- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Background & The Beginning
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Childhood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Employment
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Elopement & Early Marriage
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Work & Travel
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Bits & Pieces
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Papa
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Grandparents & Relatives
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Mama
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Flood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Teaching
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The End
Transcription of my grandmother’s notebook. See Part 1 in the series for a full explanation. Some text is omitted to protect the privacy of living family members.
“When I was 17 I took the teachers’ examination and made a first class certificate. Schools were hard to get. I got one in Lincoln County. We went to the trustees house who was Dr. Morris. They had about half of my pupils. Some of them almost as old as I was, 3 sets of twins.
The school house was a dismal looking one room with 2 toilets. His and Hers. About 60 years have passed since that day in 1918 when my career as a teacher was about to begin. I was only 17, would celebrate my birthday in Oct. Papa had gotten his friend with an old Model T to take us. We had 4 punctures on the way.
The people I boarded with were Mr. & Mrs. Jackson who had 5 youngsters. They had a nice house, a Victrola and lots of records. My room was a Davenport in the parlor.
Monday morning I went off walking to the school with a little bell I bought for 25 cents and my lunch in a paper sack. Dr. Morris, the trustee, went with me and introduced me. The janitorial responsibility was mine. The boys would bring me kindling and carry in coal. They would carry water in a bucket and all drank from the same dipper. Hardly any of them were ever sick though.
My desk up front had a long seat in front for recitations. Some old pictures, a flag and a quart jar for flowers was the decor of the room. No paint. At recess & noon we marched out and in. At Christmas we had a program and treats.
I did not like the job and didn’t feel like I really earned the $48 per month. In Feb the Flu epidemic broke out and schools closed and was I glad. They did not reopen that year and I did not teach anymore till in my later years when I began to substitute and I loved it. I feel I really missed my calling in not continuing to teach when I was young.”1
- Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins, “Journal,” 1974–1978, Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky; privately held by Faye Hopkins McCauley, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, 1978. Spiral notebook in which Emma wrote about her life, in possession of Faye (Emma’s youngest daughter) since her death in 1978. ↩