Alikanna Remembered

Front Row – Bus Rogers, Ray Adey, John Masters, Bill Robertson, Fred Lewis, James Davison, Bob Eady, Sam Greenburg

Middle Row – Georgia Foreman, Ruth Yocum, Leona Price, Hazel Bauman, Lizzie Rogers, Nellie Dailey, Marie Bell, Mary Foreman, Harriett Hullian, Mr. Sivard

Back Row – Verna Dailey, Edna Walter, Mae Woodward, Bessie Greenburg, Edna Robertson, Wilma Bauman, Mary Dailey, Anna Orwick, Hannah Myers, Alma Bevan

Class at Alikanna school.
Pat Barnett, donated these photos for the website. Her grandmother and her two sisters are in the picture and since her grandmother was twelve, at the time the photo was taken, she was able to identify the other students and had written it down before she died. She's on the left in the back. Her older sister is the tallest one and their younger sister is right in front of the older one.

{Sally Merrill Speaker wrote, Alikanna Remembered. The following is taken from pg. 65, titled Winnie Poe - exactly as it was written.}

My fondest of memories are of the years we lived on the creek. I can remember when I was little, we moved up to the old schoolhouse. I was five years old cause I started school that September. My oldest memory was walking into that old schoolhouse with the blackboards on the wall and I begged my mom and dad to leave them there so I could write on them.

About the same time, I remember my brothers taking me to a gathering at the new school to meet the teachers. I loved school but I missed a lot cause I had everything known to kids at the time. I had measles, mumps, whooping cough, asthma, all in first grade.

Every October we had a Boston Pie Social at the school. The fellows in the higher grades (7 and 8) would bid on boxes that the girls had decorated and each had a pie in it. Whoever got the prettiest box and bid the highest got to sit with the girl and eat his dinner. They had ice cream for us little kids and a Halloween play, which all the kids participated in. It was really nice and I always got to go. Ice cream was a treat.

The best education anyone can get is a 1 or 2 room school. Teachers have time. They cared. Every morning we’d say the Pledge of Allegiance and The Lord’s Prayer. They’d teach you to read, write, and rithmetic, and they would use a paddle but I never got it. I loved school.

It’s good to have memories cause I was poor. I had a dress. I wore boy’s shoes and ate a lot of onion sandwiches. Many times I think growing up poor made me a better person. You appreciate what you have.

Before we started school that fall, my brother James and Howard Barcus, my brother-in-law, got together, sold junk, and saved enough money for shoes. I was barefooted. They bought me a pair of shoes. They were little with buttons and straps. I wouldn’t take them off. I even slept in them. I was afraid I would wake up in the morning and they wouldn’t be there, like it was a dream or something.

Sometimes we’d have square dances. That was our entertainment. We’d have a good time. On Sundays we’d go for walks. It never failed. There would be quail everywhere. I can still hear them and see them. There were so many nice people there. We grew up with the Bodo family, which was the best neighbor in God’s earth. Craig Grafton was the milkman and you never knew what he had on his truck. Besides milk, he’d have strawberries or whatever grew in the garden. The Merrill’s lived on the hill then. Went to school with Bob and Sammy.

We moved for a short time then my mother died and we moved back up to the creek. When the schoolhouse became empty, we moved back in and lived there till I was married to Dave. By the time we moved back, the Merrill’s had their new house built and their father had died.

We spent a lot of time there. Grandma Merrill made everyone feel welcome. She’d say, “I’m too tired to bake today,” so she’d only made 14 or 15 pies.

{Oak Grove School, Alikanna}

I Wonder Why, by Frank J. Merritt

They’re going to tear our old home down.

They start next Monday morn

Our folks, they moved out yesterday

And it sits there so forelorn.

No more will it ring with happy shouts

Or have footsteps or the stars

No more at dusk will we gather around

And have our evening prayers.

The walls that shook with happy shouts

At parties, games and such

No more the curtains tremble

At Mamma’s homey touch.

No more we’ll draw up water

From the well upon the hill

When on a hot and sunny day

We’d go and drink our fill.

They’re going to pull the old house down

For a new road going through

Mommy’s eyes are filled with tears

And her heart was torn in two.

Why do they have to do these things?

And bring tears to Mommy’s face

Why can’t they, if they want a road

Make it some other place?

Flora L. VerStraten end notes - Alikanna finally did succumb to U.S. State Route 22 in 1992. We note in old county records there was a beautiful old Methodist Church built there as well as an old pioneer cemetery referred to as the Speaker Cemetery. Some old timers talked of seeing the workers shove the old pioneer cemetery into the river during the early construction of Rt. 7. Surely this is not true? The old Oak Grove Schoolhouse once stood in Alikanna.  Stanton Park was nestled up on the lovely hills above where the area was covered with wild flowers, natural springs, and beauty as far as the eye could behold! This site was selected for an area landfill. I don't know if the landfill is currently being used (Jan. 2008) but you can only imagine how all the beauty was taken from the area when the highway came in and the landfill began dumping.