|Rolfe Alumni Essay|
|Memories of Rural Rolfe, Iowa
Christine E. (Trimble-Behrendsen) Budd
Rolfe High School Class of 1965
Here I am, almost 35 years past my graduation from Rolfe Community High School in 1965 and trying to draw from memories and reflect on life in rural Rolfe, Iowa. In March or April 1962 the Trimble Clan moved to what was commonly known as "The Bond Place." All those GIRLS & Steve, living nine miles out of town between all those Bennetts.
I remember first visiting Rolfe High School in the spring of 1962, just before school was out for the summer, feeling very shy and like a "new kid" to sign up for Drivers Education that summer. Does anyone remember driving in Craig Hodaway's group? I think we all dreaded when it was his turn at the wheel! But we all survived.
Since older sister, Diana, was always the smart one, I opted for a more diversified path; every extra curricular activity possible, including concert band, marching band, pep band, mixed chorus, girls glee club, basketball, softball, girls' track, only keeping grades at a level to be eligible to participate. I don't think I really studied until I was a senior. Not that I couldn't do the academic part, only that I disliked being compared to my older sister and her academic accomplishments. It took until I entered college in 1973 to prove this point to myself, at which time I maintained Dean's List until graduation from University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1979. At that point my two daughters, Tami and Nicolle, were 12 and 9 respectively.
Looking back, RHS was great. Being 1st Runner up for FFA Sweetheart with Phyllis Pedersen as Sweetheart, and being part of the Homecoming Court were very special to me. I never thought anyone ever noticed except Miss Marcum. I would leave her study hall one day a week to get a new hairdo while being Joann Bennett's model at Bernels' Beauty College in Fort Dodge. Yes, the same beauty school that I attended in January 1966 in Ames, Iowa, where I eventually became an instructor while husband, Denny Behrendsen, attended Iowa State University to obtain a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This is a profession I continued until entering my second semester of college and that continues to provide for family members today.
And, you say, "How did you get from cosmetology to engineering?" Well, I was probably the only blonde 16 year-old girl out in the garage with Dad, the Master Mechanic of the neighborhood. He was always making a deal on another used "fixer upper." I was his key driver, analyzing noises and reporting back so that he could fix them. Everything from noisy lifters, wheel bearings, whining axles, rattles everywhere, the list goes on. I think he just liked his "tom boy" daughter as company in the garage. The turning point occurred in early 1973 when I began reading Automotive Industries instead of Good Housekeeping. I had so many questions for Denny, he just ignored me after awhile. I just needed to know more.
My biggest regret was in August 1979, when I was graduated from the University of Michigan. I only wished Miss Marcum could have been there to see that day or, at least, hear of it. This Great Lady told me as a Senior, when she presented me with a small demitasse cup & saucer, that she always liked me, "but maybe not some of the hairdos" that Joann gave me. I feel Miss Marcum had great confidence in my ability, even though I had not obtained that confidence myself.
I remember spending time with Mr. Maxon, assistant coach, so that I would pass the geometry test that would decide my eligibility to play basketball. I guess when you do the homework, it pays. I got a 96% on the test. Oh, by the way, my second major is Engineering Mathematics!! Amazing!!
Today, I am an Engineering Supervisor with 13 Engineers and I'm having fun working in the Test Laboratory for Visteon Chassis, an Enterprise of Ford Motor Company. I've had the opportunity to work in many areas and disciplines - Design, Development, Manufacturing and Research - since 1976.
Back to Rolfe! I remember hanging out with the Bennetts, Joann and Susan mostly, in the old green Plymouth or the 1949 Ford that Dad bought for $50 and after I drove it to death, he sold it to Dave Bennett for parts for $50.
Remember when everyone went to town on Saturday night for 25 cent shows and the teen dances or just to drive from Sunnybrook to the Loss family's Dairy Queen and back, up to 100 miles per night. Dad was checking, and the barber knew our cars. Or, the occasional trip to the Poky Drive Inn or seeing just how fast you could go? Dad kept those cars running pretty good.
It seemed I was always grounded - mostly for pushing the curfew limits. Must have been pretty hard for Dad & Mom to corral all those girls.
I have never attended a class reunion for the Class of '65 but probably should have. I guess I felt I never fit in with the kids that had gone to school all their lives together. Just seems as though I've always been too busy with kids, school, traveling for work, grandkids or something like that to get back for a reunion. However, I have been back many times over the years because my family still lives in the area. No one really recognizes me. Time changes a lot of things.
Here's a few to remember:
A rural upbringing provides the basis for survival anywhere: strong morals and work ethics; religious, community and family support; a closeness that is difficult, if not impossible, to foster anywhere else.