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Mother-daughter alumni . . . Two generations of Berthold High School
graduates, with mother Valda (Hansen) Schwede, Class of 1932,
and daughter Judith (Schwede) Deaver, Class of 1963.
A long memory . . . Daisy (Hansen) Buen, Class of 1934, will be
recognized during Berthold's July 4th parade as one of the school's
early graduates. She is the last surviving member of her class of 14 students.
By Caroline Downs
Sisters Valda (Hansen) Schwede, Class of 1932, and Daisy (Hansen) Buen, Class of 1934, are among the earliest Berthold High School graduates with memories to share at the All-School Reunion planned for July 4-6.
They are also the daughters of one of the school’s most popular staff members, janitor Mel Hansen, who served as caretaker of the school from 1922 to 1950.
“He took pride in what he did,” Daisy said.
In fact, Mel has been described in the school’s history as one of the “...most remembered people by all of the students....His work as a janitor was second to his role of peacemaker, confidant, nursemaid and friend to all the students.”
Daisy assisted her father with work at the school, especially in the library, during the summers and after she graduated. She recalled his office in the basement, complete with a bed so he could spend nights there during the winters to keep the coal furnaces going.
“Teachers would send the kids down there if they were sick,” she said. “He probably helped with more homework than the teachers did, and his office was always the most popular room in the school.”
The Hansens moved to Berthold when Valda was two, and younger siblings Daisy and Johnny (Class of 1936) were born there. The family had a house in town at the end of Main Street. “Some of the [students] who lived in the country stayed at our place while they went to school,” Daisy said, adding that everyone got along with each other in her class of 14. “We were all friends.”
Valda enjoyed her classes at Berthold Public School, especially physical education and band, where she participated all four years. “I had lots of friends,” she said, listing Helen Berg, Thelma Moger, Margaret Carlin and cousin Iona Arnold as some of her closest classmates.
She acted in both the junior and senior class plays, but one of her favorite activities was girls basketball. “I liked the games, so I thought I’d play,” she said. “They asked me to. I was captain.”
Valda played on the team for four years, competing against teams from around the region and wearing the classic black “bloomers” and white blouse that served as the uniform.
Daisy later joined the team and talked about the crowds that came to cheer the girls’ games, followed by the boys teams, through the winter season. “The name ‘Bombers’ came later,” she said. “They just used the name of the town then.”
She laughed about the old uniforms, which posed a problem for the girls. “With those bloomers, you had to be careful,” she said. “They just had one button, and if that came undone, they could fall down!”
During her years on the team, the school adopted a purple and gold uniform, with numbers to identify the players.
“Basketball was the main thing for the girls,” she said. “That was the only recreation they had for girls then.”
She enjoyed the team’s games on the road and recalled spending the night after a game in Tioga. “There were no busses to take the teams anywhere then,” she said. “Private citizens did. Our postmaster would drive us. He and his wife didn’t have children, but he would take us to games.”
Daisy did not follow her sister’s lead in the school’s band or choir, but she did enjoy acting in the class plays. “In the senior play, I was the main character,” she said, then laughed. “I could be loud!”
She talked about other activities with her classmates, too, including picnics in the Berthold and Minot parks, nights spent playing games together, and dances at the old Odd Fellows Hall in town. “I think I’m the last survivor of our class now,” she said.
Valda married shortly after graduating. She met Floyd Schwede of the Hartland area at a local party. “He gave me a diamond when I graduated,” she said.
The Schwedes farmed near Hartland, then moved to Albany, Oregon, for a while before returning to Berthold, where they purchased a farm and raised their children Melvin, Gerald and Judith.
Judy (Schwede) Deaver graduated from Berthold High School in 1962. “We were the last class in the old school,” she said.
She did not follow her mother and aunt onto the basketball court, but she did play clarinet and several other instruments in the school band, along with singing in the choir. She also supported the sports teams as a cheerleader some years and served as a class officer and student council member.
“We had good teachers all the way through and a good education,” Judy said about Berthold’s school.
Judy married Gary Deaver soon after graduation. The couple farmed in the Berthold area, and their four children graduated from the “new” school in Berthold, which opened in 1963. Today, Judy enjoys her children and seven grandchildren.
Valda moved from Berthold to Minot a number of years ago and lives at Trinity Nursing Homes today. As the grandmother of 12 children and great-grandmother of 10, she surrounds herself with a collection of photos spanning the generations of her family.
Daisy’s life changed about a month before she graduated in 1934 when her mother, Ora Hansen, passed away. “I stayed home with my dad then and kept house for them,” she said about caring for her father and younger brother for the next few years.
She started dating Ken Buen when she was 19, although she had known him as a classmate of Valda’s. The two eventually married and farmed until they retired and moved into Berthold. Daisy still lives in the couple’s house on Main Street, although nephews help her with the yard work.
Reunion plans for
Valda and Daisy
At nearly 99 years of age, Valda did not plan to attend the Berthold All-School Reunion. However, Judy, a Minot resident now, intended to see her friends during the celebration. “My class plans on getting together,” she said. “We celebrated our 50th last year, but some of them said they’d be coming back this year.”
Daisy has been acting as a consultant for the All-School Reunion, sharing stories and information with Gen Hall, one of the reunion organizers. She will also be riding a float in the parade to be recognized as one of the school’s oldest graduates.
She hopes to see many Berthold graduates return for the festivities. “It’s important for people to come to renew old acquaintances and see how the town has grown,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. There will be a lot of people I never see otherwise!”
Berthold’s annual Fourth of July Parade, with a special nod to the school’s graduates from the past 100 years, will take place Thursday on Main Street, beginning at 10:30 am. Reunion activities continue Friday and Saturday, with registration and information available at the school on July 5th.