I cannot guess how many times I passed the old country school house and said to myself, "Next time we drive by we must stop to take a picture." At first, the walls were still standing, although the glass in the windows was gone. Each time we passed, the wood was a bit more gray and the trees around it were dying, more broken branches hanging from the solitary trunks. Yet, I continued to promise myself that I would pause for photographs--next time. We were in too much of a hurry, or the sunlight was wrong for a decent photograph, or I had on the wrong shoes to walk into the field for a decent shot.
Last weekend as we hurried home from an out-of-town trip, the angle of the sun caught the lonely wall holding the old school house bell tower perfectly, and I remembered my advice from last week's post. 'Don't wait too long,' I had urged. 'Take the time to appreciate old sites and pause to listen to the memories of elderly friends and family.' Note to myself: Take Your Own Advice! So my patient husband pulled to the side of the road and waited as I took the photographs shown in this blog of the last stand of an old country school in Pawnee County. If he had not chosen to take a different route home (which I had fussed at him about, since I was eager to get home), we would never have passed by the old school. Perhaps the next time we would have gone that way it would have been too late. I'm glad I took my own advice instead of being in a hurry once again.
My blog contains many posts about country schools, and the old photographs of country schools posted in those blogs are among readers' favorite images. If you are curious you can browse through past posts to find them. The Kansas Historical Society has an entry about "Country Schools" that shares an interesting summary, including this trio of names attached to country schools--Prairie Flower, Buzzard Roost, and Good Intent. If you are curious to do more research, you may go to https://www.kshs.org/p/rural-kansas-schools-bibliography/13607 for a listing of books and articles about rural Kansas schools.
My purpose for this blog, however, was simply to share the photographs of that disappearing country school and to let you know that I took my own advice. You too might want to make a 'Note to Self' the next time you are in a hurry and don't think you have time to spare a few minutes to enjoy something that may be gone before you have another chance to pause.
P.S. This old structure could have been a church with a bell tower rather than a school. It is located a few miles east of Larned, and if anyone recognizes it and has information to share, please do so.