Thursday, June 25, 2015

Some more Winside history

September 26, 1932 - I forgot my keys this morning and was at the schoolhouse when I thought about it.  Rained all day.
September 27, 1932 - Had to play policeman because of muddy shoes, but still the floor got pretty full of mud.
September 28, 1932 - I got a letter from Mayme.  She said Leona wants to go with us to Institute.  I called up Mayme and told her I had planned that she and I might stay at Aunt Mildred's.  That suited her.  Tillie Eckert birthday.

Since I am still remembering how great the Q125 was, I'll do some Winside history whilst I contemplate Grandma's goings on.  Here is 1902:

     January 1, 12 inches of snow on the level, temperature 10 below.
     January 18, the Winside Roller Mills burned to the ground.
     March 3, L. S. Needham filed his petition in the district court of Wayne County, Nebraska, praying that all of that portion of the north one half of section No. 3, in Township No. 25, Range 2 east, Wayne County, Nebraska, lying south of the C. St. P. M. & O. R. R. right of way, excepting that portion which is platted, be disconnected and detached from the corporation of the village of Winside, Nebraska.
     May 6, Guy R. Wilbur was appointed village attorney for the remainder of the year.
     June 2, Board ordered all parties having obstructions on Jones, Allen, Whitten, Vroman, Miner and Graves streets, removed that the streets may be opened for public travel.
     July 7, Harry Prescott was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Board of Trustees, caused by the resignation of L. S. Needham.
     November 15, Board ordered the old windmill in the village park taken down, as it was decaying and a danger to public welfare.
     December 23, an ordinance, No. 58, granted to the Nebraska Clark Automatic Telephone Co. the right to use the streets and alleys for the purpose of building and maintaining a telephone system.
     December 25, John Mundy had a 17-pound turkey for Christmas dinner.

Hmmm.  Most often cities and towns are looking to annex property, not detach it.  I am being completely silly, but it could be read that the good Mr. Needham shaved off part of town, got criticized for it, and then resigned, all in the same year. 

I was perusing the Wayne County history book a bit the other day and they sure included some salacious things in there not found in the Winside history book -- murders and prairie fires and scalping and all kinds of things.

As for Grandma, I need to be very careful I don't leave keys and other things behind.  Starting when I was just a young thing, I made it a habit to look behind me whenever I got up from a chair in school or at church or wherever, because I kept leaving things behind.  Forgetting my work key would not allow me to go home and get it before I could work, unfortunately.  They have a duplicate around there somewhere.

The photo is there as a parallel to Winside's 1902 snow and back when I probably wasn't forgetting too many things.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

School days, school days

September 23, 1932 - Ronald was in school until first recess and was excused then  The Nurnbergs weren't here all day.  We hurried with our work and got through about 2:15.  The Madison League entertained the Hoskins League tonite.  They had the party at their church.  We played games outside, had a weiner roast and after that a short program in the church.
September 24, 1932 - Mother came for me about 9:30.  Went to Behmer's, Jochens' and Strates' and got my check.  I went down town this afternoon.  Mom and I were down town a little while this evening.
September 25, 1932 - Washed my hair this morning.  Ray took me out to Annie's and Lilly finger-waved it for me.  Ray and Mom brought me back to Walkers about 5:30.  I went with Walkers to the oratorical contest at Norfolk tonite.  Thelma Rottler from Madison won the gold medal.  Hollis Francis and Nan Andersen birthday.

My commentary has almost nothing to do with what Grandma has here, other than the fact that she mentions school.  I went up to Winside this last weekend to the Q125 celebration.  Some of our class got together for a quick little breakfast before the parade.  A small, but determined bunch, I'd say.  I reflected a bit later as to why it is so enjoyable for me to get together with this select group of individuals and here is what I came up with:

What is it about childhood friends that keeps us coming back for more?  Perhaps it is because these are the people we knew before mortgages and being fired from work and keeping up with the Joneses, and shopping for the best car insurance.  One of the last lines of the movie "Stand by Me" where four friends go off in search of the body of a dead boy and find themselves instead is, "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve."  I think that applies to ages five to 18, too.

We all knew each other when we were at our best; not every day behaving like perfect young people, because of course, we weren't.  But we were enthusiastic about life because for the most part and for most of us, Life had not handed up more than we could handle.  We were in good physical and mental shape and the world was our oyster.  And we had fabulous fashion sense.  Like all generations before us, we did not and could not know what the future would hold.  But if we could make it through puberty and romantic break-ups, and disappointing ratings at district music contest, or favorite teachers moving on to other schools or not winning state wrestling, why, we could face anything.  We had not yet been affected so far as we knew by politicians or world events or the Dow Jones average.  World events, good or bad, did not come close to dulling our shine or giving us pause about the state of the planet we lived on.  Instead we lived for sports competitions and music and speech contests and plays and dances and summer vacation.  It was fun just to show up on the first day of school and find out who we got to sit next to in class.

