Historical fiction: are you ready? Follow a young Lutheran to boarding school at St. John’s in Winfield, Kansas. (It was a real two-year school, graduating something like 9,000 students.) Have him or her become a teacher (and organist, as was usual for the day). Then follow that teacher to the dust bowl in Oklahoma!
There are many graduates still around from St. John’s. It’s not like it’s ancient history. At the same time, it could add some real perspective to how teachers used to be trained, which is significantly different than nowadays!
You could delve into some of the original LWML-like mite gathering as women throughout Oklahoma saved their pennies to can and send food to St. John’s after hearing they’d run out of food and a bit of funding!
Look at the men, women, and children who struggled to learn and live through the dust bowl. (Mention how there were more than one, and men started going to school to study soil conservation to protect their homeland!) Examine how congregations shrank as children left home for greener pastures, even far off California! Delve into when does a teacher leave a one-room school house? When does a pastor leave his dwindling congregation? How would the pastor counsel the teacher and vice versa?
I think it could be great. And, I suspect many, many things could overlap in awesome ways, like the founding of LWML the year or so after the Okies started sharing their stores.
Include a few phrases like sweeping down the plain and Johnnie spirit! 🙂 Though please, for yourself, know that it’s rumored that Rogers and Hammerstein never actually visited Oklahoma before writing their musical.
If you wanted to geek out and include a modern reference, my grandpa, Gene Edward Veith I, studied such soil conservation techniques after WWII, after attending a one-room school house in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. 😀