|Rolfe Alumni Essay|
|Memories of Rolfe, Iowa
Anita Miller Beckord
1430 Elmhurst Drive; Longmont, Colorado 80503
Rolfe High School Class of 1936
I was born in Havelock, Iowa on April 16, 1919. When I was five years old, my parents, George and Sarah Miller, moved to Rolfe. I lived there 55 years so I saw many changes.
I graduated from Rolfe High School in 1936 and started teaching in Roosevelt #2 country school for 3 years, having eight grades to teach and wages at $65 a month. That was quite a challenge.
George Beckord came to Rolfe from Nebraska in 1937 and started working for a chain hatchery in Rolfe. After a courtship of 3 years, we decided to get married and he would start a hatchery of his own. So the Beckord Hatchery was formed, and we were in business 40 years. In 1979, George and I retired and moved to our Mountain Home in Estes Park, Colorado.
I have many wonderful memories of my classmates. We were in the "great depression" so most activities were done right in Rolfe as we didn't have money or cars to go out of town. There were 33 members in my class and some of us have remained close friends through the years.
Some of the special memories were the grade and high school operettas, Junior and Senior class plays --- all the music contests in sub-districts and districts, state and national contests. Under the direction of Miss Inez Archer, we had a wonderful orchestra, receiving First Place in national competition in Madison, Wisconsin. We made the trip on a train.
And what great basketball games we went to! Who could ever forget the wonderful 1935 team of Al Budolphson, Keith Pickard, Don Cornwell, Lawrence Kennedy and Bob Watts! If you couldn't drive to Des Moines to watch them play in the state tournament, it was broadcast on the radio -- there were no televisions at that time. All of Rolfe was supportive.
We had five children Sydney, Bruce, Donald, Sara Jane and John. We were blessed with 14 grandchildren - 7 boys and 7 girls.
Rolfe was a great place to raise our family. At one time, we could get all the supplies we needed. On Saturday nights, if you wanted to sit in your car and watch the people walk by, you had to park your car in your favorite spot on Main Street in the afternoon. All the stores stayed open on Saturday night.
Rolfe did many things as a community service during World War II. They were awarded for the many iron drives the country held. When the war was declared over, the church bells chimed -- most people went to church and then there was a big dance down Main Street that evening.
We were members of the Rolfe Presbyterian Church. I was organist for 20 years and also taught Sunday School. I was treasurer of the U.P.W. and was in charge of Sunday floral decorations for many years. Our children were very active in the youth groups. Sara and Bruce were presidents of the group and Bruce was elected youth moderator of 64 Presbyterian Churches. What a shock it was when I learned the Church had been torn down!
The Beckord Hatchery was started in the fall of 1939, providing chicks for poultry men in Northwest Iowa. In 1960, we started producing eggs for Park Davis & Co. and these eggs were used to make human flu and measles vaccine. For this project, we built our business up to 50,000 layer hens with employment of 20 people. George was the manager, and I was the bookkeeper. We had a busy life. We felt we brought many people to Rolfe to do business.
Our children were all very athletic in school. But our daughter, Sara Beckord, was outstanding, running 800 meters in track. She was the first Iowa woman to run in the Olympic trials in California. She came in Fifth Place, the top four getting to go to the Olympic trials in Mexico. She was also the first Iowa woman inducted into the Iowa Hall of Fame. She kept us busy going to track meets all over the United States.
Bruce was also in track at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Between Bruce and Sara, we had someone running in the Drake Relays for nine years straight!
As of now, Syd is general manager of F.S. Energy in Sioux City, Iowa. Bruce is an Emergency Room doctor in Ridgecrest, California. He lives in Boulder, Colorado but commutes by plane. Sara is the Women's Track Coach at the University of Iowa. John also lives in Iowa City and is the President of the Chamber of Commerce.
George died October 30, 1996 and my son Donald passed away ten months later on August 30, 1997.
I go back to Rolfe a few days each summer. It is sad the way Main Street looks as it was such a busy place at one time. However, the homes are still beautiful and people keep up their yards, etc. My memories are of the older Rolfe, and I take pride in the fact that it was such a wonderful place to live and raise a family.