These stories can also be heard Sunday mornings around 10 am on WILD 102’s “Look Back in Time” program. Each week’s radio story will be posted here on our website.
Weekly radio stories are researched, compiled, and read by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member.
July 16, 2023
Last week I started reading from a story written by Joyce Rugland Morken, a former resident of Roseau County who now lives in California. She attended country school in Pinecreek and then at District 27S near Roseau. That school building was at the Roseau County Fairgrounds for many years and was where the school artwork was exhibited. I’ll continue reading her story about her time at District 27S continues today.
We did have a small library at school, but one day I brought home a book called “SoFat and MewMew”. My mother exclaimed, “They still have that book? It was there when I went to school!” The Roseau Library provided a Lending Library to our school, and I was elated to have them bring books for us. I also got a library card when my mother found that I was reading my brothers’ Western magazines and detective magazines. The library was a dream for me, and I became a lifelong reader.
Our Christmas programs were the highlight of winter. We worked hard on songs, plays, and poetry to present to all who came. Our school was also in competition with the neighboring school to put on the BEST PROGRAM. I think we did our best to compete.
Valentine’s Day was special! Buying the right packet was the first step. Then choosing the right valentine for each person was next. The teacher would provide a box, and the older girls would decorate it with hearts and cupids, etc. There was a slit on top so we would slide our valentines in. In the afternoon on Valentine’s Day, they would be passed out, and each happily looked at and shared with neighbors. One year I got a Valentine from a boy I had a real crush on. Rodney’s valentine said, “She loves me, she loves me not. Which is it? I forgot!” I saved that valentine for years, and have often wondered where Rodney is today! After the valentines, we had goodies to celebrate.
By this time, I was in the upper grades and became very interested in science and social studies. Our teacher was Miss Hammer, and I loved her. She was little but had the most beautiful long hair that I would admire. She encouraged us to learn, and I would usually work ahead of assignments that were all on a timeline, so I did them independently. We knew we would need to pass state board tests to pass 8th grade. All 8th grade students in the country schools would have graduation ceremonies in Roseau. We would march across the high school stage to receive our diploma from Superintendent of Schools, Charles Christianson—-A Big Deal!
But serious things were happening in our country. The war was approaching, my brothers were called up, and like other country farm girls, I did many farm chores. I worked on the mower during haying and drove the horses during stacking hay. This particular day I was to harness the horses and rake this one field of hay. Unfortunately, it led to a serious accident that could have been much worse if I had not used good common sense. One horse was nervous, and prone to react. On the way out to the field, we were too close to a fence post and the wheel got caught..The horse spooked—suddenly, I was dealing with a runaway team pulling a dangerous machine. The hayrake has numerous tines to rake the grass, but if I had fallen under them I could have been hurt badly or killed!
I knew what I had to do! Throw myself over backwards over the tines as the team raced across the field! God was with me that day! I managed to get over the tines but was knocked out and lay on the ground, dazed. Poor Gordon was on the tractor in the next field and saw it all, and came running. He was petrified until he saw the red on my head was a kerchief—but there was plenty of blood!
He took me to the doctor and I had 4 stitches and a big bandage on my head. When we got home, I got the team and I went out and raked the field! I wasn’t going to quit and let that scare me off
Consequently, when I went for 8th grade graduation at Roseau High School, I tried to walk sideways across the stage because of the big bandage. That must have been my Norwegian stubbornness showing! I started high school that fall and loved it.
Thank you, Joyce, for sharing your memories of school days at District 27S.
Thank you to (www.roseauonline.com) for letting us share our county’s history with your listeners by donating air time, studio time, and production staff every week.