Saturday, October 16, 2010

High School Memories - 1940 - 1944

    In March of 1940 my family who were dairy farmers moved to a different rent farm that contained 320 acres.  My brother Larry had finished High School and we needed a larger farm as our dairy herd was much larger.  I had skipped 4th grade and finished  8th grade at age 13 in 1940.

    My parents decided that I would live with my sister Dorothy and her family and attend school in Ellendale, a consolidated school with about 30 students in each class.  The school had a good library and electric sewing machines in the Home Ec department.  I was happy to be in a larger school as I loved to read and would check out every new book that came in.  I read gone With the Wind that year and took it home so my sis could read it.

    Some of the girls were a little bit mean and cruel but I just ignored them and stuck my nose in a book.  I already knew how to sew clothing and how to cook simple things.  Some of the mean girls really messed up in Home Ec and I had the last laugh.  The first year of High School was a little bit miserable.

    My second, third and fourth years of High School were spent in our county seat town of Owatonna.  It was a small industrial city with a population of about 5000.  I stayed home my second year of High school and car pooled with two neighbor to Owatonna.  Elaine, the neighbor girl was 18 years old and a senior in school.  Elaine took me under her wing and helped me make some new friends.  I really liked Owatonna High School.

    On Dec 7, 1941  Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the world as we knew it changed forever.  My brother Donald enlisted in the navy and was placed in radio school.  He was assigned to the submarine Robalo.  He spent 2 years in service before being reported missing in action in 1944.  His submarine the Robalo left Freemantle Australia on a mission and did not return.  Don’s death was a terrible loss to our family and me at 17 years of age.

    The next 2 years of high School were spent working for my room and board and going to school.  I was fortunate in that I worked for the Supt of our High School.  They had two small boys in the family that I helped take care of and I helped with the cleaning, cooking and ironing.  At that time I was introduced to classical music which has been a life long pleasure to me.

    One of my favorite teachers in high School was Mr Eder.  He was my Latin teacher and a tough taskmaster indeed.  He would not allow you to come to class unprepared.  The boys who would mess with the other teachers came to Mr Eder’s class and were real gentleman.  Mr Eder was probably a master teacher and Mr Burt the Supt of Schools would mention at home how well he liked Mr Eder.  I think he would use Mr Eder as a sounding board when he had problems as Mr Eder was probably 60 years old at that time.  He could and did teach French, Latin and Spanish.

    I liked High School and learning new things.  I have continued to learn all my life and still enjoy reading and learning.

    These are a few  stories about High School days.

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