Tuesday was Grandmother Achievement Day, and we used it as a day to think about grandmothers before they were grandmothers. They had lives, hopes, dreams, arguments, dances, love, and in many cases, careers.

Susan K. Hansen, Librarian/webmaster at the Rochester Public Library, shared a picture of her grandmother and that grandmother had been one of Minnesota's last one-room-school-house teachers. So I reached out and here's today's guest blog, The Story of Ida Richmond, the rebel.


Born in 1907, Ida Richmond was a bit of a rebel. She and Lewis Swartz eloped in 1926 and lived separately for several months until she could tell her parents they had wed. Her dad, Charles Richmond, was a well known physician in southwestern Minnesota - in the Windom-Jeffers area.

Ida graduated from Jeffers High School in 1924. She complete normal training in Windom and taught in rural schools. They farmed in the Jeffers area until moving into town.

During World War II Ida drove a cream route, was a substitute bus driver, worked at both Jeffers cafes, and worked at the City Meat Market. She was widowed young. After her three children were raised she returned to teaching in the rural schools of Jeffers, Dovray and Westbrook. Maybe one that looked a lot like this in Center City, MN.

L3.2 p232
Minnesota Historical Society - Center City, MN


She compiled 28 years of teaching. She was an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary and had been president for several years. She was a member of the Methodist Church and of the United Methodists Women.

Ida Richmond was the grandmother to 18 grandchildren. They all have fond memories of staying with her, eating "tut-tut" buns, watching baseball, and being loved unconditionally.

My elementary school self delighted when my school schedule was different than grandma's and I could attend her one-room school house. I loved how the older kids would help teach the little kids. You were put into groups, not by age, but by your skill level. The room was covered in chalkboards that had grammar lessons, math problems, spelling words, and maps. And yes, the old wooden/cast iron desks.

From grandma, I learned about patience, hard-work, loving learning and sports, and how to just enjoy being in someone's presence.

From Facebook: Esther Heath said, "She was a wonderful teacher. She was my 2nd grade- 6th grade teacher at Red Rock District #45."

Thank you so much for sharing your grandmother with us, Susan.

Make sure you visit the Rochester Public Library today and tell Susan how awesome is her grandmother.

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