Class of 1939 Memoir

The following story was shared by Elizabeth Ludwig Fuller, class of 1939.  She has also contributed a digital copy of the many pictures, letters, and memories for ALL of the 1939 class reunions.  To view these digital documents please stop by the Historical Society office.  Thanks to Elizabeth and her daughter Gail for capturing these memories!


This is what Brookside looked like when I went there.  I started 1st grade in 1927 as a 5 1/2  year old (there was no Kindergarten, so they just started me in 1st grade!)  I don’t remember my 1st grade teacher, (spellings may be wrong), but I believe I had Miss Turngrem for 2nd, Miss Ebel for 3rd and 4th (she later married and her name changed to Mrs. Swelin and she was the principal of Brookside when my children went there), in 5th grade was Mrs. Boyce and 6th grade was Miss Beck.


Mrs. Swelin


To start the day off we would line up outside the front door, no matter what the weather was like, and when the doors opened we would march up the steps and into the halls.  There was a Victrola and a triangle in the hallway.  We would each get a chance to play the triangle so we would march our right foot each time the triangle played.  I got to play it a few times.


Once a month we would have ‘Bank Day’.  There was a competition between schools.  And if our school had the most money brought in we would go into the hallway and sing, “2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? Brookside, Brookside, Leading all the line! ”


We begged a teacher, Mrs. Clemmens, to let us do our own plays.  She relented and us girls made up plays and presented them on the little stage in the basement theatre.  One of them was Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.  The boys liked the plays so much that they wanted to join in, so we had them do sound effects.  I was one of the three little pigs in the same-named play.   Our Three Little Pigs was so well liked that we were asked to have the other 5th grade classes in St Louis Park be invited to come and watch or performance.


At recess we would get on the ‘giant stride’.  It was a pole with chains hanging down with loops to hold on to and you could run until you were lifted off the ground.  We figured out how to have one person hold on to a specific chain and the rest would run in circles around the pole until the speed got so great that the one person would be lifted up high into the air and fling around the pole up high and far out from the pole.  I guess they thought that was dangerous because at some point they got rid of it.


In 7th grade (1933-34) they kept us at Brookside school and bused additional 7th graders there as well.  My teacher that year was Mrs. Baston (Ethel Baston which the elementary school was named after).


We had 8th and 9th grades (1934-1936) in the Lincoln Building (located on Alabama and 37th – or something like that) on the corner.  Most of our classes were there.  When at Lincoln I remember our janitor, Arthur Crosby.  “He was great, he had a lot of fun with us kids.”


Lincoln School


But we had to go to the high school for classes like Home Economics and gym.  We wore blue one-piece gym bloomers.  The physical education teacher called me Jitters because I couldn’t stop moving.  And my science teacher called me Jiggers.  (To this day I can’t stop moving).  We had to walk across the multiple train tracks and Hwy 7 to get to the high school.


Original High School

A tunnel was built under Hwy 7 for us to cross more safely, but it was too scary and smelly so no one wanted to go through there.

Marie Hartmann at entrance to tunnel


In 10th grade (1936-37) we had school in the old high school.  I remember by chemistry class, home economics, and band classes there. The new high school was built in 1938 but it was not finished in time for my brother, Charles Ludwig, class of 1938, to graduate from.  He was the last class to graduate from the old high school.  The new high school was being built as a separate building from the old high school and we had classes in both buildings.  Eventually they connected them both by a passageway.


“New” High School, 1938. Later became Central Jr. High


They asked me to be in a band and play the flute.  So my dad bought me a flute.  I had one week of lessons and then I was to play in the band.  We would march and everyone would have music stands attached to their instruments.  Flutists would have to have a stand that was held under their arm, but they didn’t have one for me so I was suppose to memorize my music or fake it.  I ‘faked it’!


It was a tradition that the junior class would put on the prom for the senior class.  But our class wanted to have a classier event so they held it out at the Auto Club – many couldn’t afford it or were unable to get there, so many were unable to go, including my self.  And for our graduation our class wore blue and gold rather than the traditional black and orange school colors.  This made many of us sad.


We (the class of 1939) were the first class to graduate from our new high school, walking across our new stage in the auditorium.  Our senior class provide the music and we sang a song.