Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Old Pump

The old pump sat outside of the brick school house. Kids vied to pump water, women carried buckets for cooking and cleaning. Water was no longer drawn from a bucket dipped into a well. No, the handle was pumped, drawing the water to the spout as easily as turning on a faucet….well, almost as easily and a lot more fun for children.

I grew up with pumps as much a part of the landscape as were the barns that dotted the farms. Old pumps seldom used but still a standing reminder of the days when my parents attended a one-room school house and when hot water was achieved over a fire. Pumps stood outside of homes, next to barns and even outside of Painter Creek Church.

The pump stood sentry over a cement trough. I don’t know if the trough had any drainage. I do recall our trough at the old barn occasionally wore a blanket of moss. Brenda and I would ask Dad to put water in the trough so we could wear our flowered bathing suits enjoying our little outdoor pool. Rain that fell filled the wells and the troughs. Via the birds small tadpoles would sometimes find a new home in our little pool. The pump and trough were so much a part of our daily living that we forgot to notice.

On a trip long ago back to Neff Road, I took off with my camera to capture these remnants from the past. Some of the one-room school houses were now residences while some remained empty. Wells sat in the school yards unnoticed. My grandmother had taught in a one-room school house. I could envision her standing on the stoop of the old brick school sending her students out to play. A child would pump the old pump handle and small hands would cup gathering water for a cold, fresh drink.

The old pump is a reminder of simpler time, a time when children fought for the right to pump the handle, a time when women appreciated the handiness of a pump on the back porch, a time when small girls sat in the cool trough giggling, not realizing that they were sitting in a piece of history.

The old pump.


Janet said...

Pam, just catching up on "Neff Rd" today! Do you know which school house this was? You know there was one on the corner of Neff & Byreley which was probably your grandfathers farm. This wouldn't be that one, would it? I've often wondered about that building, it was long gone before I moved on that corner!!

Pamela Loxley Drake said...

Janet, my grandmother taught at the one room school house on Neff and Byreley.

These schools are both on Hog Path I think. The bigger school is the only one I'm not sure of. I love those old school houses. Each time I see them I can imagine my parents of children in old fashioned clothes running to play tag in the yard and to pump the old pump handle.

Thank you for your comment.