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Souvenirs 11-14-2012

November 17, 2012

by Irma Schwantes
It is National Education Week, so let's all give a special thanks to the teachers whom we all know as teaching our children and grandchildren even unto the third and fourth generations, or remembered from our own years in schools even if they were long years ago.

Among my Souvenirs, I do recall some favorites from those years. There was Miss Sperling, our first grade teacher in the Lutheran school in New Ulm Minnesota. Miss Sperling wasn't much bigger than a first grader herself, but she had a compassion for the children who might have been a bit frightened by the new surroundings, having seldom been away from their mothers or homes.

Then there was Teacher Blauert, of the third grade. I was quite anxious about him when he called me to the head of the room one day during the time we were preparing to leave school for the day. There he had me stand in front of his desk to show the students the proper dress for the cold weather outside that day. I had used an old fashioned button-hook from my mother's days in school to fasten the full length leggings which buttoned all the way from the ankles to the upper thighs, to cover my legs which were also clad in long under wear, and long brown cotton stockings. Having no such thing as a snow suit or other warm garb to keep my legs warm, that was the best we had at our house. Then I had a home sewn heavy coat which my mother had remade from a larger coat that had been cut down to size, and had a high collar to turn up over the knit cap I wore to cover my face except with peep holes to look thru, and a lower half that snuggled down under my chin and a large warm scarf over all that to keep out the wind. On my feet I had a brand new pair of 3 snap overshoes, they were the latest fashion and had been a gift from a kind friend, skirting just up to my ankles. After formerly wearing only 4 buckle over shoes, they felt just a bit uncomfortable. But there I stood modeling a wardrobe of hand me down garments to a classroom full of much wealthier kids than we were, or ever imagined to become. Feeling slightly self-conscious but breathing a sigh of relief that I hadn't been put on display in front of the entire class because I had committed some sort of unacceptable act, I gratefully returned to my desk in time to be dismissed to meet my older siblings to walk the two miles home from school.

For some weeks after that, the dreaded Herr Blauert became one of my favorite teachers, even though he taught many subjects in the German language, which most of the students understood from home-speaking.

Through 8 years of elementary school we learned many things from the college professors who were our teachers in those days, including Professor Albrecht in Second grade, Professor Stindt in 4th grade, with helpers from students of Dr. Martin Luther College up on Center Street Hill, Mr. Nolte in 5th and 6th grade, Mr Pelzl in 7th grade, and Professor Sitz in 8th grade. They taught us the 10 commandments from first grade on, right through to confirmation class in 8th grade. For "thou shalt have no other Gods before me" to "honor your Mother and your Father, that it may be well with you and thou mayest live long on this earth", and on into the articles of the Confession and the Lords Prayer.

We learned those lessons well, and lived by them, teaching generations ahead as we had children and grandchildren and "Replenished the earth".

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good conduct, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you". 2Corinthians 13:11

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