Education through Generations

This is where we share our stories. Stories written by us, our elders, and our children. Stories about our lives, our childhoods, our families' stories and our ancestors' stories. Our stories. 

The following family story was submitted by Allie Wright, 16, of Indianapolis, Indiana.

“And then you divide by two on both sides,” I explained to my mom, even though she’s known this information since she was my age. It was our second time this week playing school and she was quickly getting bored from me explaining each and every lesson that I had learned at school that week. But I couldn't help it, it was in my blood.

The Commercial Review, Portland, Indiana. March 7, 1957. “Jay County has a hidden School” by M. R. Wallace Pictured: Jerry Wheeler, 7, taught by Mildred Fueling who traveled from Anderson, IN where she taught at the Jackson Township School.

The Commercial Review, Portland, Indiana. March 7, 1957. “Jay County has a hidden School” by M. R. Wallace
Pictured: Jerry Wheeler, 7, taught by Mildred Fueling who traveled from Anderson, IN where she taught at the Jackson Township School.

Mildred Irene Nearon-Feuling-Tyson, known to me as Grandma Boat, was born on November 27, 1915. She was my great-grandmother. Mildred grew up in a world where she had three options because she was a woman: become a housewife, a nurse, or a teacher. Her mother, Margaret Alice Nearon, died in 1939, when Mildred was 24. At this point, Mildred had received a teaching degree from Ball State. Margaret left Mildred with many younger siblings, who she, along with her sisters who were of similar in age, raised. Thus, she got lots of practice being a teacher.

Every time I was at her home in Portland, Indiana, I was immediately drawn to her side. She just had a way with kids, especially me and my cousins. We loved listening to her, so we know she must have been a wonderful teacher.

Mildred. Photo Credit: Alice Feuling Dickinson. 

Mildred. Photo Credit: Alice Feuling Dickinson. 

At a young age, she worked at a one room school house called Sycamore, which was later named North Grove. North Grove is still standing and holds different events from time to time. She taught at lots of different schools in Indiana and in Florida. She also was a personal tutor for small children with polio. She made a huge difference in dozens of kids’ lives.

Alice Feuling. Photo Credit: Alice Feuling Dickinson. 

Alice Feuling. Photo Credit: Alice Feuling Dickinson. 

 

Mildred gave birth to my grandma, Alice Anita Feuling, during her first marriage in Jay County, Indiana, on October 27, 1943. My grandma, Alice, began going to school with her mom when she was 5 years old, and instantly fell in love with education. My grandma would grow up to get a teaching degree form the University of Indianapolis, following in her mom’s, my Grandma Boat’s, footsteps. She loved teaching and she would do it for the rest of her life. She taught elementary-aged kids, special education, and eventually became a professor at Johnson University, where she taught Education, and retired from there after 13 years. She and my grandpa, Don Dickinson, would have two kids.

 

Donita Lynn Dickinson-Barbee was born in January 1968, and Melissa Lou Dickinson-Wright, my mom, was born in January 1970. When they were growing up, they played pretend a lot. Without fail, though my mom’s play occupation would switch around, my Aunt Donita would always play a teacher. She grew up to receive a teaching degree at Johnson University and work in elementary schools, just like her mom. Even my mom, Melissa, worked as a teacher’s aid in Kentucky.

Growing up I dreamed of being a teacher, too. After three generations of education workers, it just seemed natural. Though it may not be the profession I will go in to, I still have a heart for it. I volunteer as a tutor and love to help friends and kids I babysit with schoolwork and projects. I am also ridiculously in love with school, thanks to the strong, beautiful, and brilliant women in my life who have helped me become who I am.

About the Author: My name is Allie Wright and I am 16 years old; I am a sophomore at Herron High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, where I love to read and write. I hope to one day major in Business Administration and minor in Writing, and eventually open a nonprofit. I am honored to be able to write for Storybook Ancestor!