Good morning, readers! Do you long for a simpler place and time? An era without tanking 401(k)s, cell phones or Blackberrys?
Wouldn't it be great to be a kid again? On a farm, maybe, at the turn of the 20th century? When America gleams like a chest full of shiny silver dollars, and nothing can stop you from achieving your manifest destiny?
You can make the trip Saturday, at the Museum of the Waxhaws.
The second season of History Alive! will transport you and your family back 107 years.
Let me set the stage: You enter the museum and it's Nov. 1, 1901. It's the first day of school, now that the crops are harvested and the cotton is on the way to the gin.
There is no tax-free holiday to buy 27 new outfits to make a great entrance. Your mother washed your clothes, but you don't look a whole lot different than you did yesterday, when you fed the chickens and slopped the hogs. You are, however, a lot cleaner, and you definitely smell better.
As you left home, your father admonished you to pay attention and not sass the teacher, or when he's through with you, you will have “…no behind left, child!” (Funny how the federal government transposed those very words a century later.)
You are in Miss MacFarlane's class. So is your best friend, Prudence. Your big brother, little sister and the exceedingly cute Crawford twins, who don't much care for you, are in that class, too. In fact, your school consists of one room and Miss MacFarlane teaches everybody.
Miss MacFarlane is the creation and alter ego of actor, chanteuse, writer and Parkwood Middle School drama teacher Barbara Pratt. Barb told me she first portrayed the schoolmarm almost five years ago for a cultural arts program at Waxhaw Elementary.
She named the character after her now 97-year-old grandmother, who actually taught in a one-room schoolhouse. Barbara has done continual research since creating the character. The Miss MacFarlane who greets you is a composite of many women of that era, including Miss Hattie Rateree, Waxhaw's first teacher in the one-room school that stood near what is now BB&T.
So return to the time before graphing calculators, Hanna Montana lighted backpacks, Magic Markers, Microsoft Word and the Self Esteem Movement. One thing, though. Miss MacFarlane puts a great deal of stock in punctuality. She simply won't abide tardiness!