A letter of response to some inquisitive first-graders
December 4, 2007
There are things that happen at the Dayton Museum that makes it all worthwhile to be involved. Recently I tried to help a first-grade teacher with some past and present photos for her students. It was to make her students able to discern the past from the present. With teachers like this we will have some good history buffs. The class wrote me a letter that I would like to share with you.
Dear Mrs. McFarland,
What happened to the dinosaurs? How old are you? Were houses smaller in the past? Did girls wear dresses? Did boys wear shorts? Did the boys wear pants and shirts? What did they eat in the past? Do you have animals at the museum? Did people eat turkeys at Thanksgiving? How did people go from town to town? Did they use carriages? Were there farms in Dayton? How did people get food in the past? Could we come and visit the museum? Some of us would like to visit.
From: Mrs. Koch and Mrs. Berris, first-grade class at Sutro Elementary School
P.S. Do you like your job?
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Thank you for your wonderful letter. I’ll try to answer some of your questions.
First, the dinosaurs became an endangered species when there was a huge climate change. The food they ate became scarce. So they died. Sometimes people find bones of dinosaurs in Nevada.
Next, I’m a little younger than the dinosaurs, and I could be your great-grandmother.
Boys and girls had very few changes of clothes in the old days. Little boys usually wore homespun wool pants and a cotton shirt. Little girls always wore pretty cotton dresses with sometimes a ribbon in their hair. Both girls and boys had what was called school clothes and good clothes they wore on special occasions.
The food the children ate was good food usually from the family garden. Homemade bread and jelly was a special treat. They also ate a lot of beans and potatoes.
I would love to have you all as a guest group at the Dayton Museum sometime soon.
We don’t have animals at the museum. Reason being that someone would have to be there to take care of them.
People did eat turkey. Turkeys were raised in Dayton along with a lot of other good things to eat. People raised almost all the things they ate in gardens. Most people rode in wagons and on horseback. Thank you so much for writing a letter to me.
Ruby McFarland, docent, Historical Society of Dayton Valley
P.S. I love my job and hope you will visit soon.
The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton, and is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check the Web site: daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.
The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.
• Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since October 1987, she serves as a board member of the Dayton historical society and a docent at the museum.