Our Community School and Its Teacher
vision of the future, is the same Community dream given a world-wide sweep. Who can trace the
subtle influence linking the past and present, or measure the effect, "greatening as it journeys on," of
the consecration, prayers, and self-sacrificing devotion to the ideals of brotherhood of the founders of
Let me quote: "First, a thought, a wish, then a faith; next, a struggle; at last, a fact. So have entered
into human life and history some of its profoundest truths."
But Hopedale still lives in a small and lessening number of those who shared its life and were
moulded by it. We always carry our ancestors about with us; and there are early influences from
which we never escape, which, indeed, may determine our lives, Some of us would not have been
ourselves as we know our aptitudes and feelings, our point of view, without Hopedale and all it stood
As I look back, I see many helpers of the spirit who made what might seem plain and prosaic village
life beautiful in its round and noble in its outlook, but I name to-day only the one who most of all left a
permanent impress on the minds and hearts of the Hopedale youth, our dear Miss Abbie, when first I
knew her; after her marriage, Mrs. Abbie, our devoted and beloved teacher and friend.
The school was nominally under the supervision of the committee of the town of Milford, and I recall
that we were proud to have these weighty visitants.
Who could forget ponderous Priest Woodbury? We always knew they came to praise; for was not
ours a model school?
Our Mrs. Abbie was a Normal graduate, handsome and loving, with insight, originality and personal
power, the ideal teacher. She anticipated the so-called modern methods. We were proud of the really
remarkable maps with meridians and parallels that we used to put on the board from memory. I hope
I am not, after the fashion of aged people, seeing double through the dim vista of years, but those
maps are before me away back in the fifties, and the old thrill of satisfaction. But we stood on the
pinnacle of pride when following our teacher in numerical combinations as she flashed them off with
amazing rapidity. What a sense of power this splendid training gave us! Possibly a real enlargement
We were given instruction in drawing. Gilbert Thompson, whose affection of the old place and friends
was strong to the last, and who had hoped to share in these memories, was able to take up the work
of a topographical engineer, without further preparation, and to become, finally, a leading topographer;
[Thompson is considered to be the first American to use fingerprints for identification. He was also a
founder of the National Geographic Society], and Lizzie Humphrey, our real artist, received here her
first preparation for the career in which she won distinction. Dear Lizzie, loveliest of girls, and always
our Queen of the May.
Our school was known among reformers. A son of Garrison and of Samuel May were sent to
Hopedale to attend it. Reverend William Fish, learned in languages and universities, once said that
Mrs. Abbie was, he believed, the best teacher he ever had; which happily bears out his tribute as a
small boy, when he wished, in a composition letter, that he might live to be a hundred and go to
school to Mrs. Abbie every day of his life.
I find that our memory of the past is in flashlight pictures. Here is one of the brightest. Our school-
room was our Sunday Chapel, and I can see her yet, our Miss Abbie, even to the dainty silk she wore,
on the bright Sunday morning, standing before us as she became our Mrs. Abbie. We knew it was joy
for her, as we, too, were glad. And, now, as we all go on together in the "lengthening shadows" of
life's afternoon, we feel the tenderest sympathy for her loss and loneliness, - but we are glad that she
is with us still, our dear friend and helper in the spirit.
Ellen M. Patrick
Now and Then, Depot Street, the Home School Hopedale Schools History
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