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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 14, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta loturddv. Auguil H, 1971 THI LPHUID6I HIRALD 3 Candida les lo debute at Noblefonl FORT MACLEOD (Special) Unifarm will sponsor a poli- tical forum at NoWelord Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. in the Legion hall. Director of Unifarm Bill Ni- col will moderate (he panel. Ap- pearing will be the three Mac- leod constituency candidates, Leighton Buckwell. Social Credit, Dr. Ktl Cornish, NDP, and Dan Le Grandeur, Progres- sive Conservative. NOW lonely and JUST MEMORIES Ballman School, empty, half 'forgotten, brought back glad memories when former pupils gathered at the scene recently. It saw service from 1911 1a 1941. THREE OF THE FIRST Attending Ballman School in the early years were, from lefl. Merle tyons of Spokane, Wash., Mrs. Joseph (Mildred) Emard of Lethbridge and Harold tyons of Cranbrook. These Ihree members of the tyons family, three of the first to allcnd the school, galher- ed at ihe recent Ballman School reunion. Memories came flooding back Harry was youngest of Strom pupils By GEOFF TAGG Special Correspondent FOREMOST Ballman school district was not the larg- est in Ihe world but people came Ihousands of miles from all parts of Canada and the United States recently to at- tend the Ballman School re- union. Harry Strom was there, along with other Slroms, and the reunion of former Ballman students and teachers was as unique as the old one-room building itself. The Ballman district occu- pies an area no more than about five miles square. It is situated in open country about eight miles south of Burdelt. The school, built in 1911 and closed in 1941, still stands and was revisited by many of its former pupils and teachers. Former students have found their way to Ihe farlhest corn- ers of the earth, and it is per- haps fitting that Ihe idea for the reunion should begin as far away as Phoenix. Ariz. Here, four former studenls, J. W. Johnson of Burdelt, Palmer Johnson of Nelson B.C., Stan- ley Jolinson of Calgary and Rodney Jacobson of Minneap- olis. Minn., conceived the idea as they reminisced about their school days at Ballman. They contacted Walter Strom in Burdett, who look up Ihe challenge. Working with Mrs. Ralph Dillenbeck. the former student Minke Slatema, the plans were laid. It was an unbelievable suc- cess. Over half the studenls who ever attended the school m its 30-year history were present, including eight of the 20 who were enrolled in the first year of operation almost GO years ago. Louis Jolinson. the last secre- tary of the Ballman school dis- trict, who now b'ves in Delta B.C., brought with him Ihe com plete record of minutes of all the meetings of Ihe school Irus- tees for the 30 years, 1911 lo 1941. The volume, in a perfecl state of preservation, will be a valuable asset when the lime comes to prepare a history of the area, a project shortly to be undertaken by Mrs. Ralph Dillenbeck. Mr. Johnson read the opening minutes to the assemulec group. A group of interestcc people met on May 5. 1911, a the home, of L. Hamel to or- ganize Ihe school board on in- structions received from the department of education. N. H. Strom was elected as the first chairman of the board A. L. Hamel was elected its first secretary at the princely sum of a year and R. State- ma was elected treasurer. Work began on building the school in the fall of 1911. The foundations were fbc work ol Lars Johnson, a local storo mason. The stone came from the local coulees. The building itself was built by local people under the dir- ection of a contractor. The first students went into the new building in laic February or early March 1912, '.rilli the fir-si Icaciier, a Mr. Smeltzer. He was lo gel only one monlh's vacation that year as school opened late. John Johnson was there rm (hat first day. So was Louis Johnson. Members of the Lyons family, Merle, now of Spokane, Wash., Afildred, now Mrs. Joe Emard of Lethbridge, and Har- old Lyons of Cranbrook were also among those earliest start- ers. They enjoyed recounting the fading memories of the first days of Ballman school. VIEWING DISTANCE The winters were long and hard, but most people lived DAVE DERM PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE CYPRESS witliin viewing distance of. the school. The schoolmaster was his own jamV in the early days, and he was required to raise the flag every morning When the children saw the flag flying at the mast they knew that the schoolmaster hac made it to school, that the build- ing was warm, and that schoo1 would operate that day. No flag no school! John Johnson was hired as janitor in ]919 at a sum of .10 cents a day. Teachers' salaries rose over the years to a pre- depression liigl) of .51.050 per annum but it was noted that in 1935 Lawrence Lynn was hired for per annum, an indica- tion of the hard times. Mr. Lynn, who was the long- est serving teacher at the school with five years of ser- vice, was present to greel many former pupils. He is now [he principal of Lendran School in Edmonton. Five former teachers at Ball- man were present Mr. GOUT- Icy at Calgary, Ann Slalema of Burdetf, Jean (Neil) Clark of Burdett, Marie (Minke State- ma) Dillenbeck and Lawrence Lynn of Edmonton. Over the 30 years a total of 20 school trustees had served on the board. The family of Lars Johnson had provided three of them, including the only woman ever to serve. Tlie Strom family had also provided Ihree, the last being Harry. When the school finally closed its doors, it continued to be used for the very active, and