Thanksgiving has passed and before we know it winter will be here. Over the years I have watched the kids scoot for the bus stop when those winter winds blow. It makes me shiver at times to see those skinny little legs and their big fat backpacks. It is the one time I don’t appreciate Minnesota in the winter. But we all went through it and more. It is just hard to remember. Times have changed and improved considerably. We should be grateful.
Things come to mind about stories told of other generations. My Uncle Paul reminded me that when he was young they not only had to catch the bus, but they had already put in hours of labor doing farm chores before they could clean up for school.
Going further back, my Aunt Helyn felt fortunate to be able to attend two years of high school in Geneva. She was able to stay with her Uncle Hans and Aunt Carol and did chores and helped take care of the little ones in the house for the privilege. When weekends arrived, it was time to get back to the farm and do what she could to help out there as well.
School buses then were more (I think) of a canvas covering of whatever. Warmed bricks was the only heat provided. It also involved a mile or so of walking to get to the bus stop.
It is good to remember that clothes in those early years were far from the quality of the clothes our children and grandchildren are able to wear today. My mother said she can remember in her day and age that Dorothy Mickelson, who lived miles from the bus stop, would walk across the field for a short cut. In those days the girls were not allowed to wear jeans or any other type of protection on their legs. If they were lucky, they had snow pants.
My mother remembers and sometimes giggles about her bus driver. Little Johnny Stadheim, would do his best but often got into trouble turning corners. If the bus got stuck the kids were often used to push the bus out of snow banks. There were no cell phones or radios back then to use to contact someone to help. And remember, roads were not kept clean and clear like today. Equipment wasn’t the same.
Sometimes parents would erect little houses at the end of their long driveways to protect their children form the cold and wind somewhat as they waited for the bus. Many times the children had to wait long periods of times because who knows what may have delayed the school bus and for how long.
If you went to country school, which most generally was for first through eighth grade, the students would walk. When the winter weather set in, most generally the dads would bundle up the kids in the sleigh to get them to school.
The school houses were uninsulated one-room classrooms, heated by a monster wood-burning unit. Since there was no electricity back then the windows were long and as many as could be, which provided light for the classroom. Those big windows were fine in warm weather but not so much fun during the winter when the cold could seep through.
Did the kids mind? I don’t know. I am sure there were days they did but it was a way of life back then. They accepted it as best they could.
I wonder what this generation would think of those prehistoric methods they endured to get an education.
Speaking of education, it brings great pride to see one of our home town boys, Gary Sloan, who grew up outside of Ellendale, back coaching one of the football teams in the state tournament again this year.
Gary has been able to help get several of the Grand Meadow Superlarks football teams to the state tournament over the past years and I hope they continue their success again this year.
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, December 1st: Ethan Elliot Marzoff, Kyle Anthony Neidermeier, Jim Cornelius, Brian Waage, Laurie Ellis, Teri Horan Finke, Barbara Wangsness
• Friday, December 2nd: Maryalice Hanson, Liam William Philip Abbott, Allura Danon Johnson, Leah Wayne, Allura Danon Johnson, Paige Sorenson, Lyle Paulson, Jean Richards Worrell, Helen Sawyer, Heidi Wangsness, Heather Peterson, Dale Schewe
• Saturday, December 3rd: Eric Degan, Ethan Fletcher Cornelius, Brian Van Ravenhorst
• Sunday, December 4th: Sue Mattson, Jessica Shultz, Sandy Larson Russo, Sue Brown Asplund, Shawn Vangen Steffen, Jeff Kasper, Skylar Larson, Holly Pichner, Max Jensen, Casey & Jon Homuth
• Monday, December 5th, Jason Berg, Finnegan Fladger, Bodie Jaxon Newgard, Phyllis Hanson, Rick Aaseth, Rosalyn Johnson, Kathy Lee, Christian Conroy, Shannon Jensen, Kelsey Loverink, Ron Farner, Larry & Mary Richards
• Tuesday, December 6th: Sharon Johnson, Rodger Hill, Katie Marlin, Tony Jackovitch, John Lerum, John Kaplan, Sue Klemmensen, Emily & Jeffrey O'Brien
• Wednesday, December 7th: Katie Olson, Tracy Holland, Sam Peterson, Angela Hensrud, Wanda Schwartz, Helen Schmidt, Kara & Eric Grant, Ron & Theresa Langlie, Dawn & Eric Degan
• Thursday, December 8th: Kathy Glynn, Teri McDonald, Jeff Schei, Tracy Haddy, James Olsen, Mike Flugum, Meghan Baumann
• Friday, December 9th: Eva Buendorf, 2012; Carrisa Christensen, Paitan Janis Glynn, Al Paulson, Robert Robertson, Rusty Besco, Mark Ribbe, Tony Phillips, Courtney Thompson, Brian Strand, Chuck & Cynthia Crabtree, Steve & Terri Engel
May you find joy and pleasure all around you on your special day.