Rosenhoff North School

Rosenhoff North School Reminiscings

Built in 1927, it served the community 1968.


I started at the brand new North School at age 7. Miss. Margaret Remple (1927 was boarding at Abram D. Loewens, was my first teacher. Miss Marg. Rempel was a very nice to teach me. I had difficulties learning but she helped me get A's.

I don't recall much of Mr. Willems except that he wasn't willing to take time with the slower learners.

Mr. C.L. Toews was a very good Christian teacher and we had him for several years, with Peter Wiebe inbetween. He taught us many songs that he composed himself and many other great songs. We sometimes went singing at people's places. We all would pile into his small car, on the hood and trunk and he drove slowly to our destination. We even sang at the Holdeman church of which he was a member. He was a very loving teacher. My birthday was October 22, the same as his. Years after school ended he still called and wished me a "Happy Birthday".

Peter Wiebe was a very young man when he came to teach us. He would stand by the windows and look toward Agnes Brandt at the Henry F. Brandt place, although what he could see we didn't know. We knew he was in love and he could hardly think of teaching us. He paid little attention to any of us and so we took advantage of the situation. His careless teaching style led to much lying and cheating on the part of the students. Several of us had gone to Flowery Bank school D.V.B.S., the Harms family, the Dave F. Friesen boys, the John K. Dueck family and the John Peters family that lived close to our place. We were convicted of our sinful school year and so toward the end of the year we went to the outhouse and convinced many students to make it right with Mr. Wiebe, in order to keep our salvation. So on picnic day we all went and confessed and it was a real great ending in a bad year.

Seb Rieger was also a nice Christian school teacher. He ran choir practises for young people's and had beautiful Easter programs. I enjoyed the music but geography and arithmetic weren't easy subjects for me! Besides the obvious schoolwork, Mr. Rieger taught us to be kind to one another. Many of us were very poor and he tried to keep the teasing to a minimum. Seb Rieger always said, "When the clothes are clean it doesn't matter how many patches there are." We took a sewing circle in school with Mrs. Rieger and learned to darn too. Many of us were relieved to do our own sewing. We could finally design clothes the way we wanted to, instead of what our mothers scarcely had time for. We even had a Mrs. McCormick, from the city, come and judge us. I got an A in sewing too! In return for teaching us we gave her a pink Depression glass pitcher with tumblers and the fruit dish with nappies.

Dick Eidse was like a father to all of us girls and protected all of us when boys would be rough. We had a hockey rink on the school yard and he taught all of us to pleasure skate! The boys worked hard at the beginning of winter making high slides with snow blocks coated with ice. We slid with toboggans and sleighs, which we brought from home. We played football and baseball and ante over in the summertime.

Once the South school played a joke on us. All the South school children came walking along the road and snuck up to the North end of our school. Mr. Suderman, their teacher, and them banged on the wall with both fists - all 30 kids. The schoolhouse shook and we thought it was an earthquake. We were terrified. We always planned to revenge ourselves but I don't know if we did.

Helen Kroeker and I were seatmates all though school until we were both 14 and quit. The boys in our class were Nick Eidse, George B. Dueck, Andrew Eidse, and Henry Rosche.

Our family usually had mashed potatoes or brown lard sandwiches. We drank black prips or postum most of the time. Other lunches I remember were Annie and Mary had fried egg sandwiches that were over an inch thick and black cold coffee. They had wax paper around it so no one could see their sandwiches. Dick Eidse always brought a pint of thick Jersey milk and drank it!

The event that stands out most in my memory is when my younger brother broke his arm jumping off the barn door at school when he was twelve. I enjoyed my years at school, except we were teased a lot about our poor clothing.


Mary and I were 7 years old when we began school in the one-year old North School and we were called Beginners. Our first teacher was C. L. Toews. In grade 1 we had Pete Wiebe from Grunthal since Mr. Toews took off a year for Normal School. Then we had Mr. Toews again for grades 2-4. Mr. Seb Rieger was our teacher in grades 5, 6 , 7 and part of 8.

We walked to school most of the time, except in winter when it was very stormy. Then Jess, our horse, and the cutter took us home. In later years C.K. Eidses sometimes took us along with their bob-sleigh.

