Bud Loomis relates several incidents which show the hardihood of early day teachers:
While Charlie DeLong was carrying the mail, he told us one day that a school teacher was coming in on his next trip. He was worried stiff because the trail was too bad to let her ride a horse. The animals would get down in the mud and she wouldn't be safe on one. I suggested he have a horse along and let her ride it on the good stretches. When he met her in Humptulips at the hotel, he explained that she would have to walk part of the way. She said she'd walk all the way.
"You just think you're going to walk," he said, "I wear high-topped boots, and wade nearly to the top of them in the mud. And, it's twenty-two miles."
Well, when I went down for the mail that evening, here came Charlie and this girl, Lulu Putnam. She was little and wiry and weighed around ninety pounds. She was walking. After I was introduced, Charlie says to me. "That girl beats anything I ever seen. She pulled up her long skirt and waded that mud. Every time I pulled my foot out of a mud-hole, she was ready to put hers into it."
I took Lulu home and she stayed till Sunday. Then I walked her up to Olson's eight miles farther. It was a nice day and we took our time. As we passed the Hulten place we saw several pairs of eyes peeking from behind trees. The children had heard that the teacher was coming. She thought it very amusing.
We finally got to Olsons. They had a front room about fourteen feet square. The puncheon ceiling was of half-round slabs, some twelve to fourteen inches wide, put up when green. Now that the timbers had shrunk, there were wide spaces between them. Mrs. Olson was in the kitchen getting dinner. She was very ladylike, a mild and quiet person. But when she said, "I don't believe there's wood enough for the day." Mr. Olson went out and cut some.
They raised a patch of rye for bread. They cut it, bound it, and let it dry, then flailed it out and fanned it in the wind to get rid of the chaff. They had a large grocery-store type of coffee mill. They had removed the handle and run a pole through the wheel and across the house and into the other wall. Then they would put that rye into the mill, hook seven or eight kids onto the pole to turn the wheel, and grind the rye into flour. This had to be done about every day.
They raised rutabagas - lots of them. And plenty of cabbage for kraut. They had all the dried or corned elk meat they wanted. And fish in abundance.