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vBy Julie Eickhoff A Lifetime Of Teaching Impacts the Lifetimes Of Many 8vHERVOICEvJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 For 53 years, Myrtle Anderson has influenced an impressive number of students. Now a young 99 years of age, she looks back happily on her career and can recall much of it in detail, filling in any gaps with her album packed full of information from that span of time. It was a frigid day in December when she welcomes me into her warm and tidy apartment. I instantly feel comfortable and at ease as we begin to talk. I can see where she would be a great teacher; it feels like I was talking to a grandparent. We look through her album together, heavy and fat, filled with every contract she’s signed, pictures taken over the years and other highlights. She is a treat to listen to as she takes me back in time to how it all began. She explains a bit of her background. Her father, from Denmark and her mother, from the United States, married and lived South of Irene. They had 16 children; Myrtle was the 6th youngest. “Dad was very good that if the kids would work and got their education, he would help them finance it,” she reflects. Anderson received her grade school education in a class of 33 students at Mayfield Rural School, with four of her siblings right beside her. She then attended Irene Consolidated High School and received her high school diploma four years later. Recalling challenges from her school days, she quickly mentions the daily half-mile walks to and from the school bus, having to take that walk no matter what the weather forecast showed. She continued her education by attending Southern State Normal School in Springfield, SD. Summer school and many evening classes paid off; she obtained her Elementary School Certificate and then acquired her master’s degree from the University of South Dakota. She is very grateful that her dad encouraged her to go into the teaching career. “He did everything he could to help me,” she recalls with emotion slightly breaking through her voice. She remembers advice from someone before she started college and I laugh because it really is good advice – “Don’t go out and get a boyfriend but instead focus on doing well in school.” She already had her mind on the same track with her sights only on the upcoming school year. After graduating, she began her career in 1939 at a rural school near Viborg, SD and recalls her annual salary of $450. She found room and board for the school year, staying with a widow and walking to and from school. “I didn’t mind when I started (the school year) because it was the fall, and to get out in the fall was good for me.” In winter months, she had to bundle up in layers of clothes to stay warm on her trek to school, explaining that they didn’t have snow days. “We had to go in. They would come, the kids thought it was fun to get out.” She recalls several of her students having a lengthy daily walk as well. She had six students her first year of teaching, four elementary students and two 7th grade girls. She graduated the two older girls that year and the second year she then taught the remaining four students. Her father made sure that she and students stayed warm during the winter, starting the fire in the schoolhouse wood stove on

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