A LOOK Back FROM THE FILES OF THE STANLEY REPUBLICAN COMPILED BY JOSEPH BACK
10 Years Ago December 22, 2011
Looking Back 50 Years A Country School’s last Christmas.
By Al Brown – Tracks and Trails Columnist Many of my fondest memories occurred half a century ago while attending the Brownville country grade school north of Stanley.
Each year after returning from Thanksgiving vacation, the teacher and students would begin preparation for one of the community’s most popular events, the annual school Christmas program. Preparation began with the teacher assigning scripts for students to learn and recite for their respective skits along with copies of Christmas songs the group was expected to learn and rehearse. Throughout the month of December, students were occasionally given a few minutes before the close of the school day to practice skits or songs in front of the student body in preparation for Christmas program performances.
Upperclassmen were usually responsible for obtaining and trimming the school’s Christmas tree. More creative students made decorations to be placed on the tree. A makeshift stage was placed at the front of the classroom created by use of sawhorses with boards placed across them. A wire was strung across the front and back of the stage with bed sheets modified for attachment as curtains.
The Christmas program was held the evening of the last day of school before Christmas vacation. A final two days of school before vacation were mostly devoted toward practicing for the program. Country schools weren’t exempt from supervision. Schools were occasionally visited by a County Superintendent. A lady by the name of Anna Thorpe served as the Chippewa County School Superintendent. I have recollections of her being old, stern, and very authoritative as she would open the classroom door and walk in unannounced in near miliary fashion.
In 1961 Roy Mitchell was the teacher at the Brownville Country School. I still visualize it as if it were yesterday. Superintendent Thorpe walked through the door unannounced a couple days before the Christmas program. The stage was set and the classroom was somewhat disorganized. I overheard the superintendent ask Mr. Mitchell if he felt spending so much time organizing a Christmas program was more benefi cial to a student’s education than time spent on classroom preparation and study. “Well,” Mitchell replied in a low tone of voice, “I’ll tell you what, I feel students do get some personal educational value through participation in a Christmas program, however most importantly, I feel the parents and the Brownville community expect and deserve a school Christmas program. I guess if I can’t put together a Christmas program for these people, then I probably don’t belong here.” Practice for the program continued as planned.
AS the evenings Christmas program drew near, students gathered in the coat room behind the stage awaiting the nervous moment for their appearance before the crowded audience. Some had sweaty palms while others had but- terflies in their stomach. The greatest fear was setting foot onstage and forgetting lines for their skit. The inevitable usually happened to someone, however, the attentive audience appeared to never take notice. I recall Mr. Mitchell standing off to the side of the stage behind the curtain whispering lines to those suffering stage fright.
After a two-hour program, the entire student body would close out the event entertaining the audience with Christ- mas carols. The final song for the evening was usually the singing of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” to which Santa Clause would burst on the scene with a bag full of treats to hand out to everyone.
The area around the school’s Christmas tree was adorned with gifts, majority of which came from the drawing of names exchanged between members of the student body. Santa Clause, with the aid of the teacher, distributed gifts from under the tree. All youngsters in attendance received a bag of candy and nuts, a gift provided by the teacher and the school’s Mother’s Club. A number of generous students placed gifts under the tree for their teacher.
Unlike today, life in the old country school was less complicated. We sang Christmas songs in honor of the birth of the Christ child and no one protested; we put up a Christmas tree, not a Holiday tree; and we put on a Christmas program…not a Holiday program!
By many measures 50 years is not a long time, however, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since I was a fourth grader participating in the 1961 Brownville Country School Christmas program. None of us kids realized it was to be our last country school Christmas program. Had we known, it would not have been a joyous occasion. Many parents were skeptical that school consolidation would be right around the corner. Consolidation meant that the country schools would close and students would be bused and forced to attend public school in Stanley.
At the start of the 1962 school year, consolidation became a reality. Many people of the generation before me felt school consolidation and the closing of country schools was the end of an era that changed our rural communities. Without country school Christmas programs, annual school picnics, and Mother’s Club events, a nucleus of neighbors lost an avenue by which to mingle and bond with one another. To many of us, youngsters at the time, passing by that old empty schoolhouse created a feeling of sentiment as that of losing an old friend.