apparently very interde- nominational Ballman Sunday S'chool. They purchased the property, and continued to use it until "the laic ]950's. Jls sur- vival is almost certainly due lo their ownership, whereas most of Ihe one-room schools arc now grancrics. As one stood in flic now em- pty schoolnouse with some of Lhe former students, the mem- ories came flooding back. Roy Jackson, now of High River tried to recall if it was 1918 or 1919 that he was last licre. He surveyed (lie sur- rounding countryside trying to rebuild in his mind the home- steads that have now passed into oblivion. A lonely blackboard in one corner relived again as some- one had thoughtfully welcomed back to Ballman the former students arid teachers. Broken windows, and holes in the ceil- ing could not. hide the memor- ies of 30 years. As Harry Strom put in in his tribute: "The school has no value." He pointed out that no monetary valut could ever be placed on the debt owed lo !hose who built the school. He aid he could not presume lo speak for the generation who went before him, or that which came after him, hul for his own generation he felt they had not done a bad job, and that was his feeling as he recalled Balhnan School. "We learned the lesson of re- lationships in the family, of re- lationships in the community and of relationships in our country. We are products of those said the school's most distinguished for- mer pupil, who also described himself as the sleepwalker of the family. As former students, hus- bands, wives and teachers gathered at Burdetl Com- munity Centre for Uie banquet, people came from thousands of miles to greet friends they had not seen for more than 40 years. Time lo some has been kind, and to others not so. Were it not for the name labels, many would never have ecognized their former friends from physical appearances. But one thing was ecognizable above all else. A feeling or pervading warmth that lias symbolized this community for genera- tions. No one had a hard word in his mouth or thought in his mind. It was a joyful, and at times tearful reunion, of a closely knit community who were sent lo the farthest reach- es of the four winds. There was Mary Stewart, row Mrs. L. Kamp of Ottawa who made the trip alone from her home to be at the reunion. Shy and unassuming, ad- millcd how frightened she was at having to change planes at Toronlo, and how she had no idea what she would do when she arrived at Calgary. There were nine members of the remarkable Strom family present. Harry recalled (hat when e went to school he was the youngest of six Stroms at- tending at that time. He lefl in J927. Others present wre Mrs. Ben (Agra) Hallgrcn of Aldergi-ove, B.C. Mrs. Herb fEdla) Carlson of Calgary, Dagny Strom of Wetaskiwin, Wallace from White Rock, B.C., Clarence from Three Wills, Walter of Bow Island, Alice from Glendale, California and Mrs. Sig. (Agnes) Odland of New Norway, Alia. Present also was A. T. Lilt, school teacher at Burtlelt school for 31 years. Mr. Litt received the Ballman pupils who went on or higher duca- tion. and for 26 years taught all high school subjects single handed. The highest number of stu- dents at any one time as 15 pupils in Grades 1 lo 8 taught by one teacher. All former students and teachers were asked lo record a message on the tape record- er, slaling where Ihcy now lived, what family lliey had, and what they had done since leaving Ballman school. Tlicrc are only two kinds of people here said Walter Strom, "Ihose who were formei students and teachers ol Ball- man school, and those who wish (hey were." Truer words were not spoken all day! They ell us we've come a long way since the day of the one-roomed schoolhouse. We've progressed. Have we? We are indeed fortunate if we have. The four bare walls of Ball- man School are a living mem- orial to a remarkable group of people, who taught so much of it, Ihcy came thousands of miles (o remember. ENTERS ATOMIC CLUE PEETORIA (AT) Prime Minister John Vorster opened a uranium enrichment plant near here today that he said places South Africa on a level with the world's five atomic powers. The news that South African scien- tists had developed a low-cost method of enriching uranium was announced by Vorster in Parliament in July, 1970. FIRST LESSONS Harry Strom was a boy In knee- britches at Ballman School. No one knew he would one day become first minister of Alberta but ft was at Ball- man School foundation was laid. Don't Let This Warm Weather Fool You! NOW'S THE TIME TO BUY YOUR IH J 1-3 PROVIDES TRI-PRO Triple protection controls seep- age, ruit-corrotion and foam- ing. Coie loll 40 ealp. er morn Gal. 2.25 INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER SALES AND SERVICE 304 Stafford Drive, Lelhbrldgt 327-3125 You give it all you've got Molson Golden gives you all the good, smooth taste you deserve. It's the beer everyone enjoys. So get together...for a Molson Golden. Molson Golden've earned it! Dave Berntson_..part of the Lougheed Team. A farmer who knows a farmer's1 pro- blems and will work for you for expanded farm credit at reasonable interest rates___ a Department of Agriculture concerned with marketing and sales...vastly improved road systems in Southern Alberta.. Insarlod byi CYPRESS PROGHESSIVE CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION These Arc Herald COUNTRY NEWS Correspondents in Your Area NATAL, B.C. PAUL CHALA P.O. Box 287 LOMOND MRS ICONARO CIIASC...... Dalivcry CARD5TON MRS. CATHERINE HUH General Deliviry COWLEY CtARENCE WEEKES P.O Bui 7 STAVELY MRS. VIOLET CLANCY Boi 51 CRANBROOK NANCY MIIES 304 Jth SI. S. Conlncl those pnoplfi for your Ncwi or Clauifiod Advurtitino ;