Timnath High School, Timnath, Colorado
There are no words to this day to convey how terrified I was to get on a school bus for the first time, and go off to high school in a town I had no clue where it was located. All Dad told me was it’s not as far as Fort Collins. We never ventured anywhere while growing up, because Dad was very busy farming and later acquiring herds of cattle that required his attention most of the time. Mom was content to stay at home and bake, cook and sew. The only place we ever got to go was with Mom once or twice a month to the grocery store in Fort Collins. We went shopping that summer for clothes for me for high school at Montgomery Wards and State Dry Goods in Fort Collins. My wardrobe consisted of two new dresses, “under skirts” underwear and socks and one pair of “Saddle Oxfords,” a black and white shoe with white laces – that in Mom’s words, should last me through the school year. We also shopped the same day for grade school clothes for John, Ginger and Elaine. Remember “Buster Brown Shoes”? Yes, that is what my sisters and brother wore — because they would last all through the year.
We had old shoes at home and the minute we came in the door from school we had to change our clothes and our shoes, do our homework and then go do our chores. The dresses and shirts were hung up in the closet for the next day. Our clothes were worn three days and then put in the hamper for Mom to wash on Monday and iron on Tuesday. We HAD to change our socks and underwear everyday! We wore the same old clothes all during the week, doing chores. Saturday night was bath night — wash hair and curl hair, shine our shoes so we all could go to Sunday School and Church on Sunday morning. We were all shinny clean, all the way in to Fort Collins 14 miles from the farm. It was a big trip for all of us because we got to have an ice cream cone at Poudre Valley Creamery after church.
But back to my first day in high school, the ninth grade, being referred to as a freshman was very confusing to me in my farmer-daughter, simple mind, Fresh – Men? We were never pre-registered in school nor did we visit the school the year before, like they do nowadays to “pre-warn” you on the great changes that were about to happen in your life.
To make matters worse I did not know a soul when I got on the bus or when we filed into school. I just barely knew three or four girls that we played baseball with in grade school from Box Elder grade school. Thinking they knew what they were doing I followed them around looking for our assigned lockers and ending up in our first class which I believe was English or history. From then on it got tougher.
When the hall bell rang everyone filed out into the hall — not knowing what to do I followed the three girls again to the lockers and to the next class. During roll call in each class, I learned their names and some of the boys’ names. When the hall bell rang it was lunch time — one hour. The food was made right in the school kitchen by the best old fashioned German/Russian cooks that were hired from surrounding farms to do the cooking during the year. We had wonderful school lunches. Chicken and noodles, turkey and dressing, Cabbage Patches (Kraut burgers) and great big cinnamon rolls, warm from the big ovens, then frosted with thick white icing.
By that time the boys were scoping out the girls and the girls were sneaking peeks at the boys. It was my first encounter of girls giggling and boys making remarks to packs of girls. And because I grew up with boys, it was easier to make friends with them than it was giggly girls. We had Math and Science and Gym in the afternoon. Then time to climb back on the bus for the long ride home and to digest the whole new high school world. I was going to like it!
Next week, school vacations, holidays, beet harvest, corn picking and haying and a big blizzard.