The Excel schoolhouse as it appeared in 1958.

Image credit: Art Wright


School

Though I didn't start education soon enough because there was no school to attend, by about fall of 1912 a one-room schoolhouse was built and Broadlands School Dist. No. 2593 was established. We always went to that one-room school. I do not remember what the top attendance was but would guess it reached a high of 25 or 26 by about 1916 and started in 1912 with about 14 or 15. I have a figure in my mind of 31 by 1922 when we left for the U.S.

My sister and I started together and were in the same grade all the way through to the fall of 1922 when we moved back to the United States near Albany, Oregon. That was the end of my formal education, which was half way through 10th grade.

The school was moved from about 1½ mile north of Excel into Excel about 1916 or 1917, and if my memory serves me correctly [it was] renamed Excel School District. We had some very good teachers and also some poor ones. We started out with some very good ones. The two best ones were men teachers named Rathwell and Dryburg. Rathwell was a rather small man, like a bantam rooster. Dryberg was a larger man and athletic and spent time during noon hour coaching, and playing outside games with the students.

[These are the teachers I hadů]

  1. Rathwell
  2. Dryberg
  3. Leda McGaffin
  4. Very poor man teacher
  5. Edith Church
  6. Mrs. McNamara, fairly good, taught 2 or 3 years, only one that taught more than one year that I remember.

Rathwell lived in the school and was the school janitor. The school was always fairly warm, but not real warm, as he would build up the fire in the morning and cook his breakfast on the heating stove. In real cold weather we would have extra clothes on during school hours and our hands were nearly always somewhat cold in winter.

Most of our schoolteachers came from eastern Canada and mostly from one province, Ontario. That situation turned out to be embarrassing to those who were somewhat less discreet. One teacher made the embarrassing mistake of asking what [nationality] we were (thinking most were Canadians). Of the 31 answers she got, thirty said “American,” No other teacher that I know of had raised the issue and she never did again. For some reason “Americans” meant citizens of the United States.

A few students nearly 6 feet tall would be in second grade and variations from there on down to the normal age-grade levels. Variations from the normal level led to much teasing and tantalizing. We had a girl [Bessie Prescott] who was not athletic but very large for her age and very, very strong. [She was] probably about two grades below normal, nearly 6 feet tall and likely a little over 200 pounds. She was teased unmercifully by many of the boys who could get quite close because she was slow as far as running was concerned, but [she was] very quick with her hands and vindictive (for which she could not be blamed). All she had to do was get ahold of some of their clothing and it was or they had to tear loose and leave a shirt or part of it behind. I saw at least one shirt torn badly. I never had any trouble with her. Maybe it was that I was too much of a coward. I really didn't want any trouble.

A different family [the Edstroms] gave us much trouble. I never did know why for sure. When our older brother [Irvine] was going to school he was the largest one there and we had no trouble. But when he was not going to grade school anymore, one of them [Alfred Edstrom] was the largest so they tried to dominate us, and did as bullies. That didn't bother us except that, even though we lived in different directions they would follow us a while and throw rocks at us before they went home. When their oldest finally didn't go to school any longer it left two of us about the same size: their [next] oldest [Ed Edstrom] and me. He wanted to be dominant. I didn't care much but wanted to be left alone. One day after school was out he wanted to pick a fight. I didn't want to, so he pushed his left hand in my face and started pummeling me with his right. My fists started flying so fast he never hit me again but backed up and fell down. I was going to climb on him and really beat him up but someone was in the way. About that time the teacher came and put a stop to it. Even though I didn't get to beat him up, I accomplished what I wanted. No more bullying and even an attitude of submission. That was the last of the fighting at school that I remember.

Even though my formal education ended, I did quite a bit of reading and got what I considered to be most of a high school education. In some subjects it might have been a little less and in some subjects a little more. My natural tendency toward arithmetic served me well in what turned out to be my life's work. In fact it may have been a factor in drawing me to what became my life work in the seed and feed business. Both need to have a fairly good understanding of the use of mathematics to operate properly and well.

To get some idea of the sort of education Lloyd received in Excel, try your hand at the High School Matriculation Exam Lloyd took in 1921 (see appendix).