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Pamela Loxley Drake recalls one of the oddest, oldest fixtures of her childhood.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeThe old pump sat outside of the brick schoolhouse where once children vied to pump the handle. Water was no longer drawn from a bucket dipped into a well. No, the handle was pumped, drawing the water to the spout, as if turning on a faucet — well, not really but a lot more fun.

I grew up with pumps as much a part of the landscape as were the barns that dotted the countryside. Old pumps were seldom used, but still a standing reminder of the days when my parents attended a one-room schoolhouse, and when water was warmed over a fire. Pumps stood outside of homes, next to barns and even outside of Painter Creek Church.

The pump stood sentry over our cement trough.

The trough by the old barn occasionally wore a blanket of moss covering the water. During hot summer days, Brenda and I would ask Dad to put water in the trough so we could hang our feet over the side. Rain that fell filled the wells and the troughs. Tadpoles occasionally found a new home in the water. The pump and trough were so much a part of our daily living that we forgot to notice.

My grandmother had taught in a one-room schoolhouse. I could envision her standing on the stoop of the old brick school, sending her students out to play. A child pumped the old pump handle and small hands, cupped, caught water for a cold, fresh drink.

The old pump is a reminder of simpler time, a time when children fought for the chance to pump the handle, a time when women appreciated the handiness of a pump on the back porch, a time when small girls sat in the cool trough giggling.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."


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