Paynesville Press - October 23, 2002

Community Perspective

Can one person make a difference?

By Evelyn Moore

I'd like to think we all do.

First, let me give you a little history about myself. Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s at the "Heart of the Woods" Farm was not an easy life. This farm was a quarter mile north of the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds. I learned at a young age that you had to work, and my parents were very good teachers.

My parents were both high school graduates: my dad from Paynesville in 1922 and my mother from Watseka, Ill., in 1928. The folks were married in Watseka in the fall of 1928 and moved on to the farm at that time.

In 1984, dad left the farm to their four children.

Back when I was growing up, we lived three miles from school in Paynesville, so we did a lot of walking to get our schooling. (Would kids do that today?)

In first grade, there were 34 pupils in one room with one teacher. We always had big classes, and when we started our freshman class in 1946, all the country schools (which are now closed) made a class of 84 students. They had to hire some extra teachers, and we had even bigger classes. We went to school in the old high school, the building that was torn down not too long ago. We graduated in 1950 with 70 getting diplomas.

A lot of my learning came from what was taught at home. We planted a large garden each year, and as anyone who has had a garden knows, it can keep you busy. My mother always canned lots of vegetables, and we had to help with it.

We had Jersey cows, chickens, pigs, and dad farmed with two horses. I learned to milk cows, help make hay, and to make hay stacks to feed the animals.

We had no electricity until 1946. We did lots of school work by lamp light. We had no running water, so we carried it from the well to the house and pumped water for all the animals to drink. We cooked and heated the house with wood. My dad made wood each year. I've carried my share of wood and still do. I still have a wood furnace.

When I graduated in 1950, I went to Watseka to live, since this is where my folks were from. I also had other relatives living there. There were three factories in Wateska, and three days after I arrived I had a job at T.R.W. Wages were 75 per hour. My aunt and uncle gave me room and board for $10 per week and life was good. I worked 15 years at that factory.

Donald Moore came into my life in 1961, and we were married in Watseka. My daughter Diane was born in October 1962 in Watseka. We continued to live there until the fall of 1967, when we moved back to Minnesota. Then in May 1968, my son David was born in Paynesville.

I like to think there was more than one reason I came home to Paynesville to live. My parents were senior citizens, and their children were all away, so I was home to look after my folks.

Then in 1970 my husband was killed in a crop dusting accident in North Dakota. I was left with a seven-year-old and a two-year-old to raise by myself with the help of my parents, neighbors, friends, and my church.

Thanks to the bookkeeping class in my senior year, which was my favorite class, I've spent the last 20 years working with numbers at the Ford garage. I've had several volunteer treasurer jobs at different times and still do a couple.

I do other volunteer work and find it a joy to do something different for others. It is more blessed to give than receive.

Both my children graduated from Paynesville and went on to college. Diane went two years to Oak Hills Bible College and graduated with a Bible degree. Then in 1988 she graduated from Northwest Technical Institute, a school of drafting design and CAD technology in Eden Prairie. She has worked for 3M in St. Paul for 14 years.

David was awarded a Marine Corps scholarship to the University of Minnesota and graduated in 1990. For his scholarship, he had to put in five years with the corps. He gave them 11 years of active duty and is in the reserves at the present time and has just made major. He is now working for G.E. Capital in Eden Prairie.

Both my daughter and son have expressed to me that they are thankful that they were taught to work as they were growing up.

Hope you make a difference today.

Evelyn Moore grew up in Paynesville in the 1930s and 1940s.

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