|Rolfe Alumni Essay|
|Frances Chambers Measom
P.O. Box 9546; Jackson, WY 83002
Rolfe High School Class of 1946
I was born and grew up on a farm about four miles southeast of Rolfe. For eight years I attended a one-room country school. The teachers, Mabelle Ryen for grades one through four and Beatrice Munson for grades five through eight, had to bring water each day. A coal stove provided heat. At one time there were only five students in the school, and three of us were from the same family. Five were needed to keep the school open. Since my dad was the director of the school, one of my brothers started in first grade at age 4.
I attended Rolfe High School for three years. My sophomore year was spent in Ruthven, Iowa, where I lived with my grandfather who was going blind. World War II was being waged. I shopped with food rationing coupons.
I turned to a diary I kept in 1945 and 1946 for inspiration for this piece. It is one of those five-year diaries with tiny spaces for 5 years on one page. Written in pencil, handwriting atrocious, it is hard to read and not much help. Interspersed with such must-remember items as "Beat Mallard 46-42 (Feb. 13, 1945)" are more serious entries, "Notice came that Bernard Wiegert is wounded (March 15, 1945)" and "Peace rumors were circulating but they were false (April 28, 1945)," "Bob Shelgren is missing (May 6, 1945)."
Following my junior year in high school, I helped the war effort by processing eggs for Swift Co. in Spencer. I dunked the eggs in oil for shipping overseas. One day I broke 55 dozen eggs. Somehow I didn't get fired.
Rolfe High School was preparing for its Junior-Senior banquet when President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. My diary reflects the sadness of the country.
A popular restaurant near here, The Mangy Moose, decorated with antiques, has a contraption that I always ask people to identify. No one can. It's a cream separator! Often my least favorite chore as a child was to wash the separator with its multitude of disks.
The author, James Eggert, says in one of his books, "If you're lucky, you can still hear the song of the meadowlark."
I grew up with the song of the meadowlark. When I moved to Wyoming I was thrilled to hear meadowlarks in the field behind my house. In the same field I have seen elk, coyotes, moose, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, great blue herons, hawks, and bald eagles. I am lucky.