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BY REGINA FOSTER
Special to the Standard
EXETER â The sun is beating down on Sheila Reynolds-Boothroyd as she sets up a table in front of the newly restored Woody Hill School. Sheâs preparing for the open house organized by the Exeter Historical Association which she heads.
At Saturdayâs event, part of a two-day celebration of the townâs one-room schools, Virginia Barber Laiho and her sister Alice Barber Boynton, who lived at the farm across the road, share memories.
âI remember bringing water from our house and every kid would drink from the same bucket, with the same ladle. And weâre still here,â Laiho says.
âKids today would never do that!â Boynton adds.
Laura Czerkiewiczâs grandparents, Daisy and Frank Woodmansee, attended the Woody Hill School as did her mother, Marjorie Woodmansee Anderson.
âIâve donated a lot of my grandparentsâ pictures and memorabilia to the Exeter Historical Association so we can keep the memory of the one room schools alive,â she says. âThis renovation is amazing. I canât wait to show my mother the pictures Iâm taking today.â
Guests Donald Cahoon and David Stone attended the Lewis School, which was razed, so they were pleased to see Woody Hill preserved. They immediately noticed that lilacs had been planted around the outhouses, just as they were at Lewis, as a natural air freshener.
The Woody Hill School is located at the corner of Woody Hill and Skunk Hill Roads and, with the exception of one newer home, the neighborhood retains its rural character from 70 years ago.
Last weekendâs open house was attended by 25 visitors. Boothyroyd says a public grand opening will be held when the restoration is complete.
Regina Foster is the creator of the blog reginasuniverse.com. She is an independent contractor for Southern Rhode Island Newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.View more articles in: