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They learned their lessons well on Valley Road

  • CHERYL KABANA/SPECIAL TO THE THE TIMES NEWS Breiner School No. 2 on Valley Road in Lewistown Valley.
    CHERYL KABANA/SPECIAL TO THE THE TIMES NEWS Breiner School No. 2 on Valley Road in Lewistown Valley.
Published August 17. 2010 05:00PM

An old fashioned school bell called out loudly to classmates and friends welcoming them back to Breiner School No. 2. It was as if the melody was saying "come sit for awhile" and that's exactly what they did.

Breiner School No. 2 committee members including Jay Heisler, Bert Leiby, June Leiby, Bernie Breiner, Ruby Houser Knott, Ruth Houser Delp, Robert Leiby, and Beverly Heisler had an idea for a reunion and put the wheels in motion. And on Saturday the first Breiner School No. 2 Reunion was born.

Approximately 120 former students and guests reminisced about days gone by on a peaceful Saturday afternoon on Valley Road in the Lewistown Valley. They sang and laughed and remembered their time as students at the little country school that was built in 1871. Pictures and memorabilia were on display for onlookers to delight in.

After an hour or so of socializing and mingling the guests were treated to lunch, then the school day began as it would have so many years ago. A scripture was read and the Lord's Prayer recited. Those able were asked to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Beautiful music filled the air with songs like "My Country Tis of Thee" and "God Bless America" as Beverly Heisler entertained the crowd with vocals and organ music.

A reading followed and then a hilarious skit with "Mr. and Mrs. Breiner" had the guests reeling with laughter. Althea Zehner spoke PA. Dutch to the group then the floor was opened to those who wanted to share fond memories of their school days.

Some remembered the days when grades 1-8 were at the school while others recalled a time when there were only three grades at the school 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

There were stories about paper airplanes that flew around the room and tales of a spit ball or two. Snow tunnels that the children would build from the newly plowed snow and time spent skating on the nearby pond. Sneaking away from school and taking the day off hoping not to get caught and drying their clothes by the heat of the stove that kept the classroom warm in the winter months.

Remembered fondly were their teachers who taught them well as was proved when someone gave the attendees a pop quiz. Those former students answered with confidence questions on the presidents and the states. There were moments of gratitude as reunion attendees thanked bus drivers who got them to school and home safely again. Also remembered were times when teachers would take them on hikes outside to see the animals and to spend some time learning about nature.

Children went to school on snow days and if the bus couldn't make it to the school to bring them back home they would walk or stay with a neighbor. The neighborhood was filled with family and friends. It was a time when people looked out for one another and were there to lend a helping hand.

That was what this day was all about. Whether young or old the memories formed at this little school house will always be cherished. It was like taking a step back in time. Where the basics were taught and students learned respect. Where children played outside and didn't get bored as easily as they do now. And where friends and neighbors opened their hearts to make a reunion for the former students of the Breiner School No. 2 possible.

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