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Community focus: Memories after 100 years

I just celebrated my 100th birthday. I enjoyed Gary Wilson's article on East Hall. I attended college there, and each time I go by the site, a mental picture comes to me. I earned my elementary teacher certificate there. My teaching certificate was instrumental in important events in future years.

I worked for my board and room to be able to attend college. I worked for the E.O. Smith family. They had two children, a girl, Doris, in second grade, and Earl "Buddy," who was 9 months old. They hired another lady for work when I was not there. She did the baking needed.

Elsie Nelson

The Smiths were very kind to me. When Sadie Hawkins Day was on at college, the girls were to invite a boy for a date. The fee was $5. I didn't have $5. Smiths GAVE me $5, so I could enjoy the day.

I invited Sam Filicetti. He was gentlemanly and always wore nice suits to dances. He was a good dancer!

Sam was the only young man I knew who had a car. It had no top. He painted a green stripe around it to dress it up.

When an ad appeared in the paper for a teacher needed for the new Spring Coulee School, nine miles north of Kremlin, the Smiths drove me out there to apply for the position. We drove to Route 1, Box 30, the address of Sigurd Nelson, chairman of the school board. I then went to Oregon to visit my older sister. A telegram was sent to me there saying "School North of Kremlin yours. Shall I accept? Please advise. E.O. Smith."

They let Sigurd Nelson know I accepted the position.

I had no car, so I wanted a school which had a teacherage. Fortunately, Spring Coulee had a teacherage in the northeast corner of the first floor. All I had to do was open the door to step into the classroom. I could sleep until 7 then get up and warm the building by heaping on some coal. It was warm and cozy by the time the students arrived.

I rode places and especially to town with Sigurd "Sig" Nelson and his sister Hilda. Riding with Sig developed into dating, and I won my M.R.S. degree.

Each time my sister drove college road to the clinic she'd see all the cars there and say, "It sure wasn't like this when we went to college, was it?" she had attended when Cowan Hall was in use.

We have many fond memories of our classmates and teachers. One in particular was Mr. Hagener. All classmates were fond of him. Another of mine was Dr. Morgan who taught "Methods of Teaching." I received his notation on my written methods of teaching. I had learned from having eight brothers and five sisters. Dr. Morgan had made this notation: "Good even for grown-ups."

(Elsie Nelson is from Havre.)


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