By Rita Maisel
When the annual graduate’s column began years ago I was able to list parents and grandparents for each graduate if I could locate them, and that became the enjoyable part of researching the column. Over the years school rules have changed, and as a result families wanting to protect their children have wanted more privacy. In other words, the graduate column could no longer include the parents and grandparents so had to shift to focusing on long ago ancestors and skipping some of the ones still with us.
That led to criticism on the order of “Why didn’t I list Lois Flanders? Didn’t I know she had just turned 97?” in last week’s column. My apologies to the family and friends, but here is a possible answer. One lady by that name had another maiden name but has been Lois Flanders for as long as I have known her or longer. What I suspect may not be pertinent this year is the part about her having a grandson graduating in 2018. Another lady was born Lois Flanders but has been Lois Hertzell for so long I must have forgotten her maiden name. The two ladies were/are sisters-in-law, and one or both have celebrated birthdays well into the 90s. Lois Hertzell is the great-grandmother of Tige Hertzell who is graduating from Munich this year. If either, or both, of these ladies are at the graduation ceremonies feel free to give them a hug from me.
May Day Baskets: Last Tuesday was May Day in Langdon, a time when friends remembered the late Bob Nowatzki who had made a habit of going out to a pasture on his farm each spring and picking crocuses which only grow on uncultivated ground. He would bring the flowers to the library, sometimes the hospital or the nursing home where anyone growing up on a long-ago farm, or even city dwellers, could enjoy them. Crocuses became the traditional May Day flower across the prairies back in the earliest of pioneer days and have been special ever since. Some years no other flowers were up or blooming by the first day of May.
May Day was a custom which came to North America along with immigrants from many other nations who had spring rituals often including a festival where the participants danced around a maypole decorated with flowers and streamers. Most older people remember making or getting May Baskets when they were children. The baskets always had flowers, even if the flowers were made out of paper! Sometimes we made them in school and, depending on family customs, a lot of them were made at home. If you had construction paper you could make them in pastel colors. f not, there might be a left-over Easter basket that you could fill or a small container available at a dime store. Inventive people used a lot of different containers which they decorated with whatever they could find. The basket was taken secretly to a friend, relative or neighbor. Children were taught to put it by the door and knock or ring the bell if the family had a doorbell. Then they were to run away quickly because if caught the giver would get a kiss. On May Day 2018 there were reports on both North Dakota and Canadian radio stations of people who had set up cameras by their doors to capture the faces of May Basket givers. No reports on whether the kisses were the old-fashioned kind or wrapped ones produced by the Hershey company.
The Youth Group at our church made May Baskets as a fundraiser for an upcoming mission trip. They sold lots and had great fun delivering them to moms, grandparents and unsuspecting friends. Their baskets had flowers made from suckers and home baked cookies. I was told some were baked by the youth and others by experts. The ones in my baskets were delicious and are being rationed.
Scholarship History: A major project each spring for roughly 30 years has been work connected to the Freda Bulloch Scholarship Trust. This award has gone to some phenomenal young people who have returned to their home communities to teach, work as nurses and doctors, farm, bank, climb wind towers, raise cattle, repair anything on wheels, do construction, start new businesses and become productive members of society. Having worked on the LHS/SAS Directory and cemetery lists for many years, I was viewed as a person who could help make a list of the scholarship recipients. In other words, being asked to investigate brought me to this task by default. The work has provided no monetary rewards but getting to know the recipients has been an interesting experience.
After all these years the list is not complete and counting the names can be mind-boggling. I think there are 509 names through the 2017 awards. Unfortunately, we really do not know how many of the students got a full scholarship and how many schools split the funds once the check reached their hands. That uncertainty is why many banks issuing funds for scholarships now send their funds directly to the colleges. Another reason may be because not all schools initially kept records. Some thought the money would run out in a short time based on the ups and downs of the stock market. For others, the understanding of irrevocable trusts governed by a will is a bit like a road full of pot holes. But you do try.
Freda Bulloch was born at Hannah and went to school there as a child. We are told she was around eleven when her mother died. At various times her mother’s sisters lived with them while Rachel Bulloch and her sisters ran a millinery shop from their home. After Rachel’s death, her sister, Annie, took charge of Freda and the details of those years are vague. It is understood the young teenager got on the train at Hannah and reportedly rode to Minneapolis before her money ran out. Eventually she joined a circus and later worked for AT&T in both Chicago and New York. AT&T gave stock as bonuses to their employees and that was the start of her stock portfolio which formed the foundation of her later trust. In retirement she liked to travel with a cousin, Audrey McRae, from London, Ontario, and one of the places they chose to visit was Hannah.
At that time the Hannah School board had a revolving scholarship for their graduates and asked for contributions. When approached, Freda decided she would set up her own scholarship and followed up that visit with establishing a trust when she returned to her home in Florida in 1969. This decision was spelled out in her will which specified a $1,000 scholarship to either a boy or girl each year from among the Hannah graduates with a contingency plan in case the Hannah School closed. The catch was that the scholarships would not be available until after her death – a common provision in wills. As readers may know, the Hannah School (along with others) closed in 1980. Freda lived until late in 1983. Her cousin, Audrey, brought Freda’s body to Hannah for burial. The will was probated in Florida by Florida trust rules in 1984, and in the spring of 1985 the first scholarships were issued to 20 students (allowed by accumulated interest) chosen by the faculties of 16 high schools then in existence whose buildings were deemed to be within 50 miles of the Hannah city limits.
To make a long story short, interest rates were great in 1985, and blue-chip stock did very well. However, there were trust issues with AT&T which led to the stock being sold some time later. The account was handled in Florida by Hollywood, FL Bank and Trust, Nations Bank and Barnett Banks of Jacksonville, FL until the late 1990s when Bank of America absorbed their interests. This moved the account paperwork to Atlanta until approximately 2014 when that portion of Bank of America became U.S. Trust with headquarters in Rhode Island. Each year we are told that the principal is eroding and interest rates are down. However, the original sixteen schools received at least $1,000 per year from 1985 until 2000 (you can do the math on that!) With the closing of schools at Adams, Milton-Osnabrock, Border Central, Bisbee-Egeland and Rock Lake the numbers varied with some years 14, then 13, 12 and since 2010 eleven schools eligible for this scholarship each year. Currently the eleven remaining: Edmore, Valley-Edinburg, Cavalier, Langdon Area, Munich, North Star, Mt. Pleasant (Rolla), St. John, Starkweather, Turtle Mountain Community (Belcourt) and North Border at Walhalla anticipate a similar scholarship for 2018. When those are chosen we will list their names for general information.
While there are always questions about trusts, the banks would like them to remain a viable entity forever and lawyers do enter the picture from time to time. If this one reaches the end of the line it will still have fulfilled the intent of her will many times over and we are grateful she chose our area for the gift.
Several have asked if I would list the recipients, and there are so many with a lot of married names unknown that it is difficult to know where to start. Readers who received the award and want to help with a story of their adventures are invited to write and contribute ideas.