Thursday, June 09, 2016

TBT: Selle Ladies, et. al.

There's a gathering today at Oden Grange Hall.  Its purpose: to bring together members of the various home extension/demonstration clubs within the area for a luncheon. 

Many of these clubs date back to the early Twentieth Century, having evolved from agricultural extension efforts to teach skills to farmers and homemakers to carry out their individual responsibilities on the family farms.

In addition, the groups turned into social and charitable organizations. I'd hate to even begin trying to name all the extension groups in this area, but for certain I do know about the Selle Club, the Oden Busy Bees, Triangle United, Mountain View, etc. 

As a child living on our North Boyer farm, I remember rather vividly the Mountain View Extension Clubhouse, which at the time, was located over on Great Northern Road.  Many of our 4-H meetings and achievement nights were held there. 

That was probably because our home ec leader Lucille Hudon was a member of the extension club, which focused on home-making education for adult women.

When we moved to Selle ten years ago, I joined the Selle Club (active since 1938)  but have to admit my attendance at the regular meetings hasn't been the best over the past few years.  Still, they never give up on me, reminding me and always encouraging me to come when I can. 

From my experience with this group, I know that they continue to focus on educational, social and charitable activities. 

I'll be taking my camera today and will do my usual flitting about, talking with women and snapping photos as they enjoy their luncheon. 

Later, I'll drive from Oden Hall to another educational pursuit right here in Selle.  The Selle Valley Carden School is holding its poetry recital contest.  As one of the judges, while observing young people recite their poems, I'll be focusing on their general delivery, including poise, eye contact, facial and vocal expression.  

I'm thinking both of these activities are gonna be a real treat----lots of local history and longtime camaraderie at one event and a wonderful opportunity to witness firsthand the future via these students and their creative presentations. 

Since today is another Throwback Thursday, I've included a few Selle Club photos from my collection as well as a few autobiographies written by Selle Club members who have passed on.  These were among several which I typed for computer a few years ago. 



Autobiographies from just a few of the many ladies who were active in Selle Club over the decades of its existence. 

Alice Clyde

My father homesteaded in Eastern Montana in 1912.  I was born on that homestead on Sept. 16, 1928, in the house that Dad had built.  The house is still there with nephews running the ranch.

When I was two years and four months old, my little sister was born.  I wanted to trade her for a canary.  Nonetheless, we became best friends.

During grades 1-2, I walked two miles to school.  In grades 3-12, I attended a school in town—200 people.

I spent my summer on a sheep ranch and graduated from high school at the top of a class of ten students.  I went to St. Paul Bible College where I graduated in 1952.  I also attend college in Billings, Montana, and Aberdeen, South Dakota.  My career has included teaching school, working in a bank and serving as a postmaster. 

While I was postmaster, Max and Betty Prishow stopped and gave me Ken’s name and address.  We wrote for six months.  Ken then came to see me---one nervous girl.  He came on a Thursday and by Monday I had a diamond.  We were married Nov. 9, 1957.

Keith was born Jan. 15, 1959, and Arlene was born Dec. 27, 1960.  Our grandchildren are Kendra (5) and Kevin (20).  I have retired and go south for the winter.

Ruby Day

I was born the fourth of five children on a farm in Central Idaho.  We lived on the outskirts of a town called Homedale.  I was the only blonde out of five, and I  remember we were called toe heads, not platinum blondes.  Of the five, I was the only one who didn’t look dark like my dad who was ¾ Native American.

When I was about 3, we moved across the line to Oregon.  The best part of the summer for me was when my grandparents came down from Boise to visit.  They lived in a town so they had electricity.  We just had a lamp to see by.  I remember one time when my dad brought home a column gas light.  Boy, we lived right up town among the rich, or so we kids thought.  I remember that when my grandfather would come down, he always thought it was real great because he could turn out the light and get into bed before the light went out.

When I was about 4, my dad took a job on a farm across the river from where we lived.  That was a long move,  as we had to go 19 miles down the Snake River to get to a bridge where we could cross, then 19 miles back.  I remember we moved with a truck and wagon.  About seven miles along, the wagon broke a wheel, so it fell to my mother and us three small kids to sit and guard over things.  That was a long wait, or so it seemed.  I guess it really wasn’t because we made it by dark.

