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Our Aunt Margaret Walters turned 100 years old this year and it was celebrated with a gala party presented by her sisters, Lois Walters & Rhoda Walters Ribble. Relatives came from everywhere to celebrate with Aunt Margaret.. and here are some of the things we did at the party.

The games and entertainment was presented by her niece Janet Jensen. Another niece, Mary Walters Bearden, helped out with the receiving table - to make sure everyone got their name tags. Aunt Margaret was a school teacher so naturally the theme was "school".

Ring Bell

Attention: Boys and Girls - class is starting....

Today's lesson concerns : The first 100 years of Margaret L. Walters life. Now please pay attention! You may want to take notes as there will be a quiz covering this material !

Let's see... where should we start? How about when Margaret was Born.... Is there anyone here under the age of 20 who knows the actual date? (June 26, 1905)

First five years - the highlight was the birth of her little sister Lois.

Margaret was nearly 3 and was sent to stay with Auntie Mag and Auntie Sarah on Uncle Dave Jones' farm; The aunts evidently had a talent for child-care. All you who are parents/ grandparents of toddlers will enjoy this: they gave Margaret a bucket and a rag and gave her the job of cleaning the pump! From all accounts, Margaret spent the better part of several days happily pumping water and using her rag to clean the pump!

In 1910, the family moved from their Springwater Township farm to the town of Wild Rose, where I'm sure Margaret was an excellent student in school. I do know that her dress for the Junior prom was a beautiful pale green organdy, trimmed with hemstitching and pink rosebuds. Can you picture that?

After that junior prom, Margaret took off to spend the summer in Chicago with her Aunt Albina and Uncle CC. Every day that summer she walked from their apartment to work in Uncle CC's candy factory. Mmmm - how about that for a summer job?

After she graduated from Wild Rose High School in 1923, Margaret enrolled in the Elementary Education course at the Oshkosh Normal College. While she was there she shared an apartment in a big old house with her Aunt Maggie Clayton and her cousin David Clayton, who was also attending school in Oshkosh. When the weather permitted, David would drive them all back to Wild Rose on the weekends in his old Ford. Times sure have changed ... nowadays, people think nothing of commuting daily between Wild Rose and Oshkosh. They don't have to contend with the bumpy roads and flat tires of those days 80 years ago! (David Clayton's two daughters, Jean and Ann are here with us today)

The second year Margaret was a student in Oshkosh she lived with a young family and helped care for their children and work around the house in exchange for room and board.

After two years at Oshkosh, Margaret was granted a teaching degree. She began her career at Rice School ... the same little country school in Springwater Township where her father had attended school as a child. Her pupils ranged from grades 1-8 and she had to keep them all busy and attentive. She also had to keep the stove going to heat the building in the winter, and make sure that the children's lunches were kept warm. She bought her own car and was able to drive from Wild Rose to the school each day when the weather was good, but in the winter she stayed at the farm of her father's cousin: Ed and Maggie Hughes. (Their grandchildren are here today... Alice Georgeson, Eldora Owen and Beth Lois Rothman )

In those days, during potato harvesting time, there was a school vacation so everyone could pitch in and help with the farm work. Maggie Hughes became very sick as the potatoes were ready to be harvested and had to be taken to stay at the home of her daughter, Mable in Redgranite. The men asked Margaret to stay at the farm and help in the house since they had many potatoes to harvest and extra helpers to feed. Margaret agreed but had no experience as a cook for hungry farmhands! Every morning, her cousin Owen came in to help this inexperienced cook... and he'd bring in the fresh cream ; and make sure she had peeled enough potatoes for their breakfast!

Margaret also remembers Owen for giving her rides from town in the winter with his horses and sleigh - thru the woods on a clear cold night over the sparkling snow!

After two years of teaching at Rice School, Margaret was offered a job in Readstown, Wisconsin, which is in the southwest part of the state. Uncle Dave Jones and cousin Sidney drove Margaret to Readstown and afterwards laughed often about what a hilly, bumpy ride it was!

But those summers spent in Chicago had really made an impression on Margaret... and she longed to be closer to the action! After two years in Readstown, Margaret applied for a job in the suburbs and was hired by the Des Plaines School District where she taught for the next 39 years!

After that, Margaret spent several summers taking professional development courses in education : some in Oshkosh, then all the way out in Seattle at Univ of Washington, at University of Colorado in Boulder, and at Univ of California in Berkeley! Her degree was ultimately from Northwestern University in Evanston.

I want to tell you about the summer of '39... In 1939 when Margaret and her friend Nell Shorey signed up for the classes at Berkeley, they stocked up on new sleeveless summer dresses, expecting lots of hot California weather. They got quite a surprise when they found out how chilly the evenings could get! Anyway, while they were out there, they DID get to wear their $1.88 sleeveless dresses several times as their summer included a tour to Salt Lake City, Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon, Pasadena, Yosemite, Muir Woods, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, The World's Faire and Treasure Island!! All this, and their room and board and tuition at the summer school for $500!

Wow! That included their train fare, too! On the way home, Margaret went thru Seattle, Victoria B.C., Lake Louise, Banff, Minneapolis, and then finally home on the C&NW Railway.

