June 11, 2014

Thriving on family and farm life

“My folks were busy on the farm, working with the animals, feeding the chickens, and milking the cows,” she said. “They had chores to do, I just tagged along of course.”
The oldest of Charles and Anna Thompson’s four children, Delores recalls going to school in Pleasant Valley, then moving partway through her second grade year and going to school at the Deapolis Country School.
“We rode our horses to school,” she said. “Dad would take us sometimes, but each one of us had our own horse and we rode horseback to the country school.”
Berger enjoyed school, particularly reading and history.
“Math was kind of difficult,” she remembers, “It was called arithmetic, in those days.”
Students brought their own lunches and carried water for the school from a neighbor’s place, not too far away.
“Two of us would take a pail and carry the water,” Delores said. “And we had a coal furnace.”
One teacher taught all of the grades from first through eighth.
“You could have (children in) three grades or four grades,” Delores said. “Whatever she had that year.”
After graduating from the school at Deapolis, Delores went to Stanton for high school. There were no school buses, so students had to be driven to school or ride with neighbors until they could drive themselves.
As the oldest, she also helped her parents on the farm. Her brother, Kenny, was a number of years younger and her sister, Leone, helped their mother in the house, so Berger helped her father in the fields.
“I did quite a bit, especially cultivating corn and mowing the grass hay,” she said. “That was with the horse-drawn mower and we raked the hay. I just liked it, I liked working with the animals and being outside.”
Delores started teaching at the Deapolis school the fall after she graduated high school. She taught there for three years.
“During that time, my younger sister Roberta started the first grade, and I had my younger brother, Kenneth, too.”

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