Written by my Grandma, Hazel Florence Browne (Curtis)
After teaching in Chicago Park, California, I taught for a year in Guinda, California; in Yolo County. My friend, Leona, had signed up to teach there but got a job in Woodland and asked me to take the position in Guinda instead. By this time, Vera Curtis had come home from the battlefront of World War I in France, or rather Germany. We had been corresponding by letter for some time, so I thought it would be nice to be able to see him more often. So I took the position in Guinda, which as you know, is just a few miles from Vera's home in Brooks.
After all that, I only got to see him once. He decided to start out with a pack on his back and travel around to see the country. He worked for a time in Humboldt County, and again, also near Spokane, Washington; and then in Canada. In the meantime, I enjoyed my teaching position in Guinda.
There were more children living in the area back then in 1919 and 1920 then there are now. The schoolhouse was located on a hill and had two teachers. I taught the primary grades: one through four. There were fifty-seven children in all. You'll recognize some of the names of your neighbors up the valley: Evan Lowrey, Dick Bloom, Martha Hartman (Bloom), her sister, Delia Hartman, and brother Bert were among the pupils. Evan, Dick and Martha were not in my class. They were in the upper grades: five through eight. Each day the older pupils and their teacher came into my room on the south side, and I iplayed the old organ and we sang and sang. We sang Old Black Joe, Marching through Georgia, The Swanee River and all those old tunes in my old worn-out songbook.
Just one more story and then you won't have to go through any more.
After my year of teaching the primary grades in Guinda, I learned of a vacancy in Clarksburg. I went by stage to Woodland, then by train to Sacramento, and by street car to the bus depot. The bus took me down the east side of the Sacramento River twelve miles and then we crossed the river on a ferry boat and I walked up the road on the west side of the river to the home of the Guy Frasers; he was the clerk of the school board. He was also an engineer for the Holland Land Company and had not come home yet. Mrs. Fraser asked me to come in as her husband would soon be home. She asked me my name and what high school I had attended. I told her I was Hazel Browne and had graduated from Cloverdale High School. She said "Hazel Browne! The little girl with pig tails who sat at the end of the row and knew all the answers in Geometry". About ten years earlier (before she had married), she substituted for our principal in Cloverdale for a month or more.
Well, I got the job and that was my last teaching position: three and a third years at Clarksburg. At first, I taught 3rd, 4th and 5th Grades. There were three teachers. Then they let one of the teachers go and I had the first four grades. At the end of the third year, Clarksburg and Lisbon joined and they became one consolidated school with a nice new building. The old buildings were over on the riverbank, way up in the air on stilts so that if the river should ever go over the banks, we would be safe and up out of the water. But that didn't happen during my time there.
When I first started teaching in Clarksburg, the teacher who taught 1st and 2nd grades and I rented an old farm house about a mile and a half from the school and kept house there. We walked to school. That was fine until one night when we got quite a scare. We had no keys for our doors, but could hook the front door. Luckily there was a door at the foot of the stairs and it had a bolt to lock it. We slelpt upstairs. Three young men who had been drinking broke in and tried to coax us to come downstairs. We didn't sleep all night, but crept downstairs in the morning and opened the door and peeked out and discovered they had gone. We went to the home of the people who owned the house nearby. They got in touch with the sheriff and they located the three men. That was in Yolo County, so they took them to the county seat in Woodland where they spent a night in jail and paid a $100.00 fine each. The Krulls, who owned the house, took us into their home for the rest of that year. They wouldn't take pay for our board and treated us like their own children. They had a Lincoln Continental car and took us on picnics, shopping in Sacramento and to several wonderful musical performances. Tetrazzini was one of them.
The next year I boarded with the Frazer family. They had three children, not yet in school and later they had two more. The third and fourth year in Clarksburg, I had my brand new 1921 Model T Ford and boarded six miles from the school with Mrs. Heringer, whose daughter-in-law was then clerk of the school board. She had seven children; all boys. I had signed a contract to teach my fourth year (1923 and 1924), but your grandpa, Vera Curtis, was about to take a job as manager of his father's ranch, the Curtis Ranch (where you live now), and askaed me to marry him. He needed my help. So, after nearly ten years, I was no longer a school teacher. Elsie Hartwell came and finished my fourth year teaching the high second and third grades.
March 2, 1975
Dear Heavenly Father:
We thank thee for all the wonderful things thou hast created for us; the earth, the sky, the rain, the plants, animals and people. All these things that we may enjoy our life during our existence here on earth.
Fill our hearts with love for thee and our fellow men.
We thank thee for your son Jesus, who gave his life for us. May we follow him as he works to free this earth of sin and sickness.
Help us to keep our minds free of hatred, greed and evil and forgive us for our past errors.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus.
P.S. Father, I thank you for my two wonderful families--the ones who are gone and the ones who are here. Guide them to do thy will.