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Museum Blog March 2018

March 1, 2018

Memories of a Country School

Margaret Halverson Heglund

(Excerpts from a former TCPS Newsletter)

I can remember as a preschooler riding along in the car when my Dad drove my older siblings to the little country school, District 107 called Sunnyside, (also called Trondhjem School) located below the hill from the Historic Trondhjem Church. I would watch Elna, Gordy, Lyla and Gloria go up the stairs and into the schoolhouse –and I could hardly wait until I was old enough to join them. By the time I started first grade, Elna and Gordy had finished 8th grade and were going to high school in Northfield. Lyla was in 7th grade, Gloria in 4th and my cousin Eldon Fossum in 2nd grade. I was the only First grader – in fact, I was the only person in my class for all eight years of country school which meant I had no competition – but also I could progress as rapidly as I was able with no one holding me back.

One of my favorite memories of first grade was the “Kitchen Band” in which the students (all fourteen of us) participated. As the only first grader I got the lead the band as a majorette while the rest of the students played Kazoos or banged various

kitchen pots and pans together as drums. It was very exciting when we got to perform at the Faribault High School auditorium for a Rice County Country School event.

When was in second grade my sister, Arlys and cousin Ramona Fossum started First grade. That year I attended school with three sisters and two cousins.

There was a morning recess, noon recess and afternoon recess. The teacher would ring the bell to let us know it was time to get back to our lessons – “reading writing or ‘rithmetic.” We didn’t have any elaborate playground equipment – only a kick ball, a kitenball and a bat. During recess time we would play kick ball or kittenball or games like “The Farmer in the Dell” or “Drop the Handkerchief”. One day when we were playing kitten ball, my sister Gloria was pitching and got hit by the ball knocking the wind out of her. She was unconscious momentarily and I remember being terrified that she had died! She recovered quickly and as I recall, the game continued.

During winter the pond across the road from the schoolhouse froze over and we would bring our skates and enjoy skating on the pond during recess. A warm spell one winter caused the ice to get a little soft and I remember Lyla fell through the ice with water up to her waist. I was so afraid that she was going to drown. I those days girls did not wear jeans or slacks to school. We wore dresses and cotton stockings. Imagine Lila’s embarrassment when her wet wool dress began to shrink as she sat at her desk in the afternoon. By the time school was over for the day her below the knees dress had become a miniskirt!

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