Norman Rockwell illustration of an old southern gentleman. Bib overalls during the week with a straw hat, the kind with the green visor in the front. And his walking stick.

For Sunday’s, he would clean up very well. Being dressed appropriately was a part of preparing for worship for the church elder.

As a grade schooler, I was so proud that I was going to the same school my Granddaddy Oscar had attended.

One of my favorite memories of my years at Farm Life School involved my Granddaddy. I think I was in fourth grade when I went into the library to look for a book for my North Carolina history project.

Even then I was a history geek and found this a perfect excuse to browse the big, old books in the corner no one ever checked out.

Mind you, this was a point in our history where we actually took a card out of a pocket in the back of the book, wrote our name on the card and gave it to the librarian. Younger readers may want to Google this process, but I promise it did exist. Moving on.

I remember finding what I needed for my project in one of those big old books in the corner. I took it up to the desk and carefully flipped the heavy, tattered pages over in order to take the card from the back pocket.

And then I saw it, on the same card I was about to sign I found a name I recognized. In smeared pencil – Oscar Roberson. I don’t remember the exact year, but it was the mid to late 1920s.

I proudly wrote my name a few lines under my grandfather’s and turned in the card. The book was so heavy I could hardly get it to the bus that afternoon. But I did and managed to lug it the entire way up the lane once I got off the bus at my grandparents house.

He and I spent the afternoon in the front porch glider looking through the book. I don’t remember much about the conversation but I can hear him telling me most of it was ancient history by the time I read it and it was just history when he checked out the book.

We lost Granddaddy just a few months later. But I have never forgotten how proud he was to have been in one of Farm Life School’s earliest classes when it opened. He never took for granted how fortunate he was to have gotten an education at a time when not everyone did.

And he always reminded me how fortunate we all were to have a good education right around the corner from home. For generations, we were the fortunate ones at Farm Life School.

Sarah Hodges Stalls is a Staff Writer for The Enterprise. She can be reached via email at shstalls@ncweeklies.com.

Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.