Interview of

Iris Berggen

by

Grete Norquist

 

6th Grade 1997, Tri-County School, Karlstad,Minnesota

 

(The copy of this essay was very difficultto read and may need corrections)

 

Iris Clarinda Larson Berggren was born July 20, 1926 inMud Lake Township in Marshall County, Minnesota. Her parents were Clarenceand Bertha Larson.

Iris' brothers and sisters were Christopher, Vivian, Marian,Clayton, Eileen, Ardelle, Vernon, Virgil and Glen. Vernon and Virgil, thetwins, died a few days after they were born.

Iris attended a country school for the first eight grades. In the ninth grade she went to Holt and for tenth, eleventh and twelfthgrades she went to Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls.

During high school, Iris would baby sit for 20 cents anhour on week days. Sometimes she would baby sit on the weekend, go to theirhouse after school on Friday, clean the house on Saturday, take the childrenand herself to church on Sunday, and even get the children and herself offto school on Monday morning. That whole job over the weekend paid about$2.00.

Iris first "real job" was at a flower shop whereshe was paid $1.50 an hour.

In 1944, she graduated from Lincoln High School. Overthat next summer, Iris worked at the kitchen at the Oakland Park Sanitarium. That fall, she went to Concordia College. In the middle of that year shehad an appendectomy.

Iris picked up credits from Marshall State, Universityof Minnesota, Augsburg, and Bemidji State.

In June 2, 1951, Iris married Duane Berggren. Iris baked17 dozen cookies between the time school let out and her wedding. In November1953, they had a son, Gosta Leanard, better known as "Gus."

In 1962, Iris graduated from college with a major in elementaryteaching, a minor in English and a fifth year in special education. Ithad taken her 18 years to complete college.

Iris taught in Buxton, Argyle, Walhalla, Roseau, Fertile,Warroad, and Karlstad.

At one of the schools in which Iris taught, students wereallowed to play hockey if they behaved well in school and get their workdone. One boy did not behave in school and was keopt from hockey a fewweeks. His mother got mad because her little angel could do no evil - ever! She went to Iris and said something to the effect that if her boyh wasnot in hockey this next week she would have Iris fired. Iris expectedthat she was doing what the school told her to. At that moment they sawthe woman's son standing on his chair and swinging his arms wildly, apparentlysaying something to the class. Of course, the woman left. But the endof the school year the boy said, "I've been trying to make you cryall year, and I'm not quitting till after the picnic!"

Gus married Marian Burt and they had two sons: Anders andDaniel. Later, Marian and Gus were divorced and Gus married Diane -------. On December 2, 1992, Duane died.

Iris is now an active member of Bethesda Lutheran Churchof Strandquist. She is a Sunday School teacher, council member, WELCA,or Lutheran Aide member, and a Strandquist Senior Citizen.WELCA,or Lutheran Aide member, and a Strandquist Senior Citizen.