Fredonia No. 5

School Daze Memories from former students and teachers!



Quotes from the below article from the former rural school teacher, Myrne Detloff Bogh:

In the Elgin Township school building, “school marm” Myrne Bogh of LeMars sat momentarily alone Thursday reading the newspaper.  Putting the newspaper down, she remarked that the one-room school house recalled the beginning of her teaching career. “I began teaching at Fredonia No. 5 in 1936,” she said, adding she earned $60 a month.

All for teaching grades kindergarten through eighth, reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies, art and physical education.  On top of teaching, Bogh also stoked the coal stove and swept the floors. “It kept you in a complete whirl all of the time,” Bogh said.

“I don’t think I could do it now,” Bogh said. 

Bogh added as a teacher she had walked each day and arrived early enough to get the school house warm for her students. Source: LeMars Sentinel, Aug. 6, 1984

 Memories from Myrna Kloster Olsen

   I attended school at Fredonia #5 from kindergarten through sixth grade. We generally walked, rode bikes or sometimes we got rides for the nearly two miles to school. Phyllis was my teacher in third grade so I rode with her early in the morning and helped her clean until it was time to go home.[Plyllis is Myrna's older sister.] I had to call her Miss Kloster during the school day. It was a one-room school with a coal furnace that always went out over the winter weekends. We spent a couple of hours each Monday morning marching around the room to “Stars and Stripes Forever” until it got warm enough to sit at our desks without freezing.

Part of an  interview, on Feb 18, 2004, with brother and sister,  Floyd Miller (b. 1921) and Doris Miller Drost (b. 1923). 

 Doris: We went to No. 5 school on Chris’s corner.

Floyd: We walked about a third of a mile, I suppose. We didn’t have to walk too far, but a lot of others had a horse they could ride.

Doris: There was a shed there for the horses and we had to go potty outside. They had a cob and coal house by the outhouse.

Floyd: The teacher stayed by Andrew Bogh... The school was old when we were there.

Doris: They built a new one after we were all out and it had a basement. Then Jack got the land after they moved it off.

Floyd: The old school was moved to Oyens for Thorvald to live in... We played ball at recess. Positions didn’t make any difference.

Doris: I loved music and spelling. I hate arithmetic yet to this day. There was a piano there. I sang a lot of solos...We had a treadle sewing machine. Mom said, if you want to go to high school, you’re going to spend your summer sewing your clothes, and so that’s what I did and I’ve been sewing ever since. We went to Le Mars to high school. We took turns driving. I loved it. It tickles me because I got 5 cents a week and now kids are running around with $20 bills.

Memories from Blanche Petersen Mohning (b. 1927) She went to Fredonia # 5.

   Country school was fun. I loved it. All the kids got along real well, but we were mostly family. But we accepted everyone. There were other families there too: the Mulders and the Porters and that was about it. I remember one of the early grade teachers and she went over to the mail box across from the school and she fell in the ditch! It was kind of slippery. I know the teachers didn’t have an easy job because they had to get the fires going and such. We had teachers stay at our place. One of the teachers was at Brentwood [nursing home] some time ago and I got to visit with her. Some of the teachers were Wilma Raetz, Verna Detlof and Blanche Perry and Emma Smeenk.

 Memories from Woodrow Petersen (b. 1918) attended Fredonia  # 5.

When I started school somewhere around 5,6, something like that, all I could speak was Danish, and the teacher sent me home with a note to teach me English before they sent me back, so I guess I was pretty much in a Danish faction of the family...I went to eight grades in Fredonia Township Center Grade School. Eight grades there, one teacher with eight grades in one room. I went through in seven years. The teacher had me alone in third grade or second grade and she said I can’t take time just to teach one, so she moved me up to third grade so I skipped a grade. I missed some math and I think a lot of math is very essential in later life.

Memories from Mildred Nielsen Peterson (b. 1916), granddaughter of Thorvald Kloster

   I went to school up by Chris Kloster’s. That was the school that Uncle Axel lived in in Oyens. [Thorvald moved the school house to Oyens and remodeled it for his own house; later Axel and Herlig Petersen lived there.] Besides studying, if it was nice weather, we played outside. Otherwise we sat at our desks or the teacher tried to entertain us. I had Aunt Emma for a teacher. I didn’t have any favorite subjects. Andrew Vogel was more of teacher than the teachers. We always walked to school. I walked three-fourths of a mile. I brought my lunch in a lunch pail. I just didn’t like school. At recess we played Annie, Annie Over and kitten ball.

Memories from Phyllis Kloster Krumrey (b. 1926)

School? We did enjoy going to school! The teachers in our rural schools were excellent and I loved learning. We had good friends there and in a rural school there were a range of ages from first through eighth grade. Older kids watched out for younger children and played games together at recess. Games like red rover, kick the can, softball, ante-over, fox and geese, hide and seek, tag, etc. could be played by all ages. We had special times when our mothers were invited to be guests and we presented programs for them and served refreshments. We had Christmas programs for the community. I remember our teacher reading books to all of us for 10-15 minutes after lunch—books like Pollyanna, Pippi Longstocking, Little Women, Five Little Peppers, Silver Chief, Heidi  and others. We had a Red Cross Club and learned Roberts Rules of Order, made favors for hospitals, collected pennies for the Red Cross, etc. The Fullerton Music Course was followed and we learned the tunes of many traditional and classic songs.

   We hardly ever walked to school as we lived almost two and sometimes more than two miles away. Our dad faithfully gave us rides—we had a Model A Ford. When the snow was very deep in 1936, I remember going to school in a bobsled pulled by horses. The teacher boarded at a home near the school and walked. It was her responsibility to see that the school was heated, cleaned, and water for drinking was provided. We had septic indoor toilets. The school’s director, in charge of seeing that there was a teacher and needs provided, did at times start the fire in the furnace on Mondays. Teachers learned to “bank” the fire during the week!

   Many of us remember music in our country schools. There was great music in the old Fullerton song book. Myrne Detloff taught at Fredonia # 5—and she could play the piano and planned special music for programs we gave for parents and community. I remember when Blanche [Petersen] sang “I’m Just an In-Between” at one of them! (Too old for toys and too young for boys.) We learned “You are a Wonderful Mother—Dear Old Mother of Mine” for a Mother’s Day Program. I think Doris [Miller] sang that as a solo.



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