Author Guest Blog: Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter

The Little Bookstore receives requests from authors to showcase their work. As a bookstore we enjoy supporting writers, creativity, and spunk, so we offer guest blogs when possible. Today’s is from Linda Schilling Mitchell, author of:

“DEAR MISS SCHNEIDER, PLEASE EXCUSE WALTER…”

Times were tough during the Great Depression. It impacted every facet of family life. Fathers lost their jobs and Mothers had to go to work, often for the first time in their lives. But what about the children?

“Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter…” takes you back to Miss Victoria Schneider’s classroom from 1937-1940. “She is 19 years old and stands a mere 5’2″ and weighs in at 78 pounds soaking wet. She is hardly bigger than some of her third grade students. But she is prepared….she thinks.”

“Thirty one faces gaze back at her. Boys and girls grouped together from various backgrounds and circumstances. Little girls dressed in their best first day of school dresses, hair ribbons neatly tied and pig tails perfectly platted. Little boys with fresh haircuts, shirts attempting to stay tucked into their pants.”

But what was life really like for these children during those difficult years? We find out through a collection of notes Miss Schneider compiled in a special scrapbook. Notes from parents explaining why their children were absent from school. Humble, heartfelt and often humorous notes, giving us a key hole peek inside the lives of these families.

“Walter has no shoes only Tennis Shoes and it snow Monday an was wet and He has a Cold any way and I could not send him,” reads one note.

Parenting methods of the day are also noted: “Miss Schneider, take you a stick and give Clarence a good beating and he will mind you. That’s all it takes to make him mind.”

In addition to the collection of notes, “Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter…” contains photographs and memorabilia from Miss Schneider’s childhood and schooling in the northern Kentucky town of Newport.

Author Linda Schilling Mitchell is Miss Schneider’s daughter who now shares her family keepsake with people everywhere. It makes a wonderful book for all teachers, anyone interested in history, or those who remember those times.

It was a lifetime ago. Their story has been waiting to be told.

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1 Comment

Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, out of things to read, publishing, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing, YA fiction

One response to “Author Guest Blog: Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter

  1. James R

    The stick and the good beating bring back a few memories. 🙂

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