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Neighbors: Young Citizens League was a cherished part of the school day

Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist

"YCL (Young Citizens League) was a very important part of the school."

That's what Marian (Iverson) Johnson, Oakes, N.D., says about the old organization which others have mentioned in this column.

Marian attended Brampton No. 4 country school, southwest of Brampton, N.D., during her eight years of grade school. "It was about a mile from home, and my sisters and I walked to school every day," she writes.

And the YCL was a regular part of her school day.

"We were chosen in the morning to raise the flag while the other students stood at attention," she writes Neighbors. "The pledge to the flag was given by all of the students still standing at attention.

"At the close of the school day, someone else was given the honor of lowering the flag as we all stood at attention. Care was given not to let the flag touch the ground as it came down and was folded until the next day when it again was raised on the high flagpole in the middle of our school yard.

"Our YCL meetings were very important as we learned more about the flag, the meaning of the pledge and our country.

"The countywide YCL gathering of all the students, teachers and YCL officers was held in the county seat of Forman and it was a very good day for all attending," she says.

She still has her small YCL pin. "I was very proud of it and wore it a lot," she says. "It still amazes me that I did not lose it over the years, which by this time add up to a big number!"

Good teachers, food

As to her school, Marian says she had good teachers there all eight years.

"My last teacher there was a man, who I had for five years," she says. "He helped a number of the students with learning problems.

"We had Christmas programs, too. They were attended by the entire community, and gifts were exchanged, as names had been drawn by the students, and of course they had to have gifts for their teacher, too.

"Country school was a good part of my life," she says. "All of the students had fun playing ball, tag, winter games in the snow (fox and goose and snowballs) and enjoying the playground equipment: the merry-go-round, swings, giant slides and teeter totter.

"And the end of the school year was something to look forward to. We always had a school picnic (eaten out of doors), and a ball game for everyone, young and old. Every family brought a blanket or two and they were spread on the ground and were used to eat our meal on, which was potluck and always good."

Family tree claim

Today, Marian's son Richard "Dick" Johnson lives on the family claim near Brampton where Marian grew up. Her grandfather had started the tree claim in 1889.

Marian and her husband moved their mobile home there in 1984. Her husband passed away from cancer about two and a half years later.

"I continued to live there until Nov. 11, 2017, when I moved to an apartment in Oakes because there were times I would be alone on the farm. My son Dick is about 23 miles southeast of here and my daughter Kathy Strutz lives close by in town."

And now Marian can sit back in her apartment and think back to her days in the country school and the YCL which, she says, "was a good organization, and I was sorry when it was no longer a part of the school day."

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 241-5487 or email