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Forum: "Memories Are Made Of These"

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Created on: 06/02/11 02:54 PM Views: 5108 Replies: 5
Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2011 09:54 AM

           Hello Classmates, Joe Childs here with a message for all.  Over the many years since our Class launched our graduation caps into the Iowa air and stepped out of those MHS gowns and into the world, I have had no communication with any of our Classmates or attended any Class Functions.  Very often I gave thought about many of my classmates, that grand structure on 11th St and all the wonderful times and experiences I had growing up with some of the finest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.   About 2 years ago, I finally realized how much I have been missing by not re-connecting with my Classmates and decided to begin to rectify that foolish mistake.   I started by checking out our Class Web site on a regular basis.  I soon learned that thanks to Vic Hellberg, our Class web site was one to not only be admired but indeed a standard to be emulated.   With a gold mine of class information I started to reacquaint myself with my Class and my Classmates.  On one of my site visits, I learned about the very 1st. Class Bar B Q to take place in August of 2010.  It was then that I decided to travel to that Class event and begin to make the re-connection process to as many Classmates as I possibly could.  

To those who attended that 1st annual Barbie, you know it was beyond belief.  That incredible experience gave me a new focus on getting involved with our class to assist in any way possible and make every effort to awaken and energize those Classmates who have not reconnected with our class, to do so!  One effort is our Class of 64 Cookbook, “THRU THE KITCHEN DOOR WITH THE CLASS OF 64”   Cookbook Title offered by Sally Chard Kosnik.  This fun project (intended to generate funds for our Class) has created interest with many established Classmates as well as enlisting many new Classmates. These Classmates have gotten involved by offering up really COOL recipes.  Many also contributed pictures and stories of our school years, which will be fused with the recipes. 

 

As the Cookbook begin to develop another Project “Memories Are Made of These” Title offered by Linda Sellers-Goodwin, begin to materialize. “Memories Are Made of These” will be formulated from Classmate stories as well as other informative stories on Classmates themselves.

 

The very FIRST story from “Memories Are Made of These” is from Linda Sellers-Goodwin, and posted below.  When I read Linda’s story, I immediately was thrust back in time to a field in 1962.  With each word she wrote, my mind began to give up more and more of those stored memories until my vision of those days became more and more vivid.  My hopes are that during the months ahead, you too will enjoy these brief stories, ones that will transport you to those wonderful days of our past as well as, inform you of some of the wonderful things some of our Classmates have accomplished and, in doing so made MHS and our Class of 64 Shine.  I beg ALL 64 CLASSMATES who have not re-connected with our Class to do so!  Here is your opportunity to revisit some of the best times of our lives and make our Class whole again.  If you have a Class story or picture, one that may open a memory door of those special days, THEN PLEASE send it to me @  jcchilds@cox.net or call me 480-907-9920.  After sending each story to all listed Classmates, they will be posted to the FORUM section (“Memories Are Made of These”) of the Class Web Site. 

 

“Memories Are Made of These” 

Memory number ONE…

 

Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun

By Linda Goodwin

I was born and reared in Marshalltown, Iowa, in the heart of tall corn country.  I grew up in the “city” (population 25,000), but we were surrounded by rolling lands covered with cornfields (and pig farms, but we don’t publicize that, for obvious reasons).

Each year in mid- to late July, various seed companies would put out the call that they were hiring corn detasselers for a few weeks’ work in August.

Because there weren’t many jobs for teen-age girls in 1962, and my skills consisted mainly of baby-sitting, this was worth investigating.

The only requirement was that you had to be at least 16 years old.  So many teen-agers who wanted to earn extra spending money took most of the detasseling jobs.

We reported to a street corner at the crack of dawn to be picked up and transported to the site.  Getting up early wasn’t much fun, but we finished in mid-afternoon.  I packed a lunch and soon found out it was best to wear a swimsuit under my work clothes.  This definitely was not a glamour job, but it was a good way to get a tan in a state with very few beaches.

There were five detasselers to a crew, and we climbed on board a machine that looked like a tractor with a flatbed on front.  There were five points at which to stand and a curved railing to hold on to and lean over.  Each person was positioned so he or she had one row to detassel.

As the driver took us down the rows of corn plants, we pulled off the tassels at the top of the stalks and dropped them on the ground as part of the cross-pollination process.  We worked about eight hours, taking breaks and eating lunch in the shade of the corn.

