I was born July 22nd, 1911 on my favorite grandmother’s birthday in a little red brick house in Mendon, Utah, a small town of five hundred people, west of Logan. I was the first born of five children, two girls and three boys. My father said they made all the mistakes on me and the others profited from my experience. I walked the day my brother Owen was born, at fifteen months, cried every night all night until I was six months old, but when I did sleep I always awakened with a pleasant smile quite satisfied with the entertainment I had received the night before.
I was educated in the schools of Cache County. My elementary years were spent in the old red brick school house with a bell in it’s tower which was rung every school day at eight-thirty a.m., by grandfather Ladle, to tell people to get on their way and then again at nine to let everyone know school had commenced. During my eight school years at Mendon elementary I had three teachers. Miss Jennie Richards was my first and second grade teacher. Miss Gladys Hughes, my third, fourth and fifth grade teacher. Mr. H. G. Hughes was the principal as well as teacher of the sixth, seventh and eight grades. Later Jennie Richards was replaced by my aunt Olive Sorensen, who Married H. G. Hughes so we often speak of these years being composed of a “Hughes Education” but they were all excellent teachers.
I attended South Cache High School and seminary, graduating in 1928. These years were full of adventure and excitement for small town people. We traveled by way of the U.I.C. train, which left Mendon every morning a seven a.m. We lived through snow blockages and the cars jumping the tracks. It was always a happy day when the train would get stalled and we were late for classes. I was a normal student and received good grades, but didn’t win any beauty awards or do anything too exciting as I remember. The teachers liked me because I behaved and did my work well.
My youth was spent in Mendon doing what everyone did, such as driving cows, working in the beet fields, hauling hay, picking raspberries, working in the garden, feeding chickens and sloping the pigs, carrying wood and helping with the house work. My mother and father worked with us and taught us that work was an adventure as well as a lot of fun; it was as good for the soul as the body. We loved it and made good on our little farm. When I was seven, we built and paid for our new home, which I live in at the present time.
I always had a desire to teach so at the age of fifteen I became a teacher of the Kindergarten class in Sunday school. I taught with many great teachers and learned from them the principles of good teaching. I entered Utah State College when I was eighteen and graduated two years later with a normal diploma. These two years were very happy ones even though money was scarce and the great depression was at our very door. My good friend Fern Buist and I moved to Logan and lived in a rented apartment and both families furnished us food, kindlings and coal. Our main objectives was to become good teachers and earn our own living. In spite of hard times we went to a few movies and my uncle A. N. Sorensen who was a professor at the college gave us some free passes for college drama which Fern liked better than I did, as she was a good actor herself, and very dramatic. I graduated in 1930, but a crisis had developed in teaching and there were a hundred applications for one job, very similar to out present situation. As a result Fern and I didn’t receive a teaching position, we didn’t have enough money for another year of college so helped again on the home front.
In 1932 we received our first teaching assignment, which happened to be in Mendon. I taught first and second grades and Fern taught the third, fourth and fifth. Our principal was our former teacher H. G. Hughes and he treated us like one of his students. We learned the hard way under some very trying conditions. I had the good fortune of teaching my own brother (Eldon) and all my relatives. They immediately pitched in and taught their own kids. The only parent trouble I had was with my own father and mother who questioned my procedures daily. I was called Miss Sorensen for two years at home and learned not to believe everything children reported about their teachers. After three years in the old red brick schoolhouse we moved into a new school, this was such a relief as old pot bellied stoves adorned our previous rooms. It was our responsibility to keep them burning all day. This was a staggering job and mine would run out of fuel often and we would build the fire from scratch. I used so many kindlings that my grandfather, the custodian, began to complain. So my father furnished the school with a load of railroad ties split into the proper lengths. The new school was beautiful as well as having everything we needed to provide good educational learning. I taught ten years in Mendon under very favorable conditions, I won the towns approval and when I moved away to teach in Tremonton, Utah, the towns’ people signed a petition to get me to stay, but the urge to move on was greater and I thought it wise to depart. During my ten years in Mendon I had three principals, H. G. Hughes, Sylvestor Anderson and Durrell Hughes, (who is the present coach of Bear River High School) for eight years. They were great men and let me teach the way I chose, supporting me all the way.
