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School Days

From the Grand Forks Daily Herald, September 14, 1914.

It’s lonesome in the stable yard and where the chickens “peep.”
It’s dull and stupid, ‘round the house, the kitten’s fast asleep;
Old Towser, nosin’ everywhere and huntin’ ‘round the place,
Comes back to whine and paw my knee and look up in my face;
And mother, in the kitchen there, amongst the pans and things,
Is busy, but I haven’t heard the song she always sings;
There’s somethin’ missin’, somethin’ wrong that spoils the work and play—
And don’t I know it? Well, I guess, he’s gone to school today.

I try to work and not to think, but trying all I can,
I stop and wonder why it’s still—no drummin’ on a pan,
No rustlin’ in the apple trees, no splashin’ by the pump,
And no one hid behind the post to “Boo” and make me jump,
And in the house it’s all so prim—no tickin’ of the clock.
I look at ma and she at me; no need for us to say
What ails us both; we know too well—he’s gone to school today.

He started out at half-past eight, all rigged up in his best,
And with the slate beneath his arm, the books and all the rest;
And mother fixed his tie once more, and did her best to smile.
And I stood by and praised him up and laughed about his “style.”
But when he marched off down the road and stopped to wave goodbye,
’Twas kind of choky in my throat and misty in my eye.
Proud of him? Well, I rather guess, and happy too—but, say,
It’s mighty lonesome round the place. He’s gone to school today.

But ‘tisn’t just the lonesomeness that ails us, don’t you know?
It isn’t jest because he’s gone till four o’clock or so;
It’s like the little worsted socks that’s in the bureau there;
It’s like the little dresses, too, that once he used to wear;
The thought that something’s past and gone, outgrown and put away—
That brings to mother’s heart and mine the bittersweet today.
It’s jest another forward step, in Time’s unchanging rule—
Our baby’s left us now for good; our boy has gone to school.

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