A touch of the past - Franklin Elementary holds Old Fashion Day

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Enabling students to see and touch the past is the whole idea behind Old Fashion Day at Franklin Elementary in Cape Girardeau.

The favorite part of Friday afternoon's activities for fourth-grader Owen Hill was rolling beeswax into candles.

"I think it would be hard to live without electricity and have to use candles all the time because they had fires that weren't concealed, and once a candle was used up, you had to go buy a new one," Hill said.

Franklin's first-grade teacher Winona Crampton started Old Fashion Day eight years ago.

"I did it because we study colonial living, pilgrims and Indians, and how people did things a long time ago when they didn't have TVs and all the conveniences we have now," Crampton said. "You can talk to the kids all you want, but seeing is learning and being a part of it."

Old Fashion Day stations included wood crafting, butter churning, creating Depression dolls, grinding wheat into grain, soap making, a demonstration of primitive tools, fiddle playing and a miniature railroad display. New this year were quilting, candle making and cutting out paper pictures.

First-grade student Eric Craiglow already knew that people used to ride horses and walk instead of drive vehicles, but he didn't know they ground wheat into grain with a stone called a quern.

And though Hill and Craiglow both agreed they would rather live in modern times, Craiglow thought he might like old-fashioned toys better than today's toys because they were more interesting and he hadn't seen them before.

"My favorite part was making the dolls. That was fun," Craiglow said.

Students assisted in assembling Depression dolls by tearing white muslin cloth into 30 strips for the body and 21 strips for the arms. Cloth was wrapped around a Styrofoam ball for the head, while another piece of cloth and some lace produced a bonnet. Ribbons were tied to form arms, a neck and a waist.

According to Bonnie Kipper of Cape Girardeau, who showed students how to cut intricate pictures out of paper and frame them, it is important to show today's children there is more to life than television and video games.

Hill drew his own conclusion from Old Fashion Day.

"We learned that a long time ago they thought they were in the good ole days, but actually the good ole days are here because we don't have to do all that work all day long," Hill said.

jgosche@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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