20 Years Ago December 27, 2001 Brad Hakes receives American FFA Degree at the 74th National FFA Convention held in Louisville, Ky. Oct. 24-27.
Charity Smith Named Marketing Class Outstanding Student at CVTC Graduation Candidates for 2002 April Election have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to file candidaty papers.
Child Immunization clinic by County Health at S-B School Complex on January 8.
Mike Klick presented Eagle Scout plaque by Representative Larry Balow.
UW-EC commencement sees Justin Arnold, Gabrielle Gilbertson and Danielle Kroeplin among graduates.
Due to the ‘unusual weather,’ the Otter Lake Ice Fishing Contest is pushed back a week for 2001.
30 Years Ago December 19, 1991
Bad Weather Delays Delivery Of The Republican The storm last Thursday, which cancelled area schools, also led to cancellation of mail service for the day, including delivery of the Stanley Republican, for many postal patrons.
Mail delivery on most of Routes 1 and 3, part of Route 2, and some routes in the City of Stanley was curtailed when the weather conditions turned dangerous.
Mail service resumed Friday when the storm abated.
40 Years Ago December 17, 1981 Stanley Woman Mugged Early Wednesday Morning A Stanley woman was injured during a mugging in the alleyway between Barber and Broadway Sts. Wednesday morning, Dec. 9.
Anna Yeager…was walking north in the alleyway near the Coast-to-Coast store at about 8:55 a.m., when she was assaulted by an unidenti- fied assailant.
The suspect took her purse which contained a small amount of cash and her personal belongings. She required medical attention following the incident.
No one has been arrested in regards to the mugging. This is the third such incident reported to police since mid-October. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stanley Police Department.
50 Years Ago December 16, 1971
Weddings: Jeanette Gruba to James Winkler on November 27th at Holy Family, South Mary Jane Rygiel to Larry Bruhn on December 4th at St. Mary’s Czestochowa Obituary: Robert Smith of Thorp, age 41, with service and burial at Saint Bernards.
Sunset Homes News (Mrs. Orpha Hull) Word received that Clara Western was slowly recovering from a fall.
Our Stanley Retired Citizens Club will meet on Thursday, Dec. 16. Do come.
As to our hospitalized people, there is little change in Mr. Schesel’s condition and Mr. Ed Biddle is about the same. We are all concerned about Mrs. Isenberger’s death.
First Holy Communion at Holy Family: John Simon, Pauline Klatt, Donald Sorenson, Tamara Schuebel, Tonya Poescel, David Okerglicki, Cheryl Posda, David Sonnentag, Kim Swope, Brian Smasal, Steven Stangl, Mary Simon, Michael Cox, Brenda Eichelt, Dianne Gustafson, Joseph Derks, Maribeth Straskowski, Duane mateski, Adults present: Father Joseph Marx and Sister Ronalda.
The Dorcas Guild of the United Methodist Church holds holiday meeting at home of Mrs. William Thorpe, on Otter Lake.
60 Years Ago December 21, 1961 Average Cost For UW Men is $1463 Year MADISON, WI – The average school year cost of attending the University of Wisconsin for a single man who is a resident of the state and who lives away from home is $1,463, according to a new UW Survey. The cost for Wisconsin women is $1,530.
Room and board is the biggest expense. Women on the average spend more for room and board and clothing than men, while men spend more than women for recreation and entertainment. Books cost everyone about $80 to $90.
In the 10 years from 195051 to 1960-61, room and board for Wisconsin men went up 19.5 per cent from $610 to $729. The increase for resident women was 26.4 percent, from $640 to $809. Fees climbed 83.3 percent in the same period, from $1230 to $220, they Toal $236 for 1961-1962.
Costs are higher for non-residents. Non-resident men spent $2,142 while attending the University while non-resident women spent $2,409. Fees and tuition for non—residents were $600 in 1960-61, now are $775.
