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Reflections on life in Tekamah
My parents and I came to live in Tekamah around 1945. Dad was to be the manager of the Holmquist Grain Elevator, mom a full-time homemaker like most mothers were back then. We lived in the company house on top of the hill above the elevator for about the next 6 years. We weren't exactly on the edge of town, but did raise chickens from time to time. Could see clear across the Missouri Valley on a fairly clear day, and the bluffs of Iowa.
Life for a child then, was pretty uncomplicated and easy-going. This meant catching lightening bugs on summer evenings and riding our bikes after dark in the neighborhood with no fear whatsoever. In the winter, sometimes being snowed in after a blizzard and the school had to be closed....for only a day. Or, finding the deepest snow drift to wade through on our way to school and back home......no wonder we were always catching colds!
Entertainment......listening to the radio (didn't have a TV until 1949), and when I was a teen, saving up to see a Sunday matinee at the local movie theater. The local pool hall was strictly off limits, although I walked past it everyday to and from school. And, "Tek-Inn" came into being sometime before my high school years.........I was allowed to go there, sometimes.
I started kindergarten in the Tekamah Public School building with Gary Jack, Judy (Bruce) Anderson, Ronnie Anderson, Kenny Robinson, Joyce Robinson, Richard Sells (his dad was the principal), Phil Case, Doris Carlson, Sharon Crannel, Shirley Tompson, Dick Miller, and a few more that made us all "family"; for we all graduated together in 1958. Most of us managed to return for our 25th high school reunion a while ago (ha, ha), and I am hoping that many will be there when our 50th rolls around. I remember that Judy B.'s mom made the prettiest May baskets, Ronnie A. told me not to "swing like a rusty gate" when playing ball at recess, and Richard S. and Joyce R. and I would walk home together, almost every day.
Climate......hot and sticky in the summer, of course, because I don't think anyone had air conditioning for years; not even the stores on Main Street. But, we kids never complained; wouldn't have done any good! Sitting in hot classrooms and trying to concentrate was pretty difficult; so, our teachers would read to us after noontime, while we rested our heads, even in the 4th and 5th grades.
Once in awhile a carnival would come to town in the summer and set up on the outskirts , or in the center of Main Street, by the OLD Burt Co. Bank and Tek-Inn. Sat. nights were when the stores stayed open late (probably 10 or 11 p.m.), and on Sundays everything was closed, truly a day of rest.
Sports was the main event.....seemed like most everyone either participated in or attended all of the football and basketball games. The high school band always marched and performed, and nearly every girl in high school was in Pep Club and desperately trying to earn her 'letter'.
Since our town was (and maybe still is) the county seat, the Court House was built squarely across the street from the School. Growing up, I only knew that the jail was located on the very top floor. But, later in high school when we had 'gov. day elections', I was lucky enough to win and become 'judge' for a day. So, a few of us spent the day in the court house and found out there was much more to it that just the 'top floor'.
The public library was where I had my first real job. Under the guidance of Mrs. Wilson, I would go there after school and on Sat., to help out, CLEAN, get a taste of becoming a librarian, and earn a whole $.35 an hour.
Summer jobs were far and few for us teens; so I de-tasseled corn for Tek-seed, and worked at the Dairy Queen (both before and after they installed air conditioning!) Of course, baby-sitting is what most of us did; and chores at home were just a fact of life........at any age.
I know now, that it is because I grew up where and as I did, that I was able to take off (went to Alaska to teach for 4 1/2 years), and somehow keep going with all of life's ups and downs. Life might have seemed sort of dull at times, but it also gave me inner strength and an unflinching trust for my fellowman. I only wish my own children could have had such a valuable upbringing as I did.
Patsy (Isom) Jenkins
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events that have occurred in the city. Anyone who feels they have pertinent information may submit it. This includes all people in or out of Tekamah and could involve any interested adults or children with events or items that are of interest. Items may be submitted for publication on this page where they will remain as part of a historical archive for the city. Items of interest may include noteworthy events, special events of historical importance, information about area growth that pertains to the history of the city, and other pertinent notes. We hope to establish a large data base of information about the history of each city. Historical Societies are encouraged to open their own page on Key to the City for more extensive historical information.
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