MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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St. Mary's School

by Desmonia Gurney Harris

It was about 1922 or 1923 that my brother Waldon and my sister Adele started to go to the country school St. Mary's. The school got its name from the St. Mary's River, which was two miles west of the school. We went by buggy (one horse). The school was one mile west and two miles north from our home.

The school was just one large room with two cloak rooms on the north, one for the girls and one for the boys. Each cloak room had shelves in which we could put our lunch pails. We had to leave our boots and rubbers in the entrance way. In the entrance was a stand with a tin basin where we could wash our hands in cold water.

The smaller desks were on the east side and they were for grades 1 and 2. The the desks got larger until they accommodated all grades 2 - 8.

I recall the big black furnace in the corner of the room. It was started by the teacher in the morning and it never got the room warm until noon. There was no well at the school and so it was up to the Gurney kids to bring 2 big jugs of water to school each day.

The teachers I had were Mr. Pharis, the next year a sweet young teacher just out of normal by the name of Thelma West. She was very kind to us, but the big rough boys made life very unpleasant for her. She finished her year and then left. My next teacher was Dallis Minion. He stayed for years and he never let the boys get away with anything.

Children who attended our school were: from the north Dale and Earl Shelton. Mr. Minion came from the north until he married then he walked from Hillmers, where they lived, to school. From the east came 4 Binghams, Hilma, Margaret, Minnie, and Dave. They came in a buggy with 2 horses. Opal Hillmer walked when she didn't get a ride with the Binghams. Peterson's, Agnes, Gladys and Jack rode 2 horses.

From the south came the Gurney kids, Desmonia, Walden and Adele in a buggy with one horse. Then came the Bone kids, Eldo, Dean and Beth from the south. Jay, Ted, Elaine Christensen, and Deloris Jenson came from the west.

The buggy horses were unharnessed and turned into the school pasture. Also the saddles were removed and their horses were turned into the pasture. Then at night we had to catch our horses, harness and saddle them so we could go home. Can you picture in your mind all the students coming from all four corners to school and almost all the time we would arrive at the same time and leave to go home at the same time.

We always had 19 - 22 students at school. We had no playground equipment at all so we just played ball all the time.

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Mary Tollestrup