When I was 5, I went to school.  We didn’t have a bus to take us, so we walked.  It was left to my big brother to watch out for us all getting to and from school.  We all went to school from 9 until 3:30 p.m.  We walked in snow that was over my head some times.  The two boys went first.  I remember one time my two brothers had a fight.  Rusty and I decided we just wouldn’t walk with the rest, so we dropped behind.  Well, my hands go real cold, but before we got to school, they didn’t hurt anymore.  The first thing the teacher did was to take me out and hold my hands under the pump while Rusty pumped water over them. When we got home that night, Mom took one look at me, got out cloth for wrapping and then poured Kerosene over both hands.  By morning, I was fine.  Needless to say, we didn’t lag behind anymore.

The school we attended was a big one-room building, divided into two rooms by large folding doors.  Four grades met in each room, with one teacher to a room.  When I graduated from the eighth grade, I was one of seven kids.  I had planned to be a teacher in Boise, but I soon found out that my dad had other plans.  A woman’s place was in the home; only males went out to work.  I, with the help of my mother, snuck away and did get one year in high school before Dad found out.  Things from then on were bad because he didn’t trust me anymore.

In 1943, I found a way out.  My mother’s sister came from California for a visit.  Their only child was grown and on her own, so they asked my oldest sister and me to go back with them for a visit.  I jumped at the chance, but I was told I couldn’t go unless Ellen went.  I talked her into going.  Later, I got a job at Fort Ord, California.  In 1944 I met my husband who was in the Army and had come home after 4 ½ years to see his folks who were friends of my aunt’s.

We met on a Wednesday, and he asked me to go to the Board Walk in Santa Cruz with him.  We saw each other all that week.  We went again to the Board Walk.  There, he asked me to be his lifelong wife.  I said, “Yes.” We were married in the post chapel at Fort Ord.  Three days later, he had to leave me and go back to camp.   On Dec. 23, I went to be with him.  Well, the Army had other plans; they sent him to Texas on 60-day field duty, so I stayed in Little Rock, Arkansas, until March.   We got out of the Army in June of 1945,  moved back to Watsonville and settled in.  Our son was born in September.  We wanted a big family, as my husband was an only child.  It took us eleven years and a lot of heartache to get our daughter, but we didn’t give up.

 In June of ’76 we were told that Howard had cancer.  In July of ’77, we lost him.  Things didn’t get better.  It got worse for me, so my children and I decided together that I would sell both of my homes and go away.  My son and I decided to go ahead and do what we all had talked about, and that was to see if we could find a small ranch somewhere in Idaho.  I didn’t care where it was as long as it wasn’t in Southern or Central Idaho.

We got in touch with an agency in Sandpoint and found what we wanted.  It was a 60-acre ranch off Gold Creek.  We found out later that it was a small part of the ranch formerly owned by Bob and Bernice Wood.  We sold the ranch in October of ’92.  We now live in Kootenai.  My son Chuck is now Lt. Day, supervisor of the Bonner County Jail.   My daughter Carol still lives in Watsonville where she works as part-time office help and customer person for United Parcel Service.  I have four grandkids---two boys and two girls.  I also have two great-grandsons.  In my spare time I work as a nanny in California.  I am proud of them all. 

That’s it . . . The End---written July, 1993

Bernice Sphar Wood

I was born Bernice Ilene to Artie and Mae Sphar, Dec. 18, 1924, in my grandparents’ home near Cambridge, Kansas.  I have two sisters and two brothers who all live in Washington State except for my brother Dale who lives in California.

My dad farmed in Kansas until 1934 when the doctors suggested they try a different climate for my brother’s asthmatic condition.   They came to North Idaho and spent a year in the Gold Creek area.  This was the year that the Gold Creek School was built.  My sisters and I were among the first students to attend the opening day on Dec. 10, 1934.  

We lived in the canyon at the bottom of the Gold Creek hill, so our dad would take a kerosene lantern and break a trail through the snow for us to follow up the hill to Klaus Keener’s.  Klaus took us with his daughter the rest of the way to school in a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon.

