Note: My parents, A. Ralph and Ruby Clem came to Nebraska from Coon Rapids, IA, in the fall of 1914. I was only 9 months old at the time. Dad was to be the first resident pastor of the Elk Valley Friend's Curch five miles south of Waterbury, NE. He travelled West in the railroad boxcar containing all of their worldly possessions, including a horse and buggy. Mom, Clifford, my older brother and I travelled on the passenger train. When we moved into the new four room parsonage, some of the building was not yet finished, including the cement porch, cave and erection of the various outbuildings. Dad's next call came from the church at Elk Valley, NE. I started school there in a one room school with all grades in the same room. One Saturday, the schoolhouse burned. Some 1" x 12" boards were fastened to the backs of the church pews, making desks, and school was held in the church for the rest of the year.While we lived in Elk Valley, we were quarantined for scarlet fever. I remember neighbors stopping and leaving groceries out by the road, but never coming in, which was very unusual. I also remember the fumigation with sulfur candles and baths with green medicated soap. The folks (Mom and Dad) stripped the beds and emptied closets and drawers so that the sulfur candles could funigate the house well. We stayed at the neighbors while the house was being fumigated .Dad's next call was to pastor a chruch at Alda, NE. I remember playing church with two of my friends in our upstairs bedroom. We locked the door and were sitting on pews made by pulling the lower drawers out of the chest of drawers.While we were singing, the chest came over on us. Church was dismissed .I also remember having the flu. My mother was very ill. They were very worried about her, as she was pregnant with my brother Loren. My Dad was the only one who didn't get it. I had to stay in bed but wasn't sick like Mom and Clifford were. Apparently, I wan't so sick that I lost my appetite. My bedroom was upstairs, but they moved me downstairs into the living room. Poor Dad! He was nurse, cook, dishwasher-everything. Loren was born the next June .In those days, the Doctor came to the home to deliver babies. I remeber one evening two years later, Dad and Clifford took Loren to Central City to some friend's house. Ronald was born on April 30th. When they brought Loren home, he bounded into the bedroom to see mom and was a little taken back to see her in bed. The baby made a fuss, and Loren was up on the bed diggng at the covers to find the noise. One of us must have come down with whooping cough or measles while Mom was still in bed, as the only way we could see she and Ron was through a window. Dad made a platform outside the bedroom window, and we would watch the baby from there.Alda was where I started school. I liked my teacher and the one thing I remember was the sand box. I loved to play in the sand box.One Christmas while were in Alda, we had practiced the Sunday School program in the afternoon in preparation for the program that evening. It was after dark. I was looking out the kitchen window to the church across the street. I called Mom to come see the red lights in the church. The church was on fire.A bucket brigade was formed, but the church was gutted. A happier memory was a two seated pedal car that had been handed down from Dad's Aunt Nora. It was the only two seater that I have ever seen. Of course, Clifford always drove, and I sat in back holding Loren, and pedalled. Laundry in those days was a full day's work. Water was heated in a boiler on the wood-fired cook stove, carried out and put in the washing machine. We kids took turns pushing and pulling on the handle that turned the "dolly" inside. It was hard, tiring work. I can remember counting as I pushed and pulled, as we wanted to be sure our turns weren't and longer than anyone else's. Dad saved the day when he figured out a way to jack up the back of the Model T and run a belt from the rear wheel to the washing machine providing us with ourfirst "automatic" washer. Mom and Dad were raised on the plains of central Iowa, and the steep hills were frightening to Mom. In the days of the Model T Ford, the hills were a particular menace to Mom. She would lean forward as far as possible going uphill, and help brake by bracing her feet hard against the floor boards and leaning back when going downhill. We had no wash and wear in those days. All clothes had to be ironed. The irons were heated on the cookstove fired with cobs or wood. Men's shirts were starched before ironing. I remember seeing my first airplane while I lived at Alda. It was such a rarity that everyone would run out to see it when it flew over.We moved from Alda go Greenville, Ia. when I was in the third grade. When we located the church, the house was right beside it. We kids had to examine the house, garage and yard, and lay claim to our rooms. We didn't always get the one we picked. One of Mom's first projects was to take lye water and scrub the outdoor "biffy" .I remember a special Halloween party where we had pumpkin invitations, and I thought it was the best. I think it was a Sunday School class. A lady that lived across the street was a special friend. She taught me to make beads out of a salt mixture of some kind. I thought my third grade teacher was very pretty. She had big hair puffs over her ears. I wore dresses made form flour sacks that Mom had dyed and sewn.When we moved from Greenville to Payton, preparations started early, as everything