End of a helpful era
The 83-year-old “Help One Another” club is no more.
The final meeting was Sept. 21. Its minutes will be archived at the Thayer County Museum.
“Joys and sadness, good news and bad, make up the 83 years of existence, and although none of the original members remain living, memories of those stalwart women and men make us proud to have known them and treasure the memories,” Audrey Else wrote in her description of the club.
Else was the last secretary for the club. Members met in each other’s homes and the minutes show desserts were served after the ladies had worked on quilts, embroidered tea towels or did needlework.
Maxine Curry joined in the 1940’s and always looked forward to the desserts, she said.
One time, the ladies couldn’t meet at Donna Curry’s home because of snow. Curry told her friends she ate the dessert she had made for a week.
“It was important to start something to give them a social life,” Else said.
Four single women, including a news reporter started the club. Attendance was taken, and birthdays and anniversaries were recorded. The social committee planned picnics in the park, wiener roasts, watermelon feeds and holiday gatherings where they would exchange gifts that cost five or 10 cents each. During those parties, the men would be invited.
Memories of the club sparked Curry’s recollections. She taught country school.
Her first year was spent teaching at a schoolhouse on the road to Hubbell. She had to stay with a family near Hubbell and the school was over a mile away through a field.
In the second year, curry taught northwest of Belvidere.
“Grandpa Curry donated an acre of ground to build the school,” Curry said.
Outhouses were fair game for being tipped on Halloween night.
“I never tipped,” Curry said. “Some got tipped over and people would land in a hole. Not much candy was given out.”
When Curry was married, she went to the school board to see if could still teach.
“I was told if I didn’t get in the “family way,”” she said.
She also recalled the first refrigerators and how they would jump when they were plugged in.
But it was the club that helped them through the hard times, both Else and Curry said.
“Several births and families moving in and out of neighborhoods and at least one wedding was observed with a follow-up party for the couple and other enjoyable events took place and were noted,” Else wrote. “There remain many yellowed pages in the lined notebook and we can only imagine what might have been written.”