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(Part 1)

The following are personal remembrances of persons who were associated with the schools.


One of Elvera Harris Larson's favorite memories of Spicer is her recollection of organizing a Girl Scout Troop that consisted of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Her troop was the first to use the newly-acquired Girl Scout Camp. The group arrived at the camp after school on a Friday, only to find that the fireplace did not work properly. The room was filled with smoke, and there was nothing to do about it.

After suffering two nights, the Girl Scout troop walked to Spicer on Sunday morning to attend services at a local church. Elvera distinctly recalls that the entire group smelled like smoked fish.


Eleanore Monson Pederson recalls that during World War 11 teachers distributed ration books to families in Spicer. Ration stamps were needed to purchase sugar, meat, coffee, tires, and gasoline-all of which were in short supply. She also noted that defense stamps at 100 a stamp were sold weekly in school to students. Red Cross classes in First Aid were conducted in school during these years. These were taught by Mrs. V. S. Dahle of New London.

Eleanore had a large class. Out of the 90 students enrolled in the Spicer school, she had 45 pupils in grades 3, 4, and 5. She maintained that every new family moving to town had a child enrolling in her room. Fortunately for Eleanore, Helen Hovde, the 1st and 2nd grade teacher, took half of the 3rd grade students the following year.


When asked for a humorous incident to relate, Fairy Knudsen replied, "1st grade was always funny!" She did, however, recall that when one student asked permission to sharpen her pencil, Mrs. Knudsen replied, "You surely may!" The puzzled student responded, "I not Shirley Mae. Me Rhonda!"

Another student requested permission to go to the lavatory. "Yes, you may," said Mrs. Knudsen, "but don't go too fast!"

"But, Mrs. Knudsen," reported the pupil, "I can't help how fast I go!"


Earl Fricke tells about riding his bicycle from the farm home south of Spicer, maybe 2-1/2 miles, to the two-year high school in Spicer in 1923. He would stop at Albert Pederson's, and together they came on to school. When winter came he could no longer travel with his bike so his high school education ended. He said, however, he surely enjoyed the short term. His teacher was Pearl Andrews; her home was in St. Cloud.

Then in 1924 Professor Everett was teacher. It seems that they did not take their studies very seriously. They had singing, volleyball, square dancing, music lessons-just fun things. After that year-no high school. Some students went to Willmar High School and some to New London. There was no bus service, so those who could would drive, but others stayed in town. Transportation was not easy as it is today.


Pearl Pederson remembers the school building where she started first grade. She says that it was located south of the old

Sharon and Zion Lutheran Churches or where Faith Lutheran Church now stands. She says: "The playground reached to the railroad tracks as the highway wasn't there at that time. The first four grades were on the first floor, and the four upper grades were upstairs. There was no hot lunch program so each child brought his own. I started school in 1st grade, and when I was in 6th grade, we moved into the new building in the west part of town."


Lester "Swen" Rime remembers that he was moved back to 1st grade from 2nd when he moved from Sunburg because he spoke mostly Norwegian!


Jeff Henderson remembers the yearly school picnic. Instead of going to the park, the entire school trooped to the sewer plant to have their lunch!

Jeff recalls that when he was in 3rd grade, Pearl Pederson conducted a rhythm band that performed at various functions. For one such occasion, Pearl had made blue hats with tassels for the rhythm band members to wear. Disaster struck! The phonograph record that served as accompaniment was accidentally broken! Miraculously, Miss Pederson was able to procure another record, thus saving the day.