These were the "Dirty Thirties" and the Depression was very real to us. Our parents had spent most of their savings helping sister-in-law Anna's family across from Russia and took a financial hit just as the economy failed. Due to the lack of money, Mary and I couldn't dress identically as we liked. Our clothes came from thrift shops and ends of cloth and the school children teased us a bit about being dressed differently. We felt so conspicuous being twins and looking different from each other. We had to wear thick brown home-knitted wool stockings and when it rained, they'd get wet and very itchy. I especially hated them because of my skin allergies. We wore aviation helmets in the winter to cover our ears. One pair of shoes in summer and one pair in winter was all that could be provided. Altogether the mode of dress was ugly.

It was very dusty in the school since our indoor shoes were our outdoor shoes in both summer and winter. To keep the dust down we had to put a certain green soap on the floor, which had oil in it and we had to drag the broom. Our teacher taught us the correct way to sweep - keeping the soil on the floor not up in the air. We did have indoor toilet facilities close to the cloakroom. Our schoolroom was very cozy and tended to be on the warm side throughout the varying seasons. We always took lunches along and often shared our apples with students whose families were worse off financially than ours. We couldn't resist their longing looks at our tasty apples, which were a luxury for many.

The day began with either "O Canada" or "God Save the King". At the north end of the school was a picture of the King and Queen. The two large blackboards were to the east and the west wall had several windows. The south wall had the entrance. Mary and I always shared a two-seater desk all throughout our school years, though singles were available. The only exception was the one week when she was at home sick with a severe cold. During that time Annie L. Kroeker had permission to sit with me. It was a difficult week for me as I was fearful that Mary would die. Our classmates were Tina F. Eidse, Jake P. Siemens, Pete S. Friesen, Henry K. Dueck, Nick K. Friesen, Willie B. Dueck, and Jake H. Klassen.

All subjects except Catechism were conducted in English and Mary and I found it difficult to learn because of this. At recess all of us children spoke Low German to each other and so never progressed well in English, until we had Mr. Rieger as our teacher. He was quite strict about English all day, even at recess, and so finally we grasped the language.

We did a lot of work on catechism and Bible study with Mr. Rieger and there was a very long German verse about the attributes of God we had to recite. In order to learn it well we had to stay in at recess. We stood beside our desks to recite the catechism.

I enjoyed spelling, but reading wasn't my favourite pastime. We printed with our pens, which we dipped in the inkwells carefully. New nibs were required from time to time. I spent much time drawing and doing artwork until my excema didn't allow for it anymore. In grade 7 we had several art classes.

Henry Harms always begged me to help him read. Since then he has far surpassed me in education and training and I'm tickled to think perhaps I played a small part in it! To the last years Willie Dueck and Jake Klassen sat in front of us and they were jokesters and didn't take school very seriously. It distracted Mary and I quite a bit. Jake quit at Easter, which improved our attention to the teacher a fair bit.

Recess breaks were fun and we played softball in summer and in winter soccer. I can't recall what we did when it was too stormy outside. Our school picnics were sometimes held in Aubigny on the other side of the river. Otherwise we had our picnics close to where Gary and Deb Kroeker live towards the river.

A dramatic event I remember is when King George V passed away. His funeral was broadcast on the BBC on our 13th birthday, January 28, 1936. Mr. Rieger informed us of it. Only several months earlier we had seen the King and Queen at Whittier Park in Winnipeg on their visit to Manitoba.

The last 3 years we were in school, Mr. Regier offered to give anyone a quarter who had perfect attendance. Mary and I succeeded. He paid up and he said he'd double it if we did it again the following year! With the fifty cents, at age 13, we bought light-peach pantyhose for the first time in our lives. What a luxury they were after the years of heavy wool stockings. They lasted many years. The third year we each got 75 cents for perfect attendance. That year we almost missed at Christmas because of sore throats and earache, but we swallowed hard and perservered with prayer. Mary and I had a weakness for bunnies and I think we each purchased one. Mary's was a little clay blue-grey mother bunny with spots and several baby bunnies crouched at her feet. I got the father, a white rabbit that was standing up on his hind legs - about 2 inches high. We delighted in them. I wonder - where did they go - these treasures of our youth?

We quit school when we were 14 of our own choice. If we had wanted to become a nurse or teacher then we would have been allowed to continue by our father. I had hoped to become a nurse but again my exzema made it an impossibility. Mary had always wanted to be a homemaker enjoying the outdoors, raising a garden and planting trees and we both got her wish. And oh how we worked in our gardens, sometimes more from necessity later on than out of love. Altogether we enjoyed our school years and our teachers did a good job at Rosenhoff North School.

