|Rolfe Alumni Essay|
|Berniece Ricklefs Sedlacek
Storm Lake, Iowa
Rolfe High School Class of 1936
Rolfe, a proud old town with many prominent and productive people.
Rolfe was my beginning, became my place of education and growing up, and continues to hold warm remembrances of contacts with family and friends who live there.
My twin brother, Bernard, and I were born at my grandparents' (Bendixen) home, south of Rolfe, while my father, John Ricklefs, was away during World War I. Upon his return, we left for several years, but later moved to our new Rolfe farm bought at the end of those "Roaring Twenties." It was a shock to go into the Great Depression which meant a tremendous reassessment and some changes of lifestyle for most in those trying days.
Country school was the introduction to learning and growth and interchange with new friends in our community. It was from there to the fond memories and influences of Rolfe High School. We were a class of 33 graduating in 1936.
So many fine teachers guided us in our studies, leading us to decisions for future life. All the while we were shown strict rules for conduct and study under the direction of Miss Edna Marcum, our principal. She was both feared and admired. Her English literature classes left us with a love of early day writings. We also had the benefit of the strong administrative style of Superintendent M.D. Anderson. Our school was a success and looked up to by many neighboring towns. Miss Clara Hendricksen was one of my favorite teachers who taught us freshman English and all classes leading to the acquiring of our teaching certificates. Miss Helen Tiedeman of Fonda was exemplary and exacting in her teaching of Latin, a subject I liked much. A dear lady in our freshman year who taught home economics was Miss Sulgrove. I can still smell the gas from those old-fashioned gas burners used for our classroom assignments.
Graduation meant departure and making our way in life. I chose teaching and enjoyed all four years in rural Garfield #7, Pocahontas County. Enjoyed, that is, everything except the janitorial work that was endured to keep us comfortable. The deep appreciation of students and their parents was heart-warming when it came time to say "good-bye."
I left teaching in 1941 when I married Al Sedlacek and moved to Pocahontas onto the family farms. My 48 years there included helping Al and raising my family and sending them on their way. Jon is an attorney at Blair, Nebraska; Sally a very successful interior designer in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Joel, who lives across the lake from me here at Storm Lake, is a representative for the LaFarge Cement Company out of Kansas City. There are six grand-children.
My life was full and enjoyable at Pocahontas. I became involved with Brownie Scouts and the county extension program, participating on its council and with women's groups and working 23 years in 4-H, including 10 years as a leader. I was also active in the Make It With Wool Contest. Teaching night school classes and participating in classes of art instruction gave life an interesting spin. I taught high school home economics and art at Pocahontas Catholic High in 1967.
My move here to Storm Lake, Iowa, after Al's death in 1987, was into a new condo by the shore of the lake. This was adjustment from a good-sized country home to smaller spaces. Life here has been a challenge for making new friends and associations in a large city at an older age.
I do much volunteer work with the historical society, Harker House as guide, and at the community hospital as well as enjoying a good game of bridge with my friends. Twenty-one winters have been spent in Scottsdale near Sally and her family.
I still enjoy some of my Rolfe High friends through letters and personal contacts. We must all meet each other again at the "All School Reunion of 2000" - do come!