Here is a picture of what remains of the one-room school house my mother attended as a little girl four miles from the farm where she grew up. I can just see her riding bareback on her pony cutting it across the fields, bouncing up the school steps, and conscienciously sitting at her desk learning the abc's, her numbers, how to add and subtract, learning first to print and then to write in cursive. Here is where she learned to read.
Mom told about the times in winter when her teacher would put potatoes and milk on the wood stove and the students would each get a cup of hot potato soup at lunch time. Some eighty years later, her face would light up as she'd still say it was the best potato soup she ever ate and she could still taste it.
Mom always insisted I study hard and to read, read, read. I think it's sweet that she insisted on naming me after a character in a novel she was reading at the time she was expecting me. Books gave my mother a way to travel and know what the world was like through someone else's eyes without leaving her rocking chair.
It's mind boggling to think how education has changed from back then to me now sitting in my home in front of a laptop and being able to audit a class at Yale. When I found out about http://www.academicearth.org/, a new and wonderful world opened up to me. I live with an insatiably curious mind, and I can't help digging and scrounging around for answers or explanations to things that maybe are beyond human understanding.
And, I can't help but think that this little old schoolhouse had something to do with me being like that.