I taught at the McKinnley School, in Tremonton for two years under Mr. Frank Stevens and a tremendous faculty. I learned so much those two years that I began to think my brain would pop. I only wished I could have shared my knowledge with my past students. Six teachers lived at Dr. White’s Hospital, as that was the only living quarters available. We worked at school from eight a.m. to six p.m. everyday and visited or went to movies every night. It was during World War II so in the fall we took our turns at the tomato cannery every night from four until one p.m., till the harvest was completed. These two years were very special and I made lasting friendships, Frank Stevens was a dedicated fun loving man and each day was a joyful experience.
In 1945 my mother became ill and I moved back to Cache Valley, where I could be close and assist when I was needed. I lived in Logan for the next four years. Fern Buist and I shared an apartment together for one year, on East Center, when I moved to the Wilson School we lived with my Principal, Miss Adams and her sweet mother Patience Adams. When my mother passed away in 1950 I returned to Mendon and took care of my father, traveling to school every day I was very fortunate in getting a position in the Logan Schools under Superintendent Bateman. I was assigned to the second grade at the Woodruff School; Mr. Henry Cooper was my principal. Henry was already established as a fantastic educator and I was welcomed with open arms by the faculty and him. The faculty was very close and I loved them all. After one year I was snatched away from Mr. Cooper and put at the Wilson School in the second grade under Miss Hazel Adams. I soon learned to love the Wilson School as much as I had the others and Wilson School parents and kids became the best in the world. I have taught with many faculties, all of them great. I learned from them all and my experiences are some of the most cherished memories I have.
Many changes have taken place in the Wilson School since my arrival and you might enjoy reading about some of the happenings as Miss Adams reported them at our last addition to the building. I came here about 1946 or 1947, while in Logan I have taught under the following superintendents, Dr. E. Allan Bateman, Dr. John C. Carlyle, Dr. Grant Vest, Dr. Sherman G. Eyre and my present superintendent, Dr. James C. Blair. No one could have been more fortunate than I just to rub shoulders with these men was a lesson in itself. I was taught well by them all. While in Cache County my supervisor was, Miss Laveta Wallace. In Box Elder County, Miss Norma Jensen led the way. In Logan Virginia Daniels and Mrs. Ruby Moody have been my guiding lights. All of them became my very personal friends and I loved them all. Miss Adams retired two years ago and Rulon Olsen is my present principal. He is doing an excellent job of filling the dedicated, educational mined shoes of Miss Adams.
I belong to the L.D.S. Church and have been a Sunday school teacher for forty-seven years. I also served on the Sunday school stake board at the same time for seventeen years, I taught Primary one year in Mendon and Mutual one year in Tremonton. I have always belonged to the P.T.A. and was a charter member of the Mendon first P.T.A. I have also belonged to the American Childhood Education Association while in Logan and Delta Kappa Gamma. I was a member of A.U.W. for one year. I had the privilege of being a visiting professor at U.S.U. during the summer or 1959, and taught a first and second grade, during that quarter under Arthur Jackson. I am a life member of U.E.A. and have always joined the Logan Teachers Association as well as the Utah State Association. I was a member of the state math committee for four years. I have been vice president of our Logan Teachers Association as well as classroom teachers’ president; I have served on all the committees on the advisory committee for the superintendent, as well as on the retirement committee. I have served on all the committees of our Wilson School, as well as district committees. It has been my privilege to attend the American Childhood Association, National Convention in Los Angles California, and the Class Room Teachers National Convention in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. I have also attended the Delta Kappa Gamma national convention in Houston, Texas in 1971. I love to travel and have been to Hawaii, Mexico, Canada and most states in the United States.
My father passed away in 1961 but I have continued to live in the family home and enjoy my associations with the Mendon people. At the present time I am teaching second grade at the Wilson School in Logan. I have enjoyed my associations with many fine student teachers and the U.S.U. educational faculty. I am the product of many experiences and valuable friends in the educational field.1
1. History of Veda Sorensen, Veda Sorensen, unpuplished mamuscript.