© Jerry F. Couch
CVT reader, Ralph Griffith sent us this ca. 1940 group photo of students at the old Dante school. Ralph is a Dante native who lives in West Chester, Ohio.
The photo is significant for a number of reasons. Take note of the students’ clothing. It’s carefully washed, starched, and ironed, even though not every household in Dante had an electric washing machine or electric iron back in those days. Wash was hung outside to dry, weather permitting, and soot from passing steam trains and home chimneys was always a factor to be reckoned with. Mothers got up early to prepare a substantial breakfast for their families and packed lunches for family members to take with them to the mines and to school. Those meals weren’t a conglomeration of packaged convenience foods, either. In those days, “convenience food” would have meant something you hadn’t grown or raised.
Life was lived in the dim shadow of the frightening thought, “Will my daddy be injured or killed in the mines today?” It is perhaps one reason so many children of Dante have done well in life. They have validated the daily risks willingly undertaken by their parents so they might one day have a better life.
Do you recognize any of these long-ago students? If so, please share the info with our other readers by leaving a comment.
NOTE: The featured image of the Dante school building included in this article is from the school’s 1938 yearbook, “The Spectator.” In 2018 we published this yearbook in its entirety. If you haven’t seen it, click this link: