Getting to High School in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Minnesota, USA.
Getting to High School in the 20’s and 30’s
My sister Dorothy was born in 1913 and she started grade school 3 miles west of Geneva when she was 5 years old. She would have started High School in 1926. We lived 5 miles from the nearest High School which was located in Ellendale Minnesota. So my folks paid Arthur Muri five dollars a month so that Dorothy could stay in town and go to High School. She did help around the house and would come home on week ends. I supposed my Dad drove the Model T Ford in and got her on Saturday and they probably did the shopping then. I do not know if they took the horse and buggy to get her when the weather was bad or if they used the sled and horses in the winter time. But they probably did as they were still using the sled and horses to go to town when I was a small child in the thirties.
Dorothy did not get to finish High School as my Mother had TB and she had to leave in her Junior year and come home and take care of the rest of us children as my Mother went to the TB sanitorium when I was two and a half years old.
My sister Daisy was born in 1918 and she would go to the same grade school and then she would have started High School in 1932. She did not go to Ellendale for the first 3 years as they had a High School in Geneva which was 3 miles from our farm. She did not stay at home either and she lived with a Jensen family on a farm about one half mile from the Geneva school. I do not know what my Father paid them for keeping Daisy but suppose about five dollars a month. My Mother was home from the TB sanitorium at that time. Daisy had to finish her last year at the High School in Ellendale and I do not remember if she stayed with some one in Ellendale or if the school bus came close enough to the house that she could catch it. Geneva just had one teacher and he taught Latin and English and all the math courses for students for 3 years and then they had to go to Ellendale to get their diploma. I think that the state had test to see if you had passed your subjects. Daisy graduated from Ellendale in 1936.
Lawrence started High School in 1934 and he also went to Geneva for 2 years. I think he must have either driven the Model T to school or rode horseback when the weather was good. I do remember in 1936 that he and the oldest Paulson boy and May Vogt took the horse and sled to school in 1936 when we had such a terrible winter and lots of snow. We moved in 1936 to a farm 2 miles south of Hope and Lawrence and Daisy caught the school bus across the filed about one half mile south of us. Daisy went an extra year to Ellendale and took the business courses offered at the High School in Ellendale By that time we had a Model A Ford and I think in 1937 that they drove the car to Ellendale to School.
Don started High School along with Lawrence in 1937. They drove the car to Ellendale and they took Helen and Violet Olson and Barbara Webb and Robert Bedney to school with them and I think they paid my Dad some money for doing that. Lawrence graduated in 1938 and he was 4th highest in his class. Daisy was 3rd highest in her class.
We moved in 1940 to a farm 5 miles south of Owatonna and Don stayed on the farm we left and worked there for 2 years so that he could finish school. By that time the school bus came about one half mile from the farm and he caught the bus to school . Donald also went to the school west of Geneva and then we had moved to the school south of Hope. Don was in 8th grade and I was in 3rd grade when this happened . Don was born in 1923.
I started grade school in the school west of Geneva and we had to walk about a half mile to school. My Dad lost the farm in 1936 and we moved to the rent farm 2 miles south of Hope. So I got to start a new school. I started 4th grade the next year and the the teacher skipped me a grade as I was on the same reading level as the fifth graders. In 8th grade we moved again to a farm 5 miles south of Owatonna and by that time in 1940 we had a New Plymouth car. The school was located 2 and ½ miles from our house and so the neighbors took turns taking the kids to school. There were 7 kids in the car besides the driver. And I was the oldest one. I probably held one of the younger ones on my lap. I just went to that school for 3 months and then I was ready for High School. My folks decided to send me to Ellendale for one year so I stayed with Iver and Dorothy and Warren and went home about once a month. I caught the school bus right outside from the house and went into Ellendale to school. The next year I went to Owatonna and Lawrence drove 3 of us to Owatonna every 3 days. Sometimes Elaine drove the car and we would disconnect the odometer and put some gas in and drive around during the noon hour.
The next 2 years I stayed with the Supt of our High School and did house work for my room and board. Got to come home every two weeks. I brought eggs in to sell to Mrs Burt and that was my spending money. Think I took 3 dozen eggs back every two weeks. Probably got fifty cents for the eggs. My Mother had been a school teacher and my folks insisted we all get to High School and at that time we were rent farmers. Many of the kids whose folks owned farms did not get to High School but my parents valued an education.
My brother Dick started school south of Owatonna and then he went to a school over by Meridan and then he went to Hope school and ended up in Willow river Minnesota where he was a star basketball player. That is the way we got to school back in the dark ages.