Chapter Two

My Adolescent and Early School Years

About my early school years

When I was 6 years old I went to Grade School in Lyndon, Kansas. Since we lived out in the country, I rode the bus with my older sister and brother. I remember there were about 30 children in my class, and some of my teacher’s names throughout school in Lyndon were Mrs. Beatty, Mrs. Whaley, Mrs. York, Mrs. Hays, and Mr. Christensen. My favorite subject was English and Reading. I hated geography, and loved playing “Annie Annie Over” at recess. The game is played much like volley ball and the net is the roof of a small building.

What I enjoyed the most (and least) about school

In 7thgrade I remember listening to the “Beattles” on transistor radios, while playing outside during recess. I remember the fall-out drills and the “Shelter” signs where we went single file into the basement, or sat covering our heads under our desks. We were told our country could be attacked and that would protect us from flying glass. I also remember one day being told I had to eat the liver at lunch and then vomiting on the steps going back to the classroom. After that, the teacher never made me eat another thing. We had holiday programs and I sang in the Choraliers when I got older. I played with my sisters on a softball team coached by my dad…. that was horrible as he made us work harder than the other girls. I also remember making it to the finals several years in the spelling bees and sitting on the wooden chairs in the gymnasium that were in a cove used for the teams during basketball games. I was pretty “smart”, and popular, probably because there were only 7 girls in my class and 23 boys during my grade school years.
On the weekends when we were old enough, we went to Saturday school at church and learned from the “Catechism” and then we were confirmed when we were in 8thgrade. I was raised in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. My Grandpa Laue was one of the founding members and when it started the language used was “German”.

Childhood illness

When I was a youngster, I had the mumps, the measles, and a broken arm from falling on a crack in the sidewalk in front of the church in Vassar. It broke both the bones in my left arm, and I remember Dr. Stout in Lyndon setting it in his office. I had a cast up to my elbow that I had to wear for 6 weeks. I was probably 9 or 10 years old. When we were sick and stayed home from school, mom would let us watch soap operas and she would make us Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, and of course, if we were nauseated, crackers and 7-up.

After school

When I came home from school we had chores to do. We had to gather eggs in the hen house and then go down to the barn and feed the calves. After they were born, we would help them learn how to drink milk out of a bucket by having them suck our hand and then guide their mouth into the bucket. Sometimes I had friends stay overnight or I would stay at a friend’s house. We played lots of games—hide and seek, Monopoly, tag, Life, dress-up and in the barns, we dressed the kittens up in doll clothes and acted as they were our babies. My best friends were Terry Jones, Cheryl Clayton, and Marla Pruitt. My first boyfriend was Tom Gurss in sixth grade and then Galen Pruitt when I was 13 and in 7thgrade.

Early summer vacations

During the summers of my younger childhood I remember going on a few vacations with my family, especially the one time when we went to Colorado and left in the night so it would be cooler while driving. This was before cars had air-conditioning. We went to the mountains and saw coal mines and we even visited the North Pole and saw Santa and the reindeer. We stayed in Boulder, and the swimming pool there at the motel was heated! In the car one day, my sister DeAnn and John were arguing and she accidentally poked him in the eye with a scissors.

Other times during the summers we had family come and visit…our cousins, aunts and uncles from California and Alabama. We had a horse named Nelly and our parents would make us let our cousins ride her. We wanted to ride her when they were there but were told we could ride her when they were gone. This didn’t seem fair, somehow. But, the really good memory is when my dad and mom made homemade ice cream, from the fresh eggs, fresh cream and sometimes even fresh fruit. We had a pear tree, peach trees, apple trees, cherry trees, and a big strawberry patch in Grandpa Laue’s garden. Back to the ice cream—my dad would buy a block of ice from Priebe’s (the grocery feed store in Vassar) and break it on the sidewalk in a gunny sack with a sledge hammer. We’d all take turns turning the crank and when it was done—you couldn’t turn the handle any more because it was frozen—we would get to lick the can. My favorite was Brown Bread (vanilla with Grape Nuts).
We also had a big garden and we had to hoe and weed it. When the potatoes were ready dad would take the tractor and plow them turning the dirt in the row over exposing the white potatoes. We would pick up the potatoes in buckets. Then we’d take them to the basement where dad had built a 8’X10’ square lumber frame out of 2X12’s and we’d put the potatoes on the cool floor and they’d last all winter. Along the walls where the potatoes were, there were shelves lined with jars and jars of canned food—green beans, tomatoes, corn, pickles, peas, and carrots.

A couple of summers before my mom died, she took her four daughters on a trip to California on the train to see her Dad and sisters, Betty, Geraldine, and Helen. John stayed home to help Dad. It was the first time I saw the ocean. And, I got to meet and see so many relatives I didn’t know. We got to see so many sights we’d never seen, the mountains, the dessert, big cities, freeways and palm trees. It was a trip so wonderful; because it wasn’t long after that that she became sick.

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