Katie Mast looked, then blinked her eyes and looked again. She smiled shyly in answer to the new teacher's "Good morning." Then she went outdoors to join the other girls who were standing around the pump in the front yard. "You mean that woman is going to be our teacher?" she whispered excitedly. "She's old!"
"Almost as old as Grandmother," said Lizzie Mast, who was Katie's cousin. "Can you imagine Grandmother trying to teach school?"
Katie giggled. It was easy enough to picture Grandmother in the kitchen, baking pies and washing dishes, or sitting on a rocking chair with a child on her lap, but never as a schoolteacher. Just thinking about Grandmother trying to write something on the blackboard made Katie laugh.
My mother said we'd better behave this year, because Emma Byler has taught school sixteen years, and she knows what to do with children who don't behave.
"Sixteen years!" exclaimed Susie. "That means she was teaching school before I was born."
"Before any of the pupils she has this year were born," Lizzie added.
When Katie thought of it that way, their teacher seemed even older than she had before. Why, she had been born a long, long time ago and if Emma had been teaching then already — Katie shook her head. She couldn't think back that far.