We moved back to Kansas in 1935 and lived there until I graduated from the eighth grade in 1938.  My dad sorta had an itchy foot, so we moved a lot from one farm to another.  That meant we were attending a lot of different rural schools, and it seemed I almost ended up being in a grade by myself.

We moved to Washington State in 1938, spending the next two summers following the fruit harvest with everyone who was old enough working.  The average wage was $2.50 per day.  We lived in tents during this time, and all of our possessions were hauled about in a small two-wheeled trailer towed by a 1930s touring car.  The most treasured items were a gasoline-powered Maytag washing machine and a Singer treadle sewing machine.

I attended the Sunnyside, Washington, high school for 1 ½ years before we moved back to Gold Creek in 1939.  My parents obtained a loan from the Farmer’s Home Administration to purchase a 240-acre farm.  What that, they were able to make a living by milking cows and selling eggs.  A huge garden always yielded many quarts of canned food.  Other vegetables were stored in the root cellar for the winter.  The beef that was butchered was kept in a frozen locker at Sandpoint Ice and Fuel.  Electricity came into that area in 1948.

I stayed in Sandpoint to finish my high school education, working for my board and room until my younger sister was old enough to start high school.  Then, we “batched” in a small apartment.  After high school I helped on the family farm and completed a bookkeeping course by correspondence.  These were the “courting” days.  The young people of the neighborhood would gather at the school houses for dancing to records.  Our main hangout was the Grouse Creek School.  I can remember going with Bob in a horse-drawn wagon during the muddy season.  On special occasions, the old-time musicians would get together to play for dancing at the Gold Creek School, and the whole family would attend.

Bob’s family were our neighbors, and we went together for about two years.   We were married Dec. 27, 1944.  The next February he left for the Army, while I moved to Sandpoint to work as a clerk for Larson’s and Decker’s 5 and 10-cent Store.   When he returned home in 1947, we purchased our first ranch on Gold Creek and began the cattle and hay operation.  This was with help from the FHA.  During the 30 years we lived in that area, we accumulated 2,200 acres, which was mostly timbered land.

We had two sons, Delbert and Herbert “Bert.”  Delbert married Karen Lundblad from Dover and moved to Oregon, where he lived until his death in 1977.

Bob and I have been active in the Bonner County Cattlemen and Cowbelles Associations and have always helped out at the Bonner County Fair.    We were both 4-H leaders when our sons were members.  We drove a 4-wheel drive bus from Gold Creek to Northside School for 15 years.  We were also involved with the Sandpoint Livestock Auction as clerks for 20 years on the weekly sale day.

We sold our holdings on Gold Creek and moved to our present location in the Oden area in 1973.  Bert has always been active in the business, and without him, and his family, we would not be able to continue with the cattle and hay business as we are today. 

Bernice Wood
6825 Hickey Road
Sandpoint, Idaho

October 26, 1993

Alta Plato Meserve

I, Alta Plato Meserve,  was born March 14, 1896, in Anthon, Iowa---of which I don’t remember much.  Dad came to Bonners Ferry in the spring of 1900 and homesteaded 160 acres of land north of Bonners Ferry.  Mom, with her seven children, came in the fall of 1900 on a railroad stock car.  We brought cows, horses and a dog.  Many men wanted to ride in the car ( a free trip to the new land that was opened up for homesteading). 

Dad had a surveying outfit, which he used to survey and locate many places north of Bonners Ferry.  A nephew in Bonners Ferry has the outfit, and it is considered a very valuable antique.

I started school when I was seven years old in the North Side School that still stands there.  I went to town to high school and graduated in 1915.    In 1988 at the all-class reunion, I was the oldest graduate there.  After high school, I went to Lewiston Normal School for a year and got a five-year certificate to teach any or all grades, which I did.

I married Carl. R. Meserve in 1919 after five years engagement and moved into the Selle district.   For the next 40 some years, I taught school and helped raise three fine boys.

