The year was 1947, the month was May, and it was a Friday. It was a special day for me. I was still recovering from a bout with Polio, still learning how to walk again with a leg that had been paralyzed for several months. But I was not going to miss this day no matter what.
This day was one of the few times I rode to the Chain O’ Lake One-Room Country School located in the Town of Rose, Waushara County, Wisconsin. I had attended there since 1939, when the school had no electricity, no running water, and no central heating. All of that was still true in 1947, except the building did get electricity in 1942.
On this sunny day in May, my brothers, Donald and Darrel (twins and four grades behind me), and my dad and mother piled into our 1936 Plymouth and drove the mile to the school, along the dusty country road that I had walked for eight years—the last couple of months with considerable difficulty because of the polio.
The event was the last day of school picnic, where everyone brought something to share with others at the noon meal, and the school board bought the ice cream. Faith Jenks was our teacher, and after the meal she made a brief announcement. She said that I had passed the difficult and challenging day-long eighth grade examinations held at the county seat in Wautoma. And I was graduating and ready to attend Wild Rose High School in the fall. She said that Jim Kolka and Mildred Swendrzynski had passed the seventh grade exams and were ready for eighth grade come fall.
Then we played softball, the students against their fathers, as the mothers chatted under the big black oak trees that shaded the school.
Upon arriving at home, my dad gave me a little box, a graduation present. I tore off the wrappings and found a Pocket Ben watch, the first watch I had ever owned. Both my mother and father were smiling, as neither of them had graduated from eighth grade.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Eighth grade graduation was a special time in 1947.
Writing Workshop for 2016:
Telling Your Story Workshop at The Clearing in Door County. Friday, August 12, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to get your name on the list. (Still Room)
May 26, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Society, 4128 Hubertus Road, Richfield, WI Whispers and Shadows.
June 7, 7:00 p.m. Cambria Library. Cambria Fire Dept. Community Center, Cambria.
June 11, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wild Rose Library. Telling Your Story
June 14, 9:00 a.m. Keynote speech. Country Heritage Day, St. John the Baptist Church, Montello. Barns of Wisconsin.
June 28, 11:00 a.m. Larry Meiller Show. Wis. Public Radio. Discussion of Roshara Journal and Telling Your Story (New Books)
June 28, Book Discussion. Mystery to Me Book Store, Madison. Details to follow. Roshara Journal and Telling Your Story (New Books)
July 19, 11:00 a.m., Farm Technology Days, Snudden Farms, Lake Geneva, Walworth County. History of Wisconsin Agriculture.
August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society. Oshkosh Library. History of Wisconsin Agriculture.
August 12 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County.
August 20, 10:30-11:30 am. Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street