Editor’s Note: The following essay was written 109 years ago, in 1903, by Miss Nelle Hoyle, a school girl at Robert E. Lee Institute. It was printed in The Thomaston Times on February 13, 1903. She later became the recording secretary in the Farmers Union office in Thomaston. Some of Miss Hoyle’s relatives will be attending the R. E. Lee Class of 1967 reunion this weekend.
By Miss Nelle Hoyle
“Of all things that a school girl hates, it is the Friday morning’s composition. She will think about it all week and then when Thursday night comes she does as I am doing tonight: Burns the midnight oil.”
Rip Van Winkle went to sleep and slept just twenty years, now I will draw on my imagination and sleep one hundred years.
On hundred years has elapsed since I last looked upon this beautiful earth which God had seen fit to give us. This morning I awoke after having slept such a long time I thought it would be useless to go to school, but something prompted me to go just to see what changes had been wrought in the old building.
After much difficulty I found the famous R. E. Lee University, and there to my great surprise was every member of my class. Strange to say, each one had slept one hundred years. Together, we wandered over the house. It is no longer the common little R. E Lee Institute we knew, but a celebrated university, and such a handsome building! The laboratory was a wonder. It was very, very large and fitted with every chemical apparatus in the world.
From the school we strolled downtown. No more did we see the red streets, but wide, paved streets; where the one and occasional two story buildings had stood, were buildings from three to fifteen stories high. Trolley cars connect Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, and all the large towns with Thomaston. We used to think Thomaston a great place with its one cotton mill, one oil mill, one shoe factory, and one carriage factory. Now she ranks first among the manufacturing cities of the United States.
Not one horse did we see. Everything runs by electricity. Automobiles are very common.
The flying machine is the most popular means of transportation. Twice a day it stops at Thomaston on its way from New York, N.Y., to Jacksonville, Fla. This machine drops an anchor and is hitched to a post while the passengers are alighting and getting aboard.
The Bell telephones are all over the country, and it is no rare thing for the Thomaston people to communicate with people in Liverpool, England in less than a half hour.
Changes have been wrought in everything, even in the piano, which is now made twelve feet high and only four feet long.
The food no longer is prepared by cooks as in the days of old, but in the laboratory of Lee University is prepared the food for every family and each morning the extracts (for that is what they are) are delivered packed neatly in little lunch baskets. The soldiers carry a whole day’s allowance in one little capsule. Think of it!
The doctors no longer call on a patient. Time has brought forth so many new ideas until the doctors have each been assigned a certain territory. It is his duty to discover the bacteria and kill the germs, thereby preventing diseases. He is employed by the government.
I have only mentioned the minor changes as I am so much behind times, my mind is too disturbed to say more. Consequently, I shall drift into my last sleep thinking of the happy times I spent one hundred years ago.