had to be boxed or crated. The folks would clear out a room, and as furniture and clothes were packed, they would be placed in boxes in this room.I loved to play house using crated furniture and boxes for different rooms in my make believe house. When we arrived at our new home, we explored our new territory. There was no shopping for a house, you accepted what the church offered. Some were nicer than others, but all soon became home. Some of the houses had electricity, but only years later in Dakota City, did we have a home with indoor plumbing.I attended a country school, walking about a mile to and from. The school had a recitation bench facing the blackboard. Each class would go to the recitation bench when it was their turn to recite (grades 1 through 8 met in the same room). There was also a reading table where we could choose a bookand read when our lessons were finished. The school was heated by a coal burning stove, and water came from a pump across the road. We drank from a common cup or dipper. Everyone carried a lunchpail-no hot lunch programs in those days. Playground equipment consisted of 2 or 3 swings.We played baseball and annie annie over over the coal house behind the school.For out Christmas program, we made curtains of sheets or some such material andput them on a wire across the front of the room. We always had fun getting ready for Christmas. I think Mrs Walker must have been an excellent teacher. My 8th, 9th and 10th grades were spent in Allen, Ne., my 11th in Waterbury,Ne., and 12th grade at Dakota City, Ne. Dad pastored various Friends churches, finishing up in Elk Valley. When they felt their work was finished there, they found no other churches he felt he should pastor, so he returned to carpentering which had been his vocation before he entered the ministry. In their search for a house, they found the Methodist parsoange in Dakota City for rent. We moved to Dakota City in the fall of 1930. The pastorate became vacant, so with the consent of the Nebraska Conference, the church board called Dad to finish the year as pastor. He was reassigned to the Dakota City and Homer churches, and served there until 1934. With the exception of a few years, he served as a Methodist minister for the rest of his life.After graduation from Dakota City High School with the class of 1931, I was off to college for 2 years. I had hoped to teach in the fall of 1933, but there was no school for me. I started working at the Dakota County Court House in the County Clerk's office for Walter Miller. I spent the summer working on the tax books. These were bound books, so all entries-names, legal descriptions, evaluations, and tax amounts had to be written in longhand. The taxes were all figured on simple calculators and adding machines. When the books were finished, I worked in the County Treasurer's office. The following spring, I returned to the County Clerk's office as Deputy County Clerk, working there until I retired to marry Noel Heliker of Allen, Ne .Noel and I lived in Norfolk, Ne. where he worked for Clark Brother's Truck Lines, moved to Sioux City, Ia. in 1941, where Noel worked for Cook's Paints. Noel passed away in 1942, leaving me with two children to raise. I moved back to Dakota City, and Mom and Dad gave up the pastorate at Rosalie, Ne. to move to Dakota City to help me with the children. I re-entered the job market working at the PX (post exchange) at the Sioux City Air Base (World War II was in full swing at this time, and the Sioux City base was a major training center for bomber crews and fighter pilots). In May of 1943, the County Treasurer offered me a job at the Dakota County Court House. This was to be my work area for the next eight years. I was De;uty County Treasurer for several years, then moved to the County Welfare Office as a Case Worker. May 27th, 1951, Walter Miller and I were married in the Wausa Methodist Church, where Dad was the pastor. The children and I moved to Walter's farm 4 miles outside of Dakota City. That summer, I returned to school at Morningside College, and graduated with a degree in Education. I taught 7th and 8th grades in Dakot City for several years. In 1957, I accepted a contract to teach in the Sioux City Public Schools where I worked until retirement.The move to the farm necessitated some changes and adjustments. Bob continuedto attend school at Dakota City High School. He needed a school permit to drive to school, so the anxiety of boy plus car came early. He graduated in 1955. Jeanette transferred to Meridian School for her fourth through eighth grades. She graduated from South Sioux City High School in 1959. After Dad's death Dec 2, 1959, at Wausa, Ne., Mother moved back to South Sioux City to be near us. Her life had been dedicated to the church. She was anactive member of the St. Paul's Methodist Church in South Sioux City until her health made it necessary to move to Sunrise Manor in Sioux City, Ia. She passed away there Febr. 6th, 1974 at the age of 88.In 1960, Walter sold the farm to Earl McLaughlin. We moved to the Hansen Apartments in South Sioux City. We were the first occupants and it was a thrill to move into a new home. Walter served as Clerk of the District Court until his death Aug. 12, 1963 I remained in South Sioux City until June of1968, when I moved to Sioux City, Ia. to be closer to my work .I retired in June of 1979 after 27 years of teaching; 6 years in Dakota City,and 21 years in Sioux City.
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