Teaching 40 years ago was different from teaching today.  I had as high as 40 pupils, without a teacher’s aide.  I rode the Spokane International train weekends, paid $3 a week board and room to earn $65 a month.  When I got my first car after inheriting $1,000 from my grandfather, I felt rich, and it was certainly a wonderful help in my teaching.  The roads were almost impassable, and one morning they told me the best way to go was right down the middle of the road.  I tried but sank down deep.  I got out of the car, left the keys and told a neighbor I had to go on to school, as I was the janitor and the children needed me.

Another time, they told me my road was drifted full, but when I saw another car going, I followed, drove across a ditch into a man’s field, around the drifts and went merrily on my way.   When I taught at Bronx (a fire station now), I rode horseback.  I also rode horseback when I taught at Selle.

I was one of nine children, and we all worked.  We raised vegetables, washed and bunched them and sent  them to Sandpoint to the Humbird Lumber Co. mill store.  We also raised strawberries, 100 crates to a pickin’s, little wooden boxes to the crate.  We got $5 for the first crate, the latter part of June, but by the Fourth of July, they were down to $1 a crate.

One summer when I was 13 years old, Mother took a younger brother to a stammering school in the East and left me to take over some of her work.  I churned butter and made it into one-pound pots to supply the hospital.  I also had to supply them with buttermilk, and I mean REAL buttermilk, not the cultured kind you buy today.

All in all, it has been a good 95 years, and my club associations have been a good part of it.

Wilma Erickson
Written July 15, 1991

I was born Sept. 6, 1913,  in Independence, Kansas.  I attended school in Wrencoe, Idaho, Peru, Kansas, Sandpoint (high school), and Lewiston (Normal).  I have lived in Independence, Wrencoe, Coeur d’Alene, Peru, Sandpoint and on the East Coast for two years during World War II.

I married Severt Erickson, June 30, 1945, and we adopted our son, Edward Eric Erickson, born Aug. 21, 1952.

My father was a freight clerk for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Independence, Kansas.  He obtained railroad passes to Aberdeen, Washington, for us and his parents to visit his youngest sister.  On our way home, my grandmother became ill, so we got off the train in Sandpoint where she was treated by Dr. McKinnon, father of Malcolm McKinnon, dentist.

While in Sandpoint, my folks read real estate ads and later bought a 160-acre “stump” ranch at Wrencoe from Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Chronic.  In April, 1918, my mother, brother and I joined my grandfather at Wrencoe.

Due to World War I, my father couldn’t get released from his railroad job until September when he came to Idaho in a freight car with our furniture, cow and chickens.  On July 19, 1919, our home was destroyed by a forest fire.  My father started work as a freight clerk in Coeur d’Alene where my brother and I entered the first grade.  In 1921, we returned to Kansas for two years.

I taught school at Wrencoe and at the Lincoln School in Sandpoint.  I also worked in Washington, D.C. and in Newark, New Jersey, as a clerk-typist for the War Department.  Our office made out checks for soldiers’ dependents. 

We purchased the Panida News Stand, and I worked there until Edward Eric arrived.  Severt sold the News Stand and worked as an accountant and office manager until retirement.  I have been widowed for ten years.

Harriett Pauline Shadel
Written, June 1991

I’m the only child of Maude and Walter Wood, and I was born July 3, 1924 at Bridgeport, Nebraska.  I attended grades 1 through 7 at Angora Grade School in Angora, Nebraska.  The 8th grade was spent at Algoma School in Algoma, Idaho and I attended Sandpoint High School from grades 9 through 12.

I’ve lived in Angora, Algoma and the Selle area north of Sandpoint.  I married Vernon Shadel, who lived in the Selle area, in 1945, and we had five children:  Sharon, Kenneth, Michael, Ron and Mary Ann.  We still live in Selle.

We moved to Idaho to find work and because it was such a green state.  In Nebraska, it was so dry you could not grow a garden, fruit, hay or grain.

When I graduated from high school, I worked at the AAA office at the Courthouse from 1942 to 1945.  I worked at the Co-Op creamery wrapping butter for a year and also clerked at the M & J grocery store for a while.

Then I worked one day a week for a number of years at the Sandpoint Livestock Auction Sale Yard, keeping the hungry people fed.

I’ve also done demos in stores for salad dressing and meat pies.  Then, I worked part time for Taft’s Dime Store, taking care of the craft department and giving crafts classes.

