Elgin No. 8
School Daze Memories from former students and teachers!
Memories from Norman Kloster (b. 1929).
From age one until age 6, when I started school, is rather vague. It was at the age of six when we lived on a farm in Elgin Township north of Le Mars that I started school. The school was on what is now, Highway 60, north of Le Mars. My uncle, Ole Andersen, lived on a farm between the school and the farm that the folks lived on. Miss Blumer was the teacher. I had two strikes against me when I started, I could only talk Danish, and I was left-handed. In those days they figured the devils people were the left handed ones! So, my left hand was a place of the ruler to teach me to use the right hand for everything. I guess this had the effect of scrambling my brain. Now you know why I am like I am! I am still left handed in everything but writing. Grandpa Torval was left handed in most all he did, so I was in good company. After all that treatment, I decided I was too smart to stay in school. I’d take off for home. It seemed Aunt Lottie Andersen [Charolotte Kloster] would always see me coming, get a switch, and back to school I would go, tears and “no” compromise.
The school had a high-barrel heating stove. In extreme cold weather, one or more parents would furnish stew, or rice with whole cream or something that could be set on top of the stove to make it warm. I can still taste that delicious rice with cream on it. (And I still do have it!) One spring day, some fellow had set a trap in the culvert by the corner and had caught a civet cat (somewhat smaller version of a skunk). He had a long wire on the trap, so after all the mean treatment I had, for some reason, I dragged this animal through the school dismissing school for a few days while the parents and teachers tried to eliminate the odor. From that episode, I guess I had a polished bottom! The favorite tool those days was a little willow switch that seemed to grow everywhere. The following year I guess all the patrons of the school were happy to learn I wouldn’t be going to school there as we moved into the town of Le Mars.
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