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If you’re wondering why Jane is a school teacher–and the Jane being referred to here is the protagonist of See Jane Run!, the picture above holds the explanation.

See the woman in the second row, far left, standing by the little girl with the pixie hair cut? That’s my mother. She taught school for 39 years.
Do you know how many students were in her third grade classroom during the 1963-64 school year? 32

That’s 32.

In a time when
classrooms weren’t air conditioned,
special education classes were few and far between,
men were paid more than women for doing the same job,
and women had to wear dresses and hose every day, even during recess duty in the winter.

While Mom was in charge of the education of 32 eight and nine-year-olds, she was also

furthering her education by completing her 4 year degree and a master’s degree,
caring for a husband who had multiple sclerosis,
raising three kids, who were 10, 7, and 4 in 1963-63,
and raising a ruckus with the school board which resulted in women’s salaries being raised to the same level as their male counterparts.

My mom was living proof that an elementary school teacher are tough enough to be the protagonist of a cozy mystery series. The country school and the town where Jane teaches are based upon my teaching experience, not Mom’s. As a result, Jane’s

biggest class consisted of 15 students in three grades (1st-3rd),
she earns the same salary as men,
she wears pants in fall, winter, and spring,
and her classroom isn’t air conditioned.

Therefore,

Jane can afford to go to the cafe for supper,
she can spend less time correcting papers and more time looking for clues,
and she can run around the short grass prairie in blue jeans in all kinds of weather.

All of which make the story move along faster,
make me grateful for my tough elementary school teacher mom,
and even more grateful never to have had a class of 32 students!

Sign up to receive website updates and See Jane Run! book news on Gravel Road’s home page right under the picture of–you guessed it–the gravel road.


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