LeRoy Pennysaver & News

LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - MAY 31, 2020 by Lynne Belluscio For over 30 years, the LeRoy Historical Society has offered Hands On History programs for Wolcott Street students. They visit LeRoy House in the fall and again in the spring to participate in all types of hands-on activities. They use the old apple peelers and the cider press. They sit at old school desks and use slates and write with steel tipped pens. They sort through stuff in grandma’s trunk. They play old-fashioned games and wash clothes on a scrub board. (I get a charge when adults come up to me and say - - I remember when we came to LeRoy House and churned butter.) This year we had planned a Jell-O science day and that is canceled. So instead of canceling everything, we are developing some new ways to have kids experience history, but instead of coming to LeRoy House, these projects can be done at home. First is the gardening project for the first grades. With the encouragement from the first grade team chair we are assembling an activity packet with a letter from Mr. LeRoy’s gardener, Florence McCarthy (who looks a lot like Sam Leadley). The packet will include small samples of dried herbs, with directions on how to use them - - chives, basil, dill, mint, oregano, thyme, sage, and lavender - - all herbs that grow in Mrs. LeRoy’s kitchen garden. The packet will also include some spearmint candy and a mint teabag. There are also some of Calvin Keeney’s bean seeds and some marigold seeds. The packets will go home to all first grade students. The next project is a little more challenging. The Pioneer Sampler program at LeRoy House, includes five activity centers. Thekids assemble a nine-patch quilt square from wallpaper squares. (Here’s a little math – If there are 95 fourth grade students and each student needs nine squares, how many squares need to be cut. Now multiply that by two, because we want each student to do two squares, and mail one back to us so we can make a quilt. ) Next are the games - - no batteries, cords or internet connection required. We will be sending out some directions for old fashioned games and how to make some simple toys from stuff around the house. As for washing clothes - - not sure if mom will appreciate directions on how to wash a t-shirt in the sink, but someday it might come in handy. Or it might be a great thing to do outside on a nice sunny day. We will include a couple of clothespins so they can hang their t-shirt on a piece of rope. We usually have the kids make biscuits on a griddle in the kitchen fireplace - -actually those are called “pan cakes” and with mom or dad’s help, they might learn how to make biscuits on the grill in the back yard - - survival training when the power goes out? And finally butter churning. We always send home directions on how to make butter at home, but I have no idea how many kids actually make butter at home. I suspect very few. But this year we talked with LeRoy Save-A-Lot, and each packet will include a coupon for a half pint of heavy whipping cream. Thank you LeRoy Save A Lot!!!! We appreciate your encouragement and support. Some of the other projects are a bit more complicated and we are running out of time to prepare a packet for students to take home, so in the next few weeks, the Pennysaver articles will include a history tour of East Main Street and Main Street to learn about how LeRoy grew from 1797 until Main Street became Route 5. I’m still working on this project and it is taking a bit more time than I thought. To explain a bit more about these Distance Learning Hands on History programs, the Historical Society charges between $30 and $50 per class for each activity and that covers supplies, materials, and copies. Again, that is per class, not per student. This is invoiced to BOCES, but of course, because the school is closed, so are the BOCES programs. So, we are thankful to have the support of our community to make this happen. If you remember, the Calvin Keeney Bean project. We received donations from folks for beans, and that money has gone into the education fund and will support part of our new Distance Hands On History Program. We also have a special Education Fund that was set up a few years ago, that will help with supplies. Our mission has always been to “Bring History Home.” This year we’re sending history to your home. Bringing History Home - Literally