Tarina Zebroski-Kopren

When I went to the Okobojo Country School it was a two-room schoolhouse. The summer before I started school. Dad & I stopped to talk to the carpenter who was putting in folding doors to divide it into two rooms. They could be opened to make one room when we needed it. We also had two teachers Miss Plumber was the lower grade teacher. Mrs. Pierce was the upper grades teacher also Miss McDonald (?? I can't remember her name for sure) for a year or so. The families that attended were Sargents, Trumbles, Finleys, Binkleys, Halls, Weischedels, Zebroskis, and a couple of others. 

Okobojo School also had a brand-new outhouse the largest I have ever seen. It was a very important part of every student's day because we used it to play ''Annie-I-Over the outhouse." It was a two-room building with four holes on each side pretty high class. My grandma had knitted me a pair of red mittens and I lost one down one of the holes & it never saw the light of day again. The old outhouse was lying on it side in a far corner of the playground. We put it to use as a fort. 

Since there was no running water at school we took turns bring the water cooler with fresh water to school. 

I went to country school until I was a third grader. Then we moved closer to town and started town school. It was a rude awaking for this little country girl. The kids were not near as nice. They couldn't believe that we played with our sisters at recess, well if you didn't play with your siblings at country school, that would have eliminated about half the kids. I remember the whole school playing baseball together & having snowball fights. I don't remember anyone not letting me play games even though I was one of the little kids. Of course they would have had to deal with my two big brothers so maybe that was the reason. 

One of the very first times I was at school, I walked too close to the swings and got cut on my head. Once was all it took for me to learn that lesson. Kindergarten was only for a couple of weeks. We took naps in the afternoon on mats. I was the only girl in my class, The boys were Mark Trumble, Tom Sargent, & Marty Finley. Linda Hall was there for part of a year maybe when I was 1st or 2nd grader.

My brothers sometimes rode a horse to school and then had to go check livestock at the noon recess. We sometimes walked to school. I think that it was only a mile or two. Mom usually picked us up. One day after school when we were giving some boys a ride as far as our house & the boys all dared my brother, Tom to jump out of the back of our jeep. Mom slowed down to go around a corner and he jumped. He got pretty banged up, and was bloody but you know how any cut on your head bleeds.

One recess my brother Tim ate a grasshopper and I remember my brother Tom swallowed a button on a string & then pulled it back up. Yuck! 

We had our Christmas program at the Okobojo Hall. I remember standing up there & and being so scared because there were so many people in the audience & it was such a big place. Dale Bartels was always Santa. I never knew that till years later because at that time I was a true believer. I was in awe of Tom Sargent when he teased Santa that he was going to go out side & untie his reindeer. Didn't he want anything for Christmas? 

When I was in college (about 1979 or so) and I was home at Thanksgiving, we went to a Turkey Ball at the old hall. It had shrunk considerably. I couldn't believe how small it seemed. 

One year for the Homecoming parade we rode in the back of a pickup or on a flat bed & portrayed Alice in Wonderland. I was dressed in two big white pieces of paper & was one of the playing cards. In the spring we had a playday at the fairgrounds beside Onida. There were other country schools there but I am not sure if the town kids were there. We ran foot races, high jump, long jump, & block races. This was in the Vietnam War era as I remember Mrs. Pierce's son was injured by being kicked in one of his kidneys. (I think?)While she was a teacher there, she had the radio on to listen for updates about her son.

If you are looking for more information on Okobojo Country School, I know that Jane Trumble wrote a couple of articles on country school that were published in the Onida Watchman about 20 years ago. There is also a display at the Alumni building at the Sully county Fairgrounds that has the history of the county schools on display there. This display also includes pictures. Elton Eller did a wonderful job on this display and so I want to give him credit.                    

 [Written March 2001]