As part of the continuing partnership between Governor Mifflin School District and The John Updike Childhood Home, students under the direction of Intermediate School teacher Damien Drago planted four raised beds with vegetables that were either mentioned by Updike as having been grown in his family’s garden during his years in the house (1932-45), or were commonly grown in Shillington victory gardens during the World War II years.
The Reading Eagle reports that about 45 fifth graders from Governor Mifflin Intermediate School took part in the project, which offers “kids a chance to learn some unique lessons and the historic site a chance to reclaim part of its past.”
Updike complained about having to sell the family’s asparagus and other vegetables door-to-door during the Depression years, but students who work on the victory garden will be spared that experience. Their crop will be donated to local charities.
According to the Eagle, “Drago said the project is presenting a lot of learning opportunities for the students. They’ve used their math skills to figure out how much soil they needed to buy, they learned about the process of growing plants and they got a chance to find out a bit about one of the county’s historical figures. The kids even took a three-mile historical walking tour of Shillington, taking in sites that showed what the borough was like while Updike was growing up there. And they read some of Updike’s poems that the author wrote for children.”
Drago told the Eagle he hopes to expand the project in the future and plans to enlist local students to tend the garden over the summer.
Director of Education Maria Lester was the Updike house liaison for the project.
For the full article, see “Gov. Mifflin students plant victory garden at The John Updike Childhood Home.”