". . . readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic,
taught to the tune of a hick-ry stick . . ."

  • Song Found On:
    Dear Old Golden Rule Days
  • What senior citizen today doesn't remember singing "School Days" in his or her youth? This classic song of nostalgia for the rigors of "readin' and writin' and 'rithmetic" was composed by Will Cobb and Gus Edwards and first heard in 1907.

    The hick-ry stick, the forerunner to the "board of education" (aka paddle) found in many principals' offices, is viewed in this charming song as part of the "rigor" of education. Despite study after study suggesting otherwise, some parents (and teachers) still feel that students will behave only if corporial punishment is one of their educational tools.


words by Will Cobb
music by Gus Edwards


Nothing to do, Nellie darling,
"Nothing to do", you say.
Let's take a trip, on memory's ship,
Back to the bygone days.
Sail to the old village school house,
Anchor outside the school door,
Look in and see, there's you and there's me,
A couple of kids once more...

School days, school days,
Dear old golden rule days,
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic,
Taught to the tune of a hick-ry stick
You were my queen in calico,
I was your bashful barefoot beau,
And you wrote on my slate, "I love you Joe",
When we were a couple of kids.

'Member the hill, Nellie darling,
And the oak tree that grew on it's brow?
They've build forty stories upon that old hill,
And the oak's an old chestnut now.
'Member the meadows so green dear,
So fragrant with clover and maize?
Into new city lots and preferred business plots,
They've cut them up since those days...