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Pathways Through Our Past

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Pathways Through Our Past
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Vera Hass, Part Two

I'm sure it is hard to believe some of the things Glennis and I write about, but they are facts as recorded in writing or as told to us. Believe it or not but there are still friends and neighbors who can remember the straw mattress and flour sack clothing.

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Vera's first taste of school was at the age of six. A old one room log building with a beautiful teacher. There were carpenters building a new school and the teacher went to see when it would be finished. While there they gave her something to drink and when she returned to the class for afternoon lessons she would fall down every time she tried to get off her chair.

Back then the teachers were to be beyond reproach. No drinking even if she didn't know what was given her. They were to dress and act as examples to the students.

At first the school board was going to fire her and then they reconsidered her future, she had sent many years going to collage to become a teacher so they condemned to the old school and when the new one was finishes they were unable to find a teacher for that year so Vera first grade lasted just a few short weeks. Vera's mother took over as teacher to the children at home and the next year there was a new school and a new teacher. When Vera finished the eighth grade and wanted to go to high schools, she was told she couldn't go as the school was to far away.

A string of events allowed Vera to follow her dream to graduate and become a teacher, First a senior in high school drove her to school but when I finishes the local veterinarian let her use a small room in his house and then her aunt lost one of her sons to World War 1 and they made his room into a small apartment for Vera and her friend, Melda, to became teachers.

After the war, there was a shortage of teachers and so Vera was allowed to teach during the day and attend collage in the evening.

Her first teaching job was in a school about the same size as she had gone to as a six year old. She was to teach first through eighth grade. Pump water for the fountain and keep the fires going for the eight months the school was open all for the grand total of $720.

During the Great Depression, Vera's father lost his farm in Montevideo and her sister's husband encouraged her family to move further north where there was a farm for sale. That was where she was to met her future husband, Ben, in 1935.

Ben's grandfather raised Clydesdales and Ben would train them to be ridden or to pull a wagon. The Budweiser Beer Company would by buy the horse if they had all four white stockings and feet. Only one out of every eight or 10 would have that trait.

Ben, his brother and father built the Lutheran church in Tenstrike. Some of the later arrivals to that area joined in to complete the church.

During the years, Vera was in her 20 she was squired around the various schools where she taught by a boy friend. But she said that she wasted those years and on her birthday in 1936 she married Bernhardt Carl Ernest Hass. Thinking that the ripe old age of 30 was too old to have any children so she felt greatly blessed to have a son, Ron, born in 1937.

Vera taught school in many locations in and around the Tenstrike area. Her last teaching job was third grade in Blackduck. She retired at the age of 70 ending many, many years of educating the students she came to love for all the blessings they brought her as the years went by.

Vera and Ben's son, Ron, worked for 40 years as a veterinarian before retiring. While Ben was alive, he and Vera traveled quite a bit, from Alaska to Hawaii and then spent some of the winter months in Arizona.

On Sept. 12, 2006, a 100th birthday party was held at the Hass farm home. She was presented with a button that said, "I've Survived Damn Near Everything." Many friends, neighbors and past students attended.

The next year, she fell and broke her shoulder and came to live a t the Good Samaritan Center in Blackduck going to the farm for short visits. The following she was chosen to be Grand Marshall of the Blackduck parade. Still a beautiful woman with a wonderful memories of family, friends and students.

There are many other wonderful stories about growing up as a young girl, building a life with Ben and Ron and the years after retirement. A full century's worth.

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Pioneer staff reports
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