Senior Connections Senior Connections Nov. 2018 - Page 4

100 years of memories GABE LICHT Editor One hundred years seems like a long time, but local centenarian Alice Noreen remem- bers many parts of her 100 years as if they happened yesterday. Childhood She, of course, does not remember when she was born Alice Laverna Ida Elizabeth Alice Noreen is pictured in Kuntz Aug. 14, 1918, 1945. SUBMITTED PHOTO at her family’s home in Lyndale. Her father liked the name Alice, her mother’s broth- er voted for Laverna, and Ida and Elizabeth were her grandmothers’ names. She was baptized at home that September, with her parents hoping it would help cure her colic, as they had been told, but to no avail. A coal stove in the dining room was tasked with heat- ing the house, but Noreen remembers it not circulating very well. Kerosene and gas lamps were used as light sources until she was 5, when electricity was extended from the nearby church. “It was so much fun to push a button and have bright lights instead of carrying a lamp from room to room,” Noreen said. All water came from a pump outside and had to return outside, due to a lack of drains and indoor plumbing. Church was always an important part of her life, Noreen said, even though she remembers falling asleep on hard wood benches there. As an only child, she loved the songs, lessons, and so- cializing that came along with Sunday school, as well as the Christmas and Easter services that were well attended because they served as the area’s main entertainment. School in the one-room schoolhouse was also a so- cial and educational experience. Each morning, the students greeted the teacher by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “Good morning to you. Good morning to you. Good morning, dear teacher. Good morning to you.” With no running water, older students took turns car- rying drinking water from the creamery to fi ll the drink- ing fountains each day. An outhouse stood outside the school, and when students needed to visit it, they lifted one or two fi ngers in the air, so the teacher knew about how long they might be gone from the classroom. “Play day” each year consisted of competing in races and games against other schools like St. Bonifacius, the Lee School, and the Copeland School. In the summers, Noreen and her friends, Millie and Ev, ventured into the woods to pick fl owers such as 4 Senior mayfl owers, Dutchman’s breeches, and violets. She did so, and went on to high school in Mound, When she was 7, she had a scary experience. a daunting experience for someone coming from the “We heard cracking sounds,” Noreen said. “Looking small Lyndale School. out of the window, we saw fl ames coming out of our Her father and her friend’s father successfully peti- garage, and the wind was blowing from the southwest, tioned the school district for a school bus that traveled and fl ames were coming toward the house.” about 20 miles in order to get to Mound seven miles Being afraid that the house might burn, too, she away. grabbed her doll, doll carriage, and a few toys in case To break the ice in a new school with new class- she needed to evacuate, which was not necessary in the mates, she and a friend tried out for the freshmen end. Neighbors arrived to help extinguish the fi re, which destroyed the ga- rage and car, but spared the house. “I close my eyes to this day, and I see it,” Noreen said. Though she has never considered herself a tal- ented singer, when she was in seventh grade, she had the opportunity to sing on a WCCO Radio program. “What an experience that was for us country kids to go to the big city of Minneapolis to prac- tice one week, and sing the next week,” Noreen said. Her father’s store next to the creamery was open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and she helped there starting around age 10. “My mother would ask if I wanted to clean the house or go to the store,” Noreen said. “I always chose the store.” There wasn’t time for much else. Exceptions included church, an oc- casional silent movie in Delano, or a visit to see family. Her father also played baseball, so she would travel with him sometimes to watch him play. Back then, seventh- Alice Kuntz is pictured in her confi rmation dress made by a family friend in 1932. A fam- and eighth-grade students ily friend also made her dress for her wedding in 1947, when she became Alice Noreen. SUBMITTED PHOTO were required to take and pass state board examina- tions in order to advance to the next grade. More NOREEN on Pg 13 Connections November 2018 Senior Connections HJ.COM