The worst thing we had to deal with were wormy tassels, and rain.  Detasseling after it had rained was the worst, because the rain made the leaves like razor blades, and we would end up with cuts on our arms and legs.

I got a great tan and had a ball buying a school wardrobe for my junior year in high school.  The job taught me to plan ahead and follow a budget.

I experienced the joy of reaching a goal and the thrill of spending money I had earned on my own.

 

 
RE: Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2011 08:40 PM

Nicely said, Joe!  Thank you for your kind words.  And speaking of "words", you have a wonderful way of putting them together in a meaningful way.  You are a great addition to administering our site. 

Vic

 
RE: Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 01:28 PM

Hi Classmates, here are a few responses to Linda's memory jogger from

Jeanne Davis Janssen

Leo Draegert

 

 

Hi Joe,
 
I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for your recent email regarding Memories Are Made of These. I think it is a wonderful idea! I have been enjoying all the postings at our class website and appreciate the work  by all involved. It is especially fun to view the pictures that are posted. I am glad to see I am not the only one aging "gracefully". I very much enjoyed Linda's memories and found it bringing back ones of my own.
 
Thanks for the great ideas and for your devotion to keeping the Class of 64 alive!
 
Jeanne Davis Janssen

 

 

Joe

Talk about sparking memories! Yep that memory Linda shared brought it back for me. Remember all the hazing that went on when we went from ninth grade to high school? Yep you guessed it that is where I got my pants removed in the back of an all boys De tasseling truck on the way back after a long day of walking the rows.

  I however did not go down with out a fight! I remember I kicked one of the dudes in the face and when he got my pants off he was going to throw them over the side of the truck. I said, as I was standing there in my under ware to go ahead, but if he did he would be going right after them. I think he believed me as he gave them back. Then I noticed that there were a car load of girls behind following the truck laughing as I was trying to put my pants back on. How embarrassing that was!

  From then on I spent my time bailing hay, painting barns, mowing lawns, cutting pigs, and such to earn gas money to drive or ride to school with. Living on second avenue it was a long walk to Senior High school. I also shared the ride with several others using Dads car.

What memories! We can laugh now, but then it was building character on the way to man hood. Leo IHS

 

 

 
Edited 06/14/11 02:08 PM
RE: Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun by Linda Sellers Goodwin
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 12:33 PM

Linda -- your wonderful detasseling story resonated with me.  I started detasseling the summer I was 12 or 13 and did it for six years:  2 years on a large crew (20 or so girls walking the fields together with lots of laughing and hijinks); 2 years on a machine crew with 5 others, like Linda describes; 2 years solo contracting where I was assigned my own 4 acres and it was my responsibility to get there and get the job done -- on time and on my own any way I could manage.  Detasseling is where I heard my first swear words even though I never repeated them, learned a bit about sex (not all correct), laughed a lot, and made precious money to help buy clothes for school. I lied about my height in order to start on a ground crew -- so did many others;  there was an exception to the child labor laws that allowed seasonal work for those under age 16. When next I am in the US, I hope to digitize a photo of me and my machine crew from one summer -- we had amazing tans, just as Linda says. When I did solo contracting I had so much more energy than today; at that time I would detassel from 5:00 a.m. to about 1:00 pm (including waking and driving to/from), shower and get to my 3-to-11 p.m. shift as a nurse's aide at the Iowa Soldiers Home, and then go out on a late date!  Those were the days.  For some years afterwards, one of my recurring nightmares was green, knife-sharp corn leaves on stalks filling my entire visual field while moving past me relentlessly -- shudder.  I am not sure that detasseling exists any more -- certainly my non-Iowa friends have difficulty comprehending the job. It was back-breakingly hard, dirty, sweaty labor that reinforced the goal of applying myself at school for a better future. Thanks, again, for sharing these memories.

Maureen  

 
Edited 08/16/11 05:08 AM
RE: Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun by Linda Sellers Goodwin
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 12:42 PM

Wow, Maureen,

     What I knew of you in our school days would never have led me to believe you would be putting in days like you describe! Sounds like you spent some intense summers! Thanks for sharing.

Terry & Pat Lampel

 
RE: Corn detasseler couldn’t shuck fun by Linda Sellers Goodwin
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2012 10:11 PM

I just posted some detasseling photos in the class galleries, under my name. Maureen