But now, decades later, Life has shown us more of itself and we have weathered bad jobs and bad marriages and the heartbreak that sometimes comes with having children or trying to have them and the results of making choices we thought were right at the time.  We've buried beloved family members.  We've moved apart, literally and figuratively.  But there is a special and certain joy in seeing each other long after we were a cohesive class unit.  The years and the weight of the world can slip away for a time and we can be shiny and new and unaffected.  We can laugh and catch up since we last met, or not.  We can talk about who dated who, or the weather or retirement benefits.  Or not.  We have shared experiences that are known only to us.  And that makes our time together special, regardless of whether we spent three school years together or all 13, regardless of whether we hung out together during those years or simply passed in the halls.  We were the Class of 1980 and even if the best we could muster was "80 is greaty", we were greaty and still are. Keep shining, my friends.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fall Festival?

September 20, 1932 - Minnie told us today that she has a little baby brother, born Saturday nite.  We were to have gone over to see it this evening but we were all too tired.  Allan Francis birthday.
September 21, 1932 - Rained this morning.  The Nurnberg's didn't come to school until noon.  This evening all of us except Evie went over to Nurnberg's to see the baby.
September 22, 1932 - This is the first day of the Fall Festival in Norfolk.  Yesterday's program was postponed until tomorrow.  All of Walker's went.  Read this evening.

I do not know what the Fall Festival is or was.

I was thinking of one-room schoolhouses today when I was watching the national news and a story out of California.  They were reporting on a test school (private and wildly expensive) that has a dozen or so students of different ages.  Because it is in testing there are extra behind-the-scene things going on, so some of what they talked about will not always happen.  The main gist of the news piece was that these kids have only two teachers and all ages meet in the same room.  Lessons are tailored to each student.  For the time being, all are watched by technies in another room to gauge how things are going; the school is very high-tech (piloted by big tech firms) and the students's work on their computers is also monitored in real time.  There are no report cards and students can listen to music with headphones while they do their work.

Obviously this is not like the one-room schoolhouses of Grandma's day, but the feeling seemed somewhat the same.  I do not think it would be all bad, at least for students where smaller is better, to go back to mixed-age, high teacher-to-student ratio learning.  The concept of old schoolhouses was brought up during the coverage and the educator interviewed said, in not so many words, that educational methods are fluid and ever-changing and that some so-called progress (bigger classes, less direct teacher interaction) is not always best.

I would likely have to make a dedicated effort to track that particular school to see how things go from here and if the concept takes off, but I was pleased at the effort to make some old things new again.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


September 17, 1932 - Ray repaired the damage this a.m. that I did yesterday.  We went to the fair this p.m. in Ola's car.  Lilly B. and Alma L. went with us.  Stayed for the evening and saw the pageant "Hiawatha" given by the Winnebago Indians.
September 18, 1932 - To S.S. and church.  Slept and read most of the afternoon.  Ray took me to Walkers about 6:00.  I went to church with them this evening.
September 19, 1932 - Cold and cloudy.  Bertha, Hazel, Louie and Eric Meierhenry and Bessie Miller were here this evening.  Bessie taught District 76 the year before I came here.  Mr. Walker went to Omaha today with Maas'.

I guess Grandma's efforts to run over a truck had some consequences.  No word on the truck, so perhaps that was good.

I am guessing the Hiawatha pageant Grandma refers to was based on the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem since I find by doing a bit of research that pageants were (or are, maybe) performed based on that work.  Here's a bit of The Song of Hiawatha trivia from wikipedia:

     "The Song of Hiawatha is an 1855 epic poem, in trochaic tetrameter, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, featuring a Native American hero. Longfellow's sources for the legends and ethnography found in his poem were the Ojibwe Chief Kahge-ga-gah-bowh during his visits at Longfellow's home; Black Hawk and other Sac and Fox Indians Longfellow encountered on Boston Common; Algic Researches (1839) and additional writings by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an ethnographer and United States Indian agent; and Heckewelder's Narratives.  In sentiment, scope, overall conception, and many particulars, Longfellow's poem is a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition. Longfellow insisted, "I can give chapter and verse for these legends. Their chief value is that they are Indian legends."  Longfellow had originally planned on following Schoolcraft in calling his hero Manabozho, the name in use at the time among the Ojibwe of the south shore of Lake Superior for a figure of their folklore, a trickster-transformer. But in his journal entry for June 28, 1854, he wrote, "Work at 'Manabozho;' or, as I think I shall call it, 'Hiawatha'—that being another name for the same personage."  Hiawatha was not "another name for the same personage" (the mistaken identification of the trickster figure was made first by Schoolcraft and compounded by Longfellow), but a probable historical figure associated with the founding of the League of the Iroquois, the Five Nations then located in present-day New York and Pennsylvania.  Because of the poem, however, "Hiawatha" became the namesake for towns, schools, trains and a telephone company in the western Great Lakes region, where no Iroquois nations historically resided."


I will give HWL major props for research.  I wouldn't have guessed there would be so many resources for a poem.  Nicely done.  The photo is of Iroquois, taken in or near Buffalo, New York in 1914.