Eighty-four years ago, five little farm girls started grade 1 in a one-room country school, District 172. Many of our brothers and sisters had gone to that school between Richmond and St. Martin. Nineteen children went there when we did; two boys were older than we were. They are both gone.
One teacher taught all eight grades. We had good teachers. I lived closer to the school, in the middle of the five. We ran across the meadow and went home for lunch. In the winter, we all ate at school with our syrup pails for lunch pails (no fancy lunch pails). Some of the teachers roomed at our place, weekends they went home. When the weather was bad, they stayed by us.
We had Christmas programs. My dad hauled planks and wooden nail kegs for people to sit on, and our stage was small, our curtains were bedsheets hanging on wire by safety pins. In the winter, my dad would harness two horses to a little caboose he had built to go to a neighbor’s at night. The horses would be tied to a post, cover them with a blanket to stay warm. We had a lot of good times together picking choke cherries, etc. Our teachers came out at recess to play with us. We really loved that.
After grade school, we went our separate ways; most of us went home and worked out. I had three married sisters. I worked by them a lot. One of the girls went to some school in St. Cloud. No-one went to high school. There were no buses. Then World War II came along. The Draft Board told me to go help my folks because I was not married, so my sisters could go in service. I couldn’t get married, my boyfriend was in service. He was gone almost four years, never got one furlough home, so we couldn’t get married.
During those years, help was short, so the neighbor girl and I ran a bundle team. We had two horses and a hayrack, we went to the field, filled it full of bundles, took it back to the threshing machine, when it was time to unload the grain while we rested.
Then some got married. The neighbor girl, I worked at her wedding, and got to borrow some of the things. Being wartime you couldn’t buy much. We got married when Joe got back from service. Weddings were small. Those days you had them at home. The neighbor ladies did the cooking, There were maybe 50 people, that’s all.
We got together with some when we had children. We got together one time when we were out of school 60 years. All five were there and some younger ones. Now, since last fall, we started all five of us turned 90 years old. The last one of the five celebrated her 90th June 29, 2012. Four of us were here, the fifth isn’t well so she wasn’t there. One other one is in a wheel chair. The four of us that were, enjoyed our get-together.
Here are the names of us five girls:
• Rita Kolb Hayes, 6 children, now living in St. Cloud
• Lorraine Resseman Fisher, 4 children, Richmond
• Adella Resseman Theis, 3 children, Eden Valley
• Cordelia Stang Obermiller, 3 children, St. Cloud
• Leona Braegelmann Willenbring, 13 children, Richmond