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Church to honor longtime pianist

Trout Lake news for Feb. 29.

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Trout Lake Newswriters

Sandi Thygesen, 395-2318

Terry Scott, 395-2760

Laurie West, 395-2262

Jerry Duke, 395-2995

Hello, Trout Lakers. I just returned from a wonderful vacation in St. Lucia, West Indies. But, you know, no matter how wonderful a vacation is, it's always great to be back home in Trout Lake. St. Lucia is a beautiful island, but the people there are the perfect example of those who don't like tourists. They definitely want the tourist money, but they'd rather you send it directly to them and stay home. Dave didn't enjoy the island very much, because of this. I, on the other hand, was able to ignore people not wanting me there and just enjoyed the scenery and the warm weather. I look like a Native American again, with my new tan.

The Presbyterian Church is hosting a special service on Sunday, March 10, honoring Bettina McCuistion. I'm not sure when Bettina started attending the Presbyterian Church, but she's been playing the piano for the services there since 1928. Can you believe it?!? And I thought she was my age. What a trickster she is. We all know what a joy Bettina is. I just love her to pieces and want to be just like her, except a little more outspoken, when I finally grow up. After the service, a reception in Bettina's honor will be held at the Grange hall at 12:30 p.m. There will be a short program and refreshments, plus time to visit with Bettina. The congregation invites all of Bettina's friends and neighbors to join them in this celebration.

The Trout Lake Country Inn will be hosting another Coffee House on Saturday, March 2. All musicians are invited to perform. Call Marilyn Enoch for more information.

I received the following information from Mary Marshall Pierce, who now lives in Alaska. I think it's a great tribute and would like to invite others who would like to share favorite teacher stories to send them to me at Thanks for sharing this, Mary.

"As a child attending Trout Lake School, two teachers stood out from the rest and have left a lasting impression with me all these years (I don't really want to say how long). I'm sure many of your readers will recall these two teachers fondly, also."

"The first, Mrs. Haller, was actually the second grade teacher, in her last year of teaching, when I was in first grade. What made Mrs. Haller so memorable was her wonderful storytelling ability. She would gather the first and second graders around her on Friday afternoons and hold us in rapt attention while she spun a wonderful tale, not from a book from her heart. No one misbehaved, no one got bored or restless, and we ALL begged for more at the end of every session. How many former Trout Lake students remember the story of "Bucky Boy" that we never tired of hearing?"

"The other teacher was Mrs. Diebel, who taught a combined third and fourth grade class. I remember eagerly waiting to graduate to third grade so I could finally be in her classroom, after hearing so much about her from my sister, Linda. When that day finally arrived, Mrs. Diebel's class was everything I expected. She was like a tiny little dynamo, with so much positive energy that overflowed to her students. Whatever we were studying, we strived to do our best, and she was always right there helping us to do just that. And she was fun! I remember the Fridays when she invited any of the elementary children who had some kind of talent (or not) to perform in front of the class. Piano students played newly-learned songs, ballet students danced, and Monte and Oren played wonderful piano duets. And we all eagerly awaited Friday morning recess, because Mrs.Diebel set that one recess of the week aside for races! We would race from one end of the gym to the other, which seemed a really long distance to eight- and nine-year olds. Linda and I plotted and practiced, determined to somehow beat Judy Child, who could run like the wind. Forget trying to beat Monte Pearson, Darrel Rummel, and the Wood twins, they were way beyond our reach. Of course we didn't just run to the other end; the technique was to run UP the wall at the other end to make the finish look more dramatic. The highlight of the year was the singing Christmas tree. Mrs. Diebel, being of German heritage, taught us to sing "Oh, Christmas Tree" in German. We wore green crepe paper capes and held flashlights with colored tissue paper over the lights as we stood in tree formation and, with the gym lights dimmed, sang our hearts out. Unfortunately, Mrs. Diebel suffered a serious injury just before our Christmas program that year and had to retire, so that was the last year we did the singing Christmas tree under her guidance. Her hospitalization and later retirement left a huge empty place in our school and our hearts."

"I know there have been many good teachers at Trout Lake since Mrs. Haller and Mrs. Diebel, but I know we were incredibly lucky to have these two wonderful, inspiring teachers touch our lives, even for such a brief time. I hope all their other former students feel as privileged as I do to have had the opportunity to be in those little Trout Lake School classrooms back then."


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