MRS. CORNIE LOEWEN nee Tina Eidse 1928-

Rosenhoff North School

Christmas at school was also lots of fun and hard work. We began practicing for our school Christmas program the first week of December and spent almost every minute of every day rehearsing the many verses and stories that were to be told on that special afternoon or evening. Our beloved teacher, Mr. Rieger would drill us till we were almost exhausted! These verses were always in High German as well.

Shortly before that big day arrived, we would all get the chance to decorate the school for that special event. Mr Rieger would clean all the blackboards (and there were six of them) and somehow, magically it seemed, when we would arrive at school the next day there would be beautiful murals on each of the blackboards. At the front of the class were three chalkboards and on the one to the left was a beautiful colored chalk drawing of Bethlehem town with the star overhead! To the far right was another almost life size mural of the camels and wisemen in all their finery bearing gifts from afar. Then the most magnificent mural of all was in the center and it told the simple but heart warming story of the Christ child, born in a lowly manger with Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds gathered around in complete awe. And of course the farm-girl in me can't forget all the animals. The homely, humble cow, the delicate, curly-haired, white sheep and after the long journey to Bethlehem, the rather exhausted looking donkey with its floppy ears! As I think back now I realize Mr. Rieger probably used Christmas cards as his basis for the magnificent artwork! The three other blackboards were covered with various Christmas scenes that could have been done by Currier and Ives themselves. (Or so my young mind would have had me believe.) Our admiration for him only deepened with this visual delight. Thus the scene was set for us to begin our decorating touch to the classroom.

We hung up red and white streamers from corner to corner in the classroom and then highlighted them with a huge red bell in the center of the room and many small white, green, or golden bells scattered along the chains of streamers! During this time Mr. Rieger would add the final touches to the murals on the board by drawing a variety of different brightly-colored bells all along the top of the blackboard to provide an exquisite border. We were always very proud of the blaze of color that would greet the eyes of our parents when they would enter this Christmas wonderland for our program. (Keep in mind that very few families in Rosenort and Rosenhoff actually would be frivolous enough to put up any type of Christmas decorations.)

The programs in my earliest recollection took place in the afternoon, but later on we switched to the evenings. During those evenings before electricity, it was necessary to provide some type of lighting and ours was provided by somewhat tarnished brass and glass mantle lamps that hung from the ceiling and were carefully lit by our teacher when it became to dark to see. Mr. Rieger also built the stage at the front of the classroom. Then the parents would arrive and all of us kids would be dressed in our best and the black pot-bellied stove would be stoked up and the program would begin. The little ones began with the same verse year after year. "Ich bin klein, Mein herz ist rein, Sol niemand darin wohnen, Als Jesus allein. Amen." This translated means I am small, my heart is clean, No one will live in it, but Jesus alone!" Then gradually the older children would all recite verses too! Even the pre-kindergartners were supposed to come up and say verses because any one that said them would receive the greatest prize of all. The traditional "tutje"! Year after year children would work towards this gift and much to me and my brother Abie's chagrin there would always be some terrified children that would be completely humiliated because the fear of crowds drove them to wetting of their behinds! That of course is another story entirely and really not worthy of being told...

We didn't have Christmas parties as such at school however I distinctly remember Mr. Rieger giving us each "The BIG, BIG Coloring Book with 26 crayons." At school we also had Christmas box and through that I received my worst Christmas gift. It was one of those silver tricky triangle puzzler games where you are supposed to somehow take the three triangles apart. This particular gift only managed to give me a feeling of stupidity and I threw it away after a few unsuccessful attempts at solving it.


ROSENHOFF NORTH Reminiscing 1948-1952

My memory of Rosenhoff North begins with the fall of 1948. From the obscurity of the little school district of Clover Plains into the center of "civilization"! I was then in grade 7, but already I felt as part of the 'big brass'. Of course with big George Eidse around, I had to tread carefully. To tangle with him meant hit-and-run at best, since there was no future for me in it for me in an all-out showdown. Seriously these were joyful times - especially the soccer and baseball (softball?) games at recess time. We had to be content with recess time competition, of course, inter-school competition being forbidden by the board. But we looked forward eagerly to the baseball game at the annual picnic against the out-of-school and oldtimers. For some reason that competition was not wrong.


o the essays we had to write for Mr. Dick B. Eidse?

o the 1950 flood? Who could forget the excitement of such a long unexpected holiday? With rafting and boating thrown in for free?

o the girls 'standing' as defense in soccer? Sometimes they even stopped the ball!