I have belonged to the Selle Club since 1945 and to the Chatter Bee Club.

Now, it is fun being retired.  I enjoy my grandchildren.

Margery Pratt

My dad, mother and three brothers, Kenneth, Leigh and Allan---known as “Boy” until after he was married---drove from North Dakota to Sandpoint in November, 1920. I was born at 1402 Lake Street, Jan. 23, 1921.  Seeing as the doctor arrived an hour or so later than I did, my dad delivered me.

When I was about 2, Dad got his hand badly mangled in a machine, so Mother went back to teaching school.  On the advice of the county school superintendent, Jessie, Tuck, she taught in country schools.  They not only paid better but furnished housing.  She taught six months at Careywood and six months at the East Branch School of Priest Lake, doing this for 24 months without stopping.  I usually stayed home with Dad but occasionally went to school with Mom and the boys.

When I was about 4, Dad’s hand had healed, and he had been re-educated so he could return to his carpenter/contracting jobs. The family moved to Portland at this time.  I started school at the Wichita School on Kings Road.  That school building is still there and still being used.

In 1930, the folks decided a city wasn’t a good place to raise kids and kept thinking what a great place North Dakota was, so we moved back there.  Unfortunately, this was not only the beginning of the Depression years, but it was also the beginning of the awful drought that hit the Plains States.  It was during this time that the government bought up cattle and hogs and butchered them, burying or burning the carcasses.  One farm in our neighborhood had 125 pigs destroyed in one day.   It always seemed like a crime to do this, as in the cities, the soup kitchens couldn’t provide food for all the needy people.  In 1936, we gave up trying to battle the sand storms and no food for the cattle.  So, we sold out and came back to Sandpoint.

I graduated from Sandpoint High School in 1939 and attended the University of Idaho that fall, taking a course in medical technology.  I had to take a year off to work for money to continue school.  In June, 1945, I finished my internship at Deaconess Hospital.  That fall I took the national exam and was a registered Med. Tech., certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

After leaving Deaconess, I went to work at Wardner Hospital in Kellogg.  They had a unique set-up there.  The Bunker Hill Mining Co. owned the building, but the doctors owned the equipment.  Every man in the mining district had to have complete medical insurance for $2.50 per month, and most of them did.  I met Joe there, and we were married March 2, 1947.  We enjoyed our years in Kellogg, as between us, we knew everyone in town.

We adopted our daughter Laurel when she was two days old in September, 1948.  In February, 1951, we adopted our second child Mark.  We brought him home the day he was born.

Joe wanted a change of jobs, so when my brother Ken sent him a ticket to Alaska and asked him to work for him for a few months, he went.  When that job was finished, Joe was offered the job as office manager/expeditor for a plumbing/heating company.  We moved to Alaska for a year to see if we liked it.  We stayed nearly 20 years.

When the kids were in school, I worked part time and then full time for the Alaska Native Hospital.  Of the 500 patients, nearly 90 percent had Tuberculosis in some form or another.  When mothers came to the hospital to have babies, they often brought the kids along.  The doctors admitted the kids to the hospital and gave them a good physical and brought their shots up to date.  Babies born there from tubercular mothers were put into a clean ward and kept until the mothers were ready to go home.  Some of them were there for more than two years.  With surgery, intensive medical care and good nutrition, by 1980 only about 9 percent of the patients had TB.

We had wanted another child and had our application in for some time when one morning about 11, the phone rang, and our caseworker asked, “Can you come down and pick up your baby at 2 this afternoon?”  It was a mad scramble to get things ready, but we made it.  Gregory was one week old when we brought him home.

In 1960, during a visit to our folks in this area, we bought the place we now have.  We moved down in 1962, but as Joe kept working in Anchorage, it got to be too much having the family separated.  So, in 1966, we moved back there.  In 1970, we came back here.  Joe just worked in Alaska for six months and was here for six months.

He took early retirement in 1979, and since then, we have been contented just to stay around home most of the time, working in the yard, garden and such.  It is nice to take a short trip now and then, but we are always glad to get back home.  We hope we can just go on this way as long as we are around to do it.

Selle Grange has transformed to an events center and now to a church----for humans, of course!

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