The average amount of assistance of students receiving financial help from their fam ilies is: resident men: $665; resident women, $1,099; non-resident men, $1,482; and non-resident women, $2,031.
Seventy-seven percent of the Wisconsin men and 7-0 percent of the Wisconsin women were employed during the summer. Nearly half of the students from the state work during the school year.
Parents of more than 35 percent of the resident men earned less than $6,000 during 1960, as compared with 22 percent of the parents of resident female undergraduates, 11 percent of the parents of non-resident men, and 4 percent of the parents of non-resident women.
70 Years Ago December 20, 1951 City Hall Topped By Lighted Tree For the first time in many a year, the city hall is graced this Christmas season by a tall, lighted Christmas tree atop its massive tower.
The tree was mounted last week and blue lights on it make the tree outstanding even from the distance. Hank Higholt, Street Commissioner, had charge of putting up the tree—a custom once enjoyed regularly some years ago.
The community Christmas tree in Soo Park is decorated, too, and it provides its usual cheery atmosphere to the corner where it stands.
‘O’ Holy Night’ greeting on front page Signed “Mrs. Bridgman, Mary, Walt, Hank, Yvonne, Terry and Gail” December 13, 1951
Walter Brovald talks results: The week after I mentioned in this column that Stanley’s city council did not work behind locked doors, and that the public was welcome to attend council meetings, Bernard Melman decided to drop in at a meeting. Only—you guessed it—the door was locked. It was inadvertent. Melman was admitted and the night lock latch pulled back to prevent further embarrassment. Then, of course, no one else showed up.
80 Years Ago December 26, 1941 Application for a marriage license has ben made by Daniel Brown of Stanley and Edith Yonk, Cornell.
“Green Christmas” Comes To Stanley Country For the information of former Stanley residents who read The Republican, we have to record that at this writing, the 23rd of December, there is no snow in the Stanley Country and that a light warm rain is falling. The temperature has been above freezing most of the time this autumn to date, with only a light fall of snow, which has disappeared. We believe this is the first time we have been able to record such conditions at this date during nearly a half century. Only twice this fall have the thermometers recorded a sub-zero temperature.
Elsewhere: The girls at Mt. Holyoke College have gone on a strike against army etiquette, which permits an officer or man of higher rank to “cut in” on the partner of a private at the dancing parties.
The censors in the British war department have to read all the letters which the soldiers received from their sweethearts. They have issued an order that kisses must not be sent in a row. If the girl lines up a lot of kisses at the bottom of the letter the offi cers have the right to decide that some sort of secret code is being used and the letter is destroyed. If you want to send kisses to your soldier friend you must scatter them around through the letter.
90 Years Ago December 18, 1931 FAIRCHILD COMING TO PLAY BASKETBALL Fairchild high school will meet the Stanley high on the Auditorium court next Tuesday evening, December 22. The game begins at 7:30. The visitors are big fellows, mostly of last year’s team and have already defeated Neillsville and lost of Black River Falls by one point. The local team has some new but promising men and the fans will all be out to boost for them next Tuesday. The public is urged to patronize the school games.
100 Years Ago December 23, 1921 PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT HANNIBAL DEDICATED Rev. Geo. E. Griffiths of This City Preaches Dedicatory Sermon On Sunday.
The Hannibal Presbyterian Church was dedicated Sunday morning by Rev. Geo. E. Griffiths of the First Pres byterian church of this city (then across from the library at the southeast corner of Fourth and Emery). The services were in charge of Rev. C. E. Franz, the local pastor, Rev. Griffith's sermon was an inspiration to all who heard it and helped the people of that community to a high appreciation of the blessing which they enjoy in the new institution of the church. The building was erected several years ago but was not completed until recently.
Many new families have settled in Hannibal in recent months, many of them people of culture and refinement who have been active in bringing about the completion of the church and perfecting the organization.
The dedication festivities were begun Saturday evening when the ladies of the church served a fellowship supper of which fully a hundred partook. This was followed by a song service, a program of speaking, storytelling, reminiscence and sociability. Addresses were made by the visiting clergymen.
