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Marie Latham

The following article was written in 1950 by Gloria Warren `48 Grant for an English Course at Simpson about a classmate of hers, Marie Latham:

“I have known Marie since she started school in first grade at Milford, the same year that I did. She had dark hair and dark eyes, and was very attractive.

“Marie was born with only part of her left arm, from the elbow on down was missing. It had formed into a point, more or less. The stub arm grew in proportion of the right arm, which was normal. In school, at first, most of us in class watched her quite a bit. Soon we accept the fact that she was just as capable of doing things as we were , of course she had a few adjustments to make. Like when she wanted to pump up in the swing. Along with the many other things she learned to do. She was one of the first in our class to tie shoe strings. She could and did participate in all our games including softball, she could hit the ball as far as any of the rest of us, and she could catch it: she took part in basketball, she could shoot and make a few; and she could play volleyball.

“I never heard her complain that she couldn't do something. No matter what the task, she could and did master it. Sometimes it took a little more practice, but she always made it. Marie could dress a chicken very quickly, when we were in grade school. She was a hard worker, and a very capable one. Her mother worked away from the home quite a bit, and being the oldest of the three children, the house work was left for Marie to do. I have watched her sweep the floor, peel potatoes, iron pleated skirts, and bake cakes. She is a very good cook.

“When Marie was a freshman, the Story County Red Cross got an artificial arm through the Des Moines Crippled Society for children. The arm wasn't what I would call a nice looking arm, Maybe that was because I was so used to the stub. The thumb was the only finger that could be moved, and I am not too sure, because she didn't use the thumb any. I believe it had to be manipulated with the right hand pulling on a rubber cord about half way up the artificial arm. She had become so accustomed to doing her work, that the arm was more bother than help. She did try to use it for about a week in school, but decided it was more of a handicap than her stub. Several months later she as told to wear it or she would have to return it. After that she did wear it to school, but she never learned how to use it very satisfactory.

“Marie learned to type with her one hand, and after our first year of typing she kept right up with the class. Marie was very good at knitting, crocheting, embroidering, and sewing for herself.

“Now she is married and lives on a farm. She does her own house work besides taking care of their healthy baby girl.”

Representation in 4-H

Milford Township is a 36 (actually 37.2) square mile township of farm land in north central Story County, Iowa. 4-H became a very important part in the lives (routine) of most of the farm families. It was a means of learning the latest techniques available to rural people through the latest technology from the landgrant colleges or universities such as Iowa State. And for the youth it was not only a means of learning but it became an opportunity to socialize with others across the county.

The first 4-H club in Milford Twp was organized by Mrs Frank (Gladys Molde) Vail in 1928 but because of lack of leadership it folded. (See M.M.M. page 246.) That seems puzzling, since through out the years Milford Twp people seem to be foremost in volunteering help and providing leadership skills. (Note that the Story County Fair Board has had someone from Milford Twp in the President's Chair for at least 50 years since 1950.) In 1931 those girls and Mrs Mary Allen chartered the Milford Merry Maids, `girls club', which was considered to be a club for learning domestic skills. For several years the emphasis of Clothing, Home Furnishings and Food and Nutrition rotated in a three year cycle. Then there was a block of years that one could select their own projects from any of those. Later project ideas were selected from many categories.

In 1934 the Milford Hustlers was chartered with the leadership of Marvin Smith Sr and Harlan H. Harper. The `boys club' was considered an agriculture club. If a girl chose to have an agriculture project she was required to be in good standing with the girls club to also join the boys club. But interestingly, the fact could be noted, that she had to keep a separate set of record books. Several of the Milford farm girls, of course, did the farm work and chores so they naturally chose to do the double duty and extra effort which included the extra set of 4-H record books; one for each club.

In 1981 the two clubs merged to become a non-gender status and have only one Milford Twp club, the Milford Marvels. Relatively little record keeping is required since that merge. The original 4-H motto still exists, "To make the best better". The 4 leaf clover, with the 4-H's- Head, Heart, Hands and Health-, originated in Clarion, Iowa in 1907. This 4-H emblem is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2007 and has the distinction of being the second most recognized logo in the nation- topped only by the Red Cross. 4-H members continue to practice the 4-H ideals and leadership and social skills that have always been key training and experiences with 4-H.

The Milford Township 4-H clubs were recognized, as one, at the Sesquicentennial, 1996 Iowa State Fair during the 100th Birthday Celebration of 4-H when the Milford Marvels, along with all the other 4-H clubs in Iowa that had 50+ years of existence, were honored. See Leaders List page 241.

Mrs Harlan H. Harper, the former Joan Parsons, attended rural school in Page County, Iowa, and was a student of Jessie Field (sister of Henry) Shambaugh. That Rural Teacher, Ms Shambaugh, is the person recognized as the founder of the 4-H program nationwide in 1902. Joan was an Iowa Pig Club

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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