Dave Harms, lunch pail swinging gleefully, leaving school during last recess - for good?

Mr. Rempel teaching Katechismus - all those practical illustrations from real life?

Biblische Geschichte - relating the story in good German to prove you knew it - and staying after four because you couldn't?

the brand new Shopsmith Mr. Rempel bought and allowed us to use -under close supervision of course?

- John Kornelsen

MRS. PEARL PLETT NEE DUECK 1937- Rosenhoff North

What excitement and preparation went into the annual Christmas programs. Fifty cent gifts from the teacher involved much searching in the Eatons catalogue. The gift I most distinctly was a white lacy handkerchief. Christmas programs were great family events where all school children and preschoolers received "tootjes".

Picnics: The year-end school picnic caused great excitement. This involved meeting school kids from S.D. as well as N.D. We had great fun playing ball, relays, races, etc.and ice cream was free for all. All the families enjoyed the picnic lunches they brought.

Sewing; I believe I learned most of my sewing and craft abilities from Elfrieda Rempel (Doerksen). She spent hours teaching us all the ins and outs of handwork. I'm sure she credit for many women today being able to sew. A "Thank-you" to Elfrieda for her service to us girls.

Vocations: During my year in Gr. 8, Mr. Dick B. Eidse came to school one day and 1 us to write an essay on "My Vocation". At that time I wrote "On Being a Seamstress" (probably through Elfrieda's influence). Although I have changed my thoughts on the vocation I would like to enter, I think it gave us kids some time to think about our future, about further training and generally planning what would happen to us after school. We even got 25-cent prizes, which at that time was quite an instigator for us to write an essay. - -Pearl Plett


Minola, now living in Steinbach, was born to her parents Dick & Anna Eidse, in 1937 and grew up on her parents farm, half a mile north of Riverside Store. She started school in September 1943 but came home crying because there was no space for her until the district would build a second room to the Rosenhoff North school. This expansion happened during the spring and summer of 1944, when the one-room school was moved to a new site on the same schoolyard and another room added to it.

Her first teacher was Miss Helen Pankratz 1944-45, one year; Miss Eleanor Nuefeld 1945-48, three years; Mr. Peter J. Remple 1948-52, four years. Then she was out of school until January 1956, at which time she went back to school and took her grade nine and ten in one year by correspondence, with Mr. P. J. Remple's assistance. In January, 1957, she went into nurses training at M.T.I, in Winnipeg. During the year of correspondence studies, she was still sorry that Mr. Jac Janzen had to send her, and some other youngsters home, because there was no space for them in school.


Helen was born to the Peter D. Harms family of Rosenhoff in 1938, the eleventh of twelve children. She attended Rosenhoff South and Rosenhoff North School in the 1940's. The following is excerpted from an interview notes on Rosenort: A Mennonite Community 2.

"My teacher from Grade 1-3 was Mr. George Goosen, (South) then a Mr. Jansen (North) and later some lady teachers. There were grades one to eight (in one room). We usually had Bible reading and a prayer in the morning before classes. At that time when the bell rang you sat down in your seat and you stayed at your desk until the next recess, unless the teacher called the whole class up for reading or something. Other than that we didn't walk around or work in groups. You'd sit unless you were reading. Then you'd stand beside your desk. Usually if we were caught whispering or talking we were punished.

I learned to embroider when I was in Grade 1. Many winters I did a lot of embroidery. One of our teachers taught us to do a crossstitch on a burlap sack. And we made beautiful pillow tops out of them. Then later I learned to crochet.

We lived a mile and a half away from school. In winter, Dad would hitch up the horses with the sleigh and take us to school that way. In school (Christmas) was really exciting because we always got to put on a real terrific program. Dialogues, plays, etc. So we practiced for this for months. Then all the parents were invited, and all the parents came. Everyone did ! We always got a gift from the teacher and a bag of goodies, which was loaded with peanuts, some candies and usually a big apple.

We usually had a tobogganing party one a year. I think this usually happened on Valentine's Day. That day we always brought a special lunch with special lunch with special goodies and we all had lunch together. The school picnic was THE occasion. In those days, soft drinks and ice-cream were uncommon, and this was the day we would get a good feed of ice-cream and then kool-aid. Then we also had a nice program for school closing. One song we always sang was, "Happy School Days".

Copyright 2001 Lorilee Scharfenberg.