Inspiration to become a teacher came to Audree at an early age. In the 1930’s and 1940’s it was typical for teachers to live with area families close to the location of the school they taught in. Oswin and Eleanor Scott, Audree’s parents, had teachers stay with them and their five children on the 180 acre dairy farm in East Union that was homesteaded by her parents and grandparents.
Daily life on a dairy farm at the turn of the century was both rigorously demanding and, by some standards, simple in it’s nature. The constant farm chores of milking, tending to a herd of cattle and other animals, planting and harvesting crops with teams of horses and later tractors, meant long days of battling the weather. Winter brought snow storms and freezing temps. Milking cows by hand in the cold barn was more than a little chore. Scorching heat in the summer months proved just as difficult while harvesting the crops and caring for the farm animals.
Neighboring farm families helped each other with the harvesting, but daily chores were done by family members. Chores were shared by parents and Audree’s sisters, Shirley and Carol and brothers, Donald and Jerry so everyone was up early as there was work to do before the school bell rang.
Luckily for the Scott family, and the rest of Minnesota residents, Minnesota has equal days of beautiful weather with beautiful sunrises, cool and crisp sunny days and farming isn’t a 24/7 job winter or summer. Warm winter days also meant bundling up and skiing or sledding with cousins down the steep hills of East Union. More often than not, right down the middle of the road we now know as County Road #40. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic and there was a sentry posted to look out for horse and buggy travelers, or the occasional car or truck. Ice skating on local lakes and potholes also provided entertainment for cousins and friends. Board games and cards, along with hot chocolate and popcorn, were always good fun when visitors came.
Summer days offered the luxury of swimming in Bevens Creek, located on the farm site. Wild berries bursting with flavor were plentiful throughout the acreage, just waiting to be gathered for a quick snack and/or a cobbler or pie for supper later in the day. Harvested berries were also used to make jams and jellies for winter treats.
While in class in 2nd grade with Ms. Gertrude Tessman as teacher, Audree watched carefully as teacher printed the letters on the black board. Students were then encouraged to trace over the letter while reciting the letter aloud. It struck Audree as an easy way to learn, and she would remember that as an effective way to teach future students.
In 8th grade with Ms. Alma Cedarstrom as teacher, the assignment was to interview local Communiuty Business leaders to learn about the daily routine in their business and learn perhaps why they chose the profession they did. Each student had a business to contact and visit, Blacksmith, Minister, Teacher, Banker, Shop Owner etc. After completing their report, each student then shared his or her findings with the other class members. Ms. Cedarstrom was so impressed with the results that she entered the papers in the Minnesota State Fair. Imagine their pride when their reports garnered first place and a blue ribbon at that Fair. Audree reaffirmed her desire to become a teacher.
Too often the mindset of the time was that “men needed to be educated” but further education beyond High School wasn’t needed or encouraged for women. When the announcement was made that Audree wanted to attend the required two years of additional education to become a teacher, her father discouraged her, but Audree’s mom simply stated that “If Audree wants to go to school, she should do just that”. So off she went and at age 19, Audree graduated with a teacher’s degree. Her teaching career started in Brownton, Mn for a couple of years, then to Texas for a couple of years, then back to Carver, Mn, then to Shakopee and the last 25 years were spent in Eden Prairie. Thirty eight years were devoted to teaching enthusiastic 2nd grade students. Many of whom are still in contact with her today.
How can influence be measured in words? It simply cannot be…Audree’s natural artistic talent came alive in the classroom… Literature…how can you tell the area the writer or poet lived…if you look closely, the information can be found in the stories and poems they write…History…Where did the Artist live… what else was happening in the world at the time they lived…Mathematics…how many miles from this school’s location to London or Chicago….how many miles from those Cities did Van Gogh live…what was the method of transportation at the time…how long would it take to travel the distance? Interesting questions, collective research, and sharing the results was the motivation for each class..and the students learned the answers to all the questions asked and loved being taught, especially by this interesting teacher.
Retirement after thirty eight years of teaching was certainly earned and more than deserved, and those years have been kind to Audree. She developed her natural artistic ability into creating award winning quilts. Quilters across the country are familiar with her quilts, her quick smile and her sunny personality. The teacher is still alive in her heart as well, as she still teaches her quilting technique at her home studio. Most recently she has graciously gathered stories from Lake Bavaria residents, both past and present, and along with her daughter, Kathy and a neighbor, Linda, has compiled photos and stories into an interesting book on the area.
The TEACHER is alive and well…still an engaging personality…still interesting…with many facts, figures and knowledge to share.