Tribune Recorder Leader

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Diving Deeper into the McManus School

By Jackie Salowitz
Tribune Recorder Leader

Martha Lutat

(After more information about the McManus School came to light following last week’s article, this is a continuation of the news story from 2/14/24)
A young 98, with 99 right around the corner, Martha Lutat also attended McManus School, on Brady Road from kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating from Deckerville in 1942.
For those younger people that complain about a bus ride to school, imagine walking 1 1/4 miles to and from school every day. If the snow was too deep, Martha’s dad would hook the horses up to a sled and take them. Sometimes, Martha and her siblings would cut across the field, saving them a few footsteps…
Martha also had Sarah O’Rourke for a teacher, where all the students were taught K-8, in a one-room schoolhouse. Martha carried her lunch to school everyday, and she enjoyed school. She must have done well, as after graduation, Martha attended business school, working for Grand Trunk Railroad and then at Deckerville Schools for 29 years, where she made good use of the shorthand she had learned. (She still uses shorthand today, as a way to write out notes).
Martha reminisced about McManus School, remembering that they would stand behind the wood stove to get warm and going outside for recess jumping rope, and playing in the woods. School books were passed on from student to student and one teacher taught all eight grades, and yes, they weren’t privileged to have inside plumbing, so there were outhouses for the boys and for the girls. She also remembered the incident from last week’s story about a man trying to abduct the school teacher. She said that the man looked in through the window of the schoolhouse and when the teacher went out to use the outhouse, he snuck into the school, hiding behind the door. Thankfully, Thomas O’Rourke happened to be traveling down the road, saw the vehicle and thought it looked suspicious. He was able to get the license plate, stop the abduction, and helped in the prosecution of the man.
Martha had five siblings to walk to school with, and on occasion, some of the neighbor’s children would also walk with them. (Their last name was Brady, which is supposedly where the road name came from). She had two other girls in her age group at McManus, a Viola Brady and Genievive Pawyl. The kids knew that they had to behave in school, as parents were strict, and you knew you didn’t want to get into trouble.
Growing up, she and her siblings and parents had a granary in which they lived. In 1942, the year she graduated from high school, her parents built their home. Her dad came from Russia, and worked at Fords in Detroit, before moving to the farm, where they at one time had close to 200 acres of land.
One room schoolhouses still dot the area, some are just a mere memory as they have fallen into complete dissaray. Many of the students that went to these schools have passed away, so finding any piece of their history is harder and harder to find each day.
If any of the readers of the Tribune Recorder Leader have information on these schools, we would love to do stories on them.
Please call the Tribune Recorder Leader at 810-648-5282 with your information.

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