After High School


I have graduated.

We are all back home with Mom and Dad, but it isn’t the same. Norma is the only one still in High School. Max and Jerry are working.

During my senior year, I took the state teacher’s exam. Then I enrolled in York College summer school. With 12 hours of college credit and passing the exam, I could teach in a rural school for 3 years.

I was 17 years old when school began that fall.

I had 8 students in 6 grades. I was lucky to teach some very well behaved students. They had good homes and knew how to work. I really think the 8th grade boy knew more than I did. One evening we were listening to the battery radio at home to hear the election results. The election was close and there were no results that night. The next morning I drove my dad’s ’37 ford to school. I took all my kids out to the car to listen to the radio and hear that Truman had beat Dewey after all. We cheered but the little kids didn’t know why. I wasn’t even old enough to vote.

It was the winter of 1948 and 1949 and we had historic blizzards. School was closed as many days as the state allowed. The school was so cold we had class around the coal stove in the morning. There was no plumbing or electricity. The outhouses were just that, outside. The school board was generous enough that I could buy new books. We nailed a basketball goal on the coal shed and the boys really liked that. We bought a set of encyclopedias and the older kids couldn’t wait for free time to read it.

When it finally stopped snowing, the spring thaw began and the bottom went out of the roads and the bridge was out, so we missed some more school.

My brother Jerry sometimes took me to school and helped me build the fire. He encouraged me to save my money and go to college. He said if I didn’t I would never get out of there. So after only one year and a detassling job in the summer I was ready to cram two years of college into one year and a summer and got a permit to teach in town. I was paid $135 a month for nine months. I had never heard of student loans or grants. I think the year and 2 summer sessions cost me about $1000.

The year at Kearney State was a real change for me. I loved it. I wrote another story in this blog about Case Hall and that tells about that year.

Near the end of the year all the campus was tuned in to their radios. We were at war again. A little country called Korea needed our help. We had to stop communism. This time the draft took my other brother and most of my classmates. The airbases around were closed, but the Naval Ammunition Depot was ready to go. The population of Clay Center, NE began to grow again and that is where I ended up teaching. Instead of 8 kids in 6 grades, I had 40 kids in first and second grade combination. I loved the kids with all my heart, but was not in love with being a teacher.

That was 1950 and here I have stayed.


Published in: on March 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment