BY REGINA FOSTER
Special to the Standard
EXETER – The sun is beating down on Sheila Reynolds-Boothroyd as she sets up a table in front of the newly restored Woody Hill School. She’s preparing for the open house organized by the Exeter Historical Association which she heads.
At Saturday’s event, part of a two-day celebration of the town’s one-room schools, Virginia Barber Laiho and her sister Alice Barber Boynton, who lived at the farm across the road, share memories.
“I remember bringing water from our house and every kid would drink from the same bucket, with the same ladle. And we’re still here,” Laiho says.
“Kids today would never do that!” Boynton adds.
Laura Czerkiewicz’s grandparents, Daisy and Frank Woodmansee, attended the Woody Hill School as did her mother, Marjorie Woodmansee Anderson.
“I’ve donated a lot of my grandparents’ pictures and memorabilia to the Exeter Historical Association so we can keep the memory of the one room schools alive,” she says. “This renovation is amazing. I can’t wait to show my mother the pictures I’m taking today.”
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 weekend’s 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 .