The following article on Mexico School was written by Mrs. Imogene Winstead, a well-remembered and loved music teacher. I don't think any student attending the county schools during the years of 1955 when Mrs. Winstead was hired as the public school music teacher to 1979, when she retired, that does not remember Mrs. Winstead as our music teacher.
The love of music and folk dancing was introduced to many of us through her weekly visits to our schools. I'll always remember her greeting as she entered our classroom "Good Morning Boys and Girls" and we would all chime back "Good Morning Mrs. Winstead." What great memories that were being made in these small community schools, although we didn't realize it at the time.
Memories of Mexico School by Imogene Winstead
The teacher in this school had no secretary and no machines to "runoff" material to enrich teaching. There was a blackboard and chalk. The teacher was kept busy at the noon hour and every spare moment getting things on the chalkboard for the pupils to copy. The studious looked forward to having material on the board. If the teacher had any extra spare moments, they were after school at 4 p.m., at noon and during recess.
The teacher was also the janitor. When very cold it was difficult to bank the fire in the stove so thee would be live coals in the morning. Cold mornings are remembered when the temperature was below zero, our hands would stick to the door knobs. Finally we'd get a fire going and in would come our students and we would spend half the day getting them thawed out. They would remind you they had walked, not across the road, but for miles.
There was no drinking water on the grounds around the school. Water was carried from the Nelson community well about one-fourth mile from the school and put in coolers. Imagine the opportunity to go for water. There was always a waiting list. Everybody wanted to make a trip to the Nelson well.
An interesting part of our school year was our trek to revival meetings. Yes, thank goodness we were allowed to go to the Cookseyville Church "under the hill" or the Mexico Church on the hill. We'd line up quietly, hold hands, a teacher near the front and one in the rear. Nobody rebelled, every child was eager to go. There were no rebellious parents either.
A thrilling experience at recess was getting to take our pennies to the Nelson grocery by the well for candy or chewing gum.
Some teachers were Katie Myers, Oscar Wicker, Allen Young, Mary Moore, John Yandell, Lola Patterson, Ruby Asher, Della Stembridge, Randall Woodall, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Crider, Bertha Graves, David Postlethweighte, Lois Hicklin, Gradys Graves, Mary Y. Conyer, Aline Stalion, Geneva Holcom, Ruby McMaster Tabor, Imogene Winstead, Gustava Cruce, Opal Wicker Scott and Gyneth Strong.
The history of the Mexico School ended with the school year of 1958-59. When school started that fall in August 1959, the school board made the announce that the school opening would make the discontinuance of the last one-room school in the county, the one at Mexico. Enrollment there was only 14 in 1958. The pupils and their teacher would be transferred to Frances.
Although the school was closed, the memories of the years spent at the Mexico school for students and families remain with them for years to come.