You never would have given Hepzy (short for Hepzibah) a second glance. In the early 1940’s the only vehicles manufactured were for WWII military. County roads were still dirt, gas and tires rationed and I was to teach a country school-$50.00 a month.

A suitable charger was needed to battle wind, rain, snow and mud. Hepzy was found at Wiota and across the black hood was painted a humongous red heart pierced with an arrow. That was definitely not her selling point. The price was right-$50.00

Hepzy was a black Model A Ford Coupe with a roomy trunk, no heater, a windshield that could be opened by releasing knobs on two sides and hinges that let it tilt forward, no wipers, a gas lever, a spark lever, a choke, the usual clutch and brake and an OOGA horn.

A teaching friend, Maxine Kardell, had a Ford Sedan called Tillie. Hepzy and Tillie met at the Harley Davis corner of Walnut with an OOGA salute on their way to their respective schools.

I managed to keep the car running and a dollar’s worth of gas and ration stamps kept me moving for a week. I froze in the winter, scratched peek holes on the frosted windshield and sweltered in the summer. A neat thing about Hepzy was on occasion when stuck in the mud, I could pull the gas lever down, get out of the car, push and hopefully catch her so as to drive again.

The $50.00 investment would be worth many thousand today but Ed Keller’s hired man junked her in a ditch many years ago.


SCHOOL DAYS – WWII 1941-1943

Art materials for mid-west teachers ranged from short supply to none during WWII. Improvise, make-do, invent but make it fun. The lumber yard had large amounts of clean fragrant sawdust. Carl Langbehn, manager of Green Bay Lumber, gave me a large box of the sawdust. I found a use by cooking water and cornstarch. When cooled the pupils added the sawdust and kneaded until the consistency of molding clay. Later in the month of November, when we were experimenting, they decided to make a school nativity scene. All the pupils were from Christian families that observed the Christ child’s birth. There were sheep, camels, cows, shepherds and angels of many sizes and forms. The wise men, Mary, Joseph and the Babe were made by the older pupils with suggestions from all. It was not easy to shape heads and bodies. When the figures had completely dried in the warm area around the heating stove, they were painted with water colors. Some handmade garments were pasted (flour and water) to the figures. By this time, they were almost weightless and they were pure Hummels at twice the price. They were locked in Layton #3 Highland School, but would this be allowed by the courts today? How about it Herb, Audrey, Ned, Lawrence, Nadine, Beverly Jean, Beverly Ann, David, Kenneth, Daryl, Norma, Reta, Donald, Richard, Dorothy, Larry and Yonas (displaced WWII Latvian boy)??

We sang Christmas carols and hymns while our special nativity characters were sheltered under a real evergreen tree.



There were several methods in 1930’s of arriving at Walnut High School on time and dressed properly. One was to walk no matter the miles and a few had the privilege of a ride in a car. Then there was the horse brigade from south of town that consisted of Gilbert and Vernetta Bees, Leland Kohlscheen, Mabel (Drake) Buboltz, Mary (Martin) Hansen and Carl Martin. The last mile south of town all were gathered in a group to ride across the railroad tracks, up the brick-paved hill, through the business district and up main street. The on-lookers from the stores shouted, clapped and offered to race. There were barns to keep our horses during the day. The girls removed overalls and wore proper dresses and skirts to enter the school building. Howard J. Fitzgerald was our superintendent. At the close of the school day the horses were eager to go home and our ride down main street was faster and noisier.

Since noon lunch was from a sack, eaten in a basement room with no tables, we were probably as eager to reach home as our horses.


[Ed Note: We miss hearing Mabel’s wonderful stories.  We have some of these books for sale for $10 each, plus cost of mailing if needed.]