Just northwest of the intersection of Missouri 66 and Interstate 44, there was once a small community called Scotland, not for the nation across the Atlantic but for Benjamin Scott, a local minister. In the Scotland community there was once a store and a one-room schoolhouse.
Raymond Dykens, who grew up in the Scotland Community and attended the school, has penned a book titled "Uphill One Way: True Stories From A One-Room Country School". The book, published by iUniverse is available in hardback, paperback and as an Ebook.
He wrote it to preserve his memories and also to share them with his grandchildren.
"Actually, it was because of my family encouraging me to do it," Dykens said. "I write all the time. I was writing down stories about the one-room country school for my grandchildren because I wanted them to read it. They asked, 'why don't you put it into book form?' and I said, I couldn't publish a book. But, to make a long story short, I did."
As the jacket description states, the name refers to the 24 foot elevation of the school from Scotland, where Dykens walked more than a mile to come to school.
Dykens' book, however, is more than just memories. It includes photographs from the school, some featuring classes from the past.
"It was a one-room school, with eight grades," Dykens said. "There was a grade in each row. There were three students in my graduating class and I was the valedictorian."
Dykens, who grew up to become a career educator, moved to Scotland with his family at a young age.
"I was raised up in Joplin, up to a point where my parents decided they didn't want me to go to a big school, so we moved out of town, to Scotland. That's how I wound up out there in the country. I learned from that experience, from those roots that the little school gave me. I learned much more there about how to organize my life, later than I thought. I'm not talking about math and science and history and English. I'm talking about discipline. I'm talking about respect, communication, solving problems and life skills."
His rural one-room school experiences proved to be a foundation for a career in education.
"I've been everything from a teacher to a coach to a principal to a superintendent," Dykens remembered. "I spent 38, 40 years as an educator, 29 years as a principal and as a superintendent. I also spent 32 years in the Missouri National Guard."
Dykens's career took him to Jasper, Pierce City, Carl Junction and Neosho, Missouri and Galena, Kansas. In Neosho, he coached during the time Dennis Griffin served as principal of Neosho High School.
Chapters in the 156 page book include Spankings and Such, Lunchtime, Showtime, Playground Equipment (For real), Other Games, and more for a total of twenty chapters.
'There are stories that will bring a tear and stories that will make you laugh," he said. "They're all true stories. "I've been in education so long, that's really my life and still is. I just wanted to write it all down so I took several years after retirement writing it and this is what I came out with. I thought, I must record my thoughts and recollections of a time gone by - not just for me but for the heritage and history that will be lost if I don't. I felt like my grandchildren need to read about back in the day, whether they want to or not, they're going to read it."
"Uphill All The Way" is available from Barnes and Noble, on Amazon.com and directly from the author. The eBook is $3.99, the paperback is $13.99 and the hardback is $26.99. To order from Dykens, call 417-622-9481.
Dykens and his wife, Glenna, now live in Lamoni, Iowa, just north of Missouri. He plans to continue writing.