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By Ila McClenahan
Columnist 

Wherefore art thou, Havre Class of 1970?

 


Just two weeks before her delivery date, Genevieve Haugen found out she and her husband would soon be adding twins to their family. The twins would be joining older sister Judy (Molitor). On Oct. 1, 1952, Dr. Elliott delivered Marlene, followed by Darlene five minutes later at the Kennedy Deaconess Hospital in Havre, Montana.

Marlene and Darlene Haugen were one of the five sets of twins who graduated with the Havre High School Class of 1970. Their parents decided that it would be best if the girls were not in the same classes. They attended kindergarten at Lincoln-McKinley, first through third grades at Highland Park and fourth through sixth grades at Devlin Elementary. Seventh and eighth grades were at Havre Junior High — the old high school building — and then at Havre High School.

What is the best/worst thing about being a twin? Darlene responded “There is not a ‘worst’ thing. Marlene and I had such different personalities, and that’s why we probably got along so well. I remember a few fights, but for the most part, she was always very supportive of me … and still is.”

Marlene had a little different take on the best and worst question about being a twin. “The worst part, I guess, would be that when we were growing up people didn’t remember our names, only that we were ‘one of the twins’! It’s natural that sometimes people like to compare us and I guess that would be on the list of the worst things. The best thing is that Darlene is always there for me. We always have someone to share with. It’s fun reminiscing with her because we usually remember different things. Darlene has a great memory and is really good with names.”

Teachers whom Marlene remembers: “I was in the sixth grade when President Kennedy was assassinated. My teacher was Mrs. Green, and I remember when we heard the news she cried. School was dismissed, and I walked her part way home. Mrs. Brose was a study hall teacher in junior high. I remember her because she slapped me across the face in front of the class for sassing her. I believe I was whispering and passing notes, and she didn’t appreciate it. Mr. Rorvig was my favorite teacher. He made history very real with stories. I loved Mollie Keller, our high school home economics teacher. She was a good teacher and a character to boot. I don’t think I felt that way in her class. She scared me, but looking back she was great.”

“My favorites in grade school were Mrs. Ryan and Mrs. Ackerland,” Darlene says, “Mr. Oke and Laubach in high school — our class was terrible to those two. I liked and respected Mr. Rorvig and Mr. Hyke.”

Marlene remembers that her friends were Beth Davis, Eloise LaCroix, Karen Young, Colleen Krause, Kayette Shrauger, Janet Manaras, Ila Whaley, Sidney Schuster, Leslie Fisk and Chris Wiewick. In elementary school Janet Smith, Coychook Shank and Debbie Carter were Darlene’s friends and she adds, “In high school Debbie Kuhr was my best friend. We double-dated a lot. Other friends were Susie Meredith, Rita Draeger and Norma Gorder. Vicki Malmberg was a softball buddy. We did a lot of activities as a group — Bob Divish and Roger Golden came out to Kuhr’s and did a lot of horseback riding, and we had a lot of fun at Beaver Creek and tournaments.”

What were your interests in high school? Darlene enjoyed G.A.L. (Girls Athletic League), tumbling team, softball and Pep Club while Marlene was involved in Pep Club and French club. “I remember the French Club we made a dinner with all French recipes. I don’t remember appreciating the food as much as it was fun making it. I made some good friends in French Club, too.”

What did you do the first summer after graduation? Darlene: “We spent a lot of time at Fresno and Beaver Creek Park. I also babysat a lot.” Marlene: “I got my first job working as a server at the 4B’s Restaurant. I worked a shift from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. in the morning. I was scheduled for one shift that was 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. I sat down at the counter to visit with a customer in the wee hours of the morning, and it was against the rules to sit. I wasn’t scheduled for any more shifts. After that I got a job at the Dairy Queen.”

In the fall, both of the twins started at Northern Montana College. Marlene wanted to be a teacher. Darlene met Jim Fossum and they married in the fall of 1971. They have lived on their farm/ranch northeast of Opheim since they were married. They raised registered Black Angus cattle and sold bulls at their annual sale which was held in Glasgow.Now, Darlene and Jim have cut back and are enjoying golfing and traveling during the winters. They have two children, Stephanie lives and works in Billings, and Justin and his wife Julie live in Aloha, Oregon.

Marlene met her future husband in college and they were also married in 1971. They moved to Butte when he graduated in ’74. “I was never a teacher,” said Marlene. “I worked at Hennessy’s Department Store for five years in the office. I was the head cashier and worked with accounts receivables. The Anaconda Company had their offices on the top two floors of the building and on their paydays I would have a long line of miners coming to cash their paychecks. The friends I made working at Hennessey’s are my best friends today. I have been working in the business office at Montana Tech for the past 35 years. I had the opportunity to move up from cashier to the director position. It’s a great place to work, and I’ve seen the campus grow to almost double in size. Due to all the changes in technology and higher education I have had a constant learning experience. I love it. I am looking forward to retirement in the near future, though. Ray and I have a daughter and a son and a daughter-in-law. Our daughter Rachel has two girls Kaitrin, 7, and Ellyana, 6. They are 10 months apart and are a lot of fun to be around. Our son Brent and his wife Trina have a 2-year-old son named Connor and a 12-year-old daughter named Paige. Our grandchildren are the lights of our life.”

What words of wisdom do you have for your fellow classmates? Darlene said, “We aren’t getting any younger, so take time to smell the roses.”

And Marlene said, “Share the memories with your children and grandchildren. They are an important part of who you are. We were blessed to have my mom spend some time with us in Butte this past year. I love visiting her and hearing the stories of her past. We had some great conversations this past winter about her childhood and our family growing up.”

Darlene had one closing thought: “I have lots of good memories of my high school years. A couple of years ago Patsy Divish, Debbie Kuhr, Theresa Miller and I got together and we visited until way after my high school curfew.”

Well there you have it: The second of the series about the five sets of twins in the HHS Class of 1970. Thank you Gary and Tary Richardson and Marlene and Darlene Haugen for the interviews thus far. I’m trying to make contact with Mary and Martha, Sharon and Sharlotte and Daryl and Darla. Stay tuned.

(Ila McClenahan is the pastoral care and activity director at Northern Montana Health Care.)

 

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