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Bob Lind, Published March 10 2014

Neighbors: Country school newspaper sprinkled in knee-slappers with news items

“Now,” said the teacher, “which of you can name five things that contain milk?”

“I can,” shouted a freckle-faced youngster: “Butter, cheese, ice cream and two cows.”

That’s just one of the knee-slappers mixed in with the news items in the Honorville Sheaf, later renamed the Honorville Farmette, the student-produced newspaper for the Dahlquist District 6 country school near Warren, Minn. The year? 1943.

Three copies were sent in by Eileen Larson, Dilworth, who was born and raised in Warren. Her mother, Frances Boman Roley, taught all eight grades in the school.

Eileen has no idea why Honorville is part of the paper’s name. But she does know that the school’s first teacher went on to start Warren’s weekly newspaper, the Sheaf.

This school newspaper is representative of all school papers, past and present. Here’s a sampling of its contents:

The favorite food of William Ranstrom, age 9, was mashed potatoes, and his pet peeve was getting up in the morning, while Maxine Nelson, also 9, liked scalloped potatoes but didn’t like washing dishes.

Several students had perfect attendance during the previous four weeks: Vernon Roley, Dagney Roley, LuVerne Norlund, Erland Roley, Donald Eukel, Gene Ranstrom, Eleanor Rud, Doris Roley, Hubert Larson, William Ranstrom, Fraye Ranstrom and Maxine Nelson. “Keep it up,” the paper urged them.

The fifth grade’s slogan for the past month was, “We are quiet as mice.” (No mention is made of whether or not the teacher suggested that slogan.)

In art classes, the girls drew pictures of what they considered to be their “model” houses, while the boys drew pictures of barns.

1943 being back when spiritual references in public schools were allowed, the kids voted “Father, Most Holy” as their favorite Thanksgiving song.

Since 1943 also was a World War II year, the students voted to gather money to buy a U.S. war bond, and Doris Roley wrote a song including the lyrics, “If we win this war, my jinx, Hitler will be full of links.”

The paper’s editor, LuVerne Norlund, wrote an editorial saying, “I have been thinking how lucky we are to be living in an age when farming has been made so much easier. The colonial people had no tractors, iron plows, threshing machines, combines, drills and many useful machines. They also had to raise their own food. Their houses and clothes were much poorer.

“I believe we should think of these things next time a favor is asked of us,” LuVerne concluded.

All this and more made up these issues of a school newspaper from 71 years ago.

And, because every school paper has to have some humor, here’s one more joke from the Honorville Sheaf:

Smarty from the city, “Hey, farmer rube, have you seen a wagon load of monkeys pass by here?”

Farmer: “No. Why? Did you fall off?”


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com