Margaret has been quite a traveler, and also enjoyed many more vacations when they weren't connected to her education goals. She made several trips with Alice Georgeson who was working as a nurse. (By the way - Alice is one of the WWII veterans honored in this very building... *if you go out into the halls, you will find her picture to the right of the main doors). Alice and Margaret drove together to Gymanfa Ganu's in New York and Buffalo; They also made trips to Branson, Missouri... the Amana Colonies ... Isle Royal; and thoroughly enjoyed a bus tour to Montreal, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

There were many more trips across the United States, including an awesome camping trip in 1949 (You can read her journal of that trip in a wooden logbook over at the table)... but in 1963 Margaret and cousin Muriel Jones (aunt to Philip and Zona Jones) Margaret and Muriel flew to London to meet up with cousin Sidney and his wife Lorene who had gone to England earlier. The four of them spent a month seeing the sights in Great Britain and visiting several relatives in Wales. Margaret and Muriel took a steamer across the North Sea to Holland where they marvelled at the glorious art of Vermeer and Rembrandt... and from there they went on to Germany, Austria, and Italy. Margaret's favorite stop of the entire trip :Florence.

These two teachers - Muriel and Margaret returned home to their students and colleagues full of enthusiasm and knowledge of the cultures they experienced - and ready to share it all with those who had ears to hear!

Margaret retired from teaching in 1968 and returned to Wild Rose to live with Lois. It didn't take long for her to find plenty to keep her busy, however. She not only taught Sunday School, but was often the teacher of the communicant's class when the church had no regular pastor.

For several years she served as recorder for the Historical Society, as well as working as tour guide at the Wild Rose museum. She volunteers for the hospital auxiliary and was an active member of the Wild Rose Woman's Club.

Did you know that Margaret was the first volunteer for the Wild Rose Library? In 1982 Margaret began her long service as a volunteer at the Wild Rose Library, working at least one day a week for more than twelve years until she and Lois moved to Wautoma.

Although she had retired from teaching, Margaret did not retire from travel. In 1970 she embarked on another great trip with cousins Sid and Lorene Jones. They called it their 'Volkswagon trip' because they flew to Germany to pick up the VW bus which Sid had ordered from the USA (I'll bet Sid would have just loved the Internet and shopping online!)

The three of them traveled in the VW to Czechoslovakia, Italy, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Holland.... then back to London. That was when Lois and another friend flew over to meet them and join the famous VW tour as they took in Stonehenge and more amazing sights of Great Britain.

Margaret isn't traveling far and wide these days, BUT her positive attitude in life and her interest in the people she meets guarantees that part of her goes out into the world with each and every one she knows!

Happy Birthday, Margaret!


Quiz questions:
1- Describe Margaret's dress for the prom
2- Margaret is a fan of what baseball team?
3- Who was Pansy?
4- What was the name of the place where John Hughes, pioneer, came from in Wales? (bonus)
5- What was the name of John Hughes' farm in Wales, Wisconsin?
6- At whose farm did Margaret help cook for farmhands?
7- Pat and Mike were? (bonus)
8- How many years did Margaret teach in Des Plaines?
9- In what type of vehicle did Margaret and four others travel across Europe?
10- How much did the sundresses cost in 1939?
11- For whom did Margaret work after her jr./ sr. high school years?
12- From what institution did Margaret receive her teaching degree?
13- What job did Auntie Mag and Auntie Sarah give to Margaret when she was three years old?

Name that tune: Name a song that describes Margaret's career
(Everyone hummed - School Days)

Name a song about the city Margaret wanted to live in/ near?
(Everyone hummed - Chicago)

Name a song about the place where Margaret had a very inexpensive vacation summer while attending summer school
(Every hummed - California Here I Come)

Name a tune about a city where Margaret flew in 1963 to begin her overseas travel adventures
(Everyone hummed - A Foggy Day in London Town)

Now, Jan and Andy will lead us in singing

The Margaret Walters Song
(Sing to the 'Gilligan's Island' Tune)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale;
a tale of a hundred year trip.
It started out in Wild Rose,
and it will make you flip!
(Yes, it will make you flip)

This story is about a gal whose name is Margaret.
Her life has made a great impact and she's not finished yet!
(No, she's not finished yet)

She cleaned that pump until it shone,
made candy that was fine,
And cooked for all the farmhands at potato harvest time!
(Potato harvest time)

For over forty years Miss Walters taught her students well
At Rice School, Readstown, and Des Plaines
she helped them all excel!
(She helped them all excel)

Miss Margaret love to travel, meet new people, see the sights
On trains & boats & autos and many, many flights!
(Yes, many, many flights)

She crossed all North America, Jamaica, Mexico
Then over the Atlantic - to Europe she did go!
(To Europe she did go)

A life of volunteering: to many she has giv'n
She knows that is the way to bless
others while you're liv'n!
(Bless others while you're liv'n)

So after this first century, your family wants to say
How much we love you Margaret - and Happy Birthday!
(Yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)





Here is a list of everyone who attended the "Gala Affair"..

Margaret Walters, Lois Walters, Rhoda Ribble
Debbie and Ed Devine
Brian and Jennifer Devine and Will
Sara Devine and Tony Steele
Marlene and Kevin Wolter
Jan and Bob Jensen
David and Sarah Jensen, Caleb, Adam and Ellie
Andy and Cathy Jensen
Lynn Walters
David and Lynette Walters
Mary and Wendall Bearden, Wendy Bearden and Caleb
Philip Jones, Shalimar Jones, Jarrett Jones
Zona and Bill Woelfl
Lynn and David Dickens, Blake, Colin, and Alec
Todd and Sarah Woelfl and Megan Ann
Jean and Russ Kittleson
Ann Clayton
Jerry and Marge Williams
Alice Georgeson
Eldora Owen
Beth Lois and Roland Rothman



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