In addition to the dedicatory sermon Sunday morning by Rev. Griffiths, Rev. E. Iverson of Chippewa Falls preached at an afternoon service and Rev. W. A. Hume of Gilman preached at the evening service which was concluded with the communion service.
Excellent music was furnished by the choir under the leadership of Dr. Spaulding.
Many people were present from Donald, Jump River, and Gilman.
110 Years Ago December 16, 1911 STANLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY Citizens of Stanley Evince Their Pride in the Institution Which Has Given Distinction to the City and Opportunities to Its People INVITED GUESTS FROM ABROAD Reception, Program and Banquet Yesterday Afternoon and Evening Was Carried Out Without a Hitch. Address by Hon. M. S. Dudgeon.
The Stanley Public Library was a gift to the people by Mrs. Sallie F. Moon of Eau Claire. She chose this form of building a memorial to her late husband, Delos R. Moon, and chose Stanley as the place because there were centered all the great interests which were the result of his life of achievements. Also because there resided in large numbers those who had been associated with him in the great industry which was the conception of Stanley and who could appreciate his worth as a man. The library was fully equipped with books and dedicated to the free use of the people on December 17, 1901….owing to the fact that the tenth anniversary of the date fel on Sunday the observance was held on the 15th and the program as announced heretofore and as published herewith was carried out. Since the events above referred to, the generous donor, Mrs. Sallie F. Mooon, has departed this life. She died on March 9, 1909 and her death was the occasion of real sorrow in this community where she was highly esteemed by many personal friends who had enjoyed her friendship for many years. Her death, her life and character were the occasion of a few remarks by the president of the library board on Friday evening’s program and her absence from the festivities caused a spirit of sadness to pervade.
According to previous announcement the program of Friday commemorating the tenth anniversary of the dedication fo the library was carried out. The guests from abroad included Mr. and Mrs. S. G. (Sumner Gilbert) Moon, Mr. and Mrs. D. R. (Delos Rensselaer) Moon, Mr. and Mrs. C. D. (Chester Delos) Moon, of Eau Claire and Hon. M. S. Dudgeon of Madison.
PROGRAM Song, “The Shell” Fores-man… Fifth Grade Pupils Children’s Reading…Mrs. B. J. Rothnem Reading from Child Lyrics Japanese Lullabye Dancing School Clouds a floatin Miss Ryan Educational Value of Pictures… Mrs. Miles Alderson Song “Light as Air” Faust…Fifth Grade Pupils Coffee—Domestic Science Class Following the program at the Library a banquet was served in the Presbyterian Church Parlors (now Heritage Baptist).
Dr. E. F. Burns presided as Toastmaster in a characteristic manner that left no doubt in any one’s mind that he was the right man for the place.
Elsewhere: DUNN COUNTY ESTATE TAXES The sum of $32,677.97 has been paid into the county treasury of Dunn county as the inheritance tax on the estate of the late James H. Stout of Menomonie. Of this $30,202.64 has been forwarded to eh state treasurer and $2,450.64 is retained by the county.
CLARK COUNTY GINSENG THIEVES: …Dr. Burns advises us that hereafter it will be the policy of his association (Wisconsin Ginseng Growers) to secure convictions and a penitentiary sentence for all ginseng thieves and that there will be no more compromises with thieves (two such thieves sent to Waupun).
120 Years Ago December 28, 1901 DANGEROUS AGAIN.
The dread disease small pos is against threatening this locality. Great danger of an epidemic.
Many cases in the Town of Edson. A criminal disregard of the health laws is one of the features.
For several weeks past there have been reports of smallpox cases in different parts of the Town of Edson but as usual, the people have paid little attention to it till danger became imminent. But finally certain reputable citizens of the town seeing their homes threatened by the dread destroyer, wrote to the State Health Board for Assistance. The Board directed its agent, Dr. G. O. Switzer to make an investigation and report and it is probably that summary measures will be adopted henceforth to enforce the law. It appears that little attention has been paid the law thus far. Cases are known where the disease has been in a family for two weeks without being quarantined, in fact several such cases are reported. ning…A word to the wise ought to be sufficient.