Hazel Elizabeth Thompson

by

Jared Britten

6th Grade 1993, Tri-County School, Karlstad, Minnesota

On March 20, 1920, Hazel Elizabeth Thompson was born to Ole and Kristina Thompson. Hazel was born in a log house north of Strandquist, Minnesota. They didn't have electricity or running water.

Hazel attended school at Strandquist. She rode to school in a canvas covered wagon or sleigh pulled by horses. Each class room had two grades so each teacher had two classes to teach. There were only four elementary teachers and one superintendent at the Strandquist school. One of the things that the students used to have to do was memorize poems. Each student brought their own lunch but in the winter they got hot chocolate and tomato soup.

After school, there was always chores to do, such as, carrying wood and water, feeding calves, and gathering chicken eggs. In the fall, Hazel picked potatoes by hand to earn enough money to buy winter clothes.

After Hazel graduated, she worked at different jobs in housekeeping and helping farms at home.

On November 11, 1993 (??), which is Veteran's Day, Hazel enlisted in the Air Force. She was the first woman from Minnesota to enlist in the Air Force during World War II. She went through basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. After basic training, Hazel was assigned to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, where she worked at the Adjutant General's office. She was honorably discharged from the service in 1945, just before Christmas. She then became a member of the American Legion Post.

On June 4, 1947, Hazel married Morris Anderson. They had four children, three girls and one boy. They lived in Strandquist for two years. Then in 1950, they moved to Washington. The next year, Hazel and Morris bought Ole and Kristina Thompson's, who are Hazel's parents, farm and moved there. Hazel and Morris then went into the dairy business and Hazel also worked at the grocery store in Karlstad.

In 1969, when the Arctic Cat plant opened in Karlstad, Hazel began working there. Her first job at Arctic Cat was in the fibre glass. The next year the fibre glass was moved to Thief River Falls and the sewing was moved to Karlstad, so Hazel began working in the cutting department. At one time there were over 200 people employed at Arctic Cat. The employees voted to join a union and Hazel was voted plant Steward of the IWA. The plant closed in 1980.

In 1988, Hazel and Morris sold their dairy cows and retired from the dairy business. The cows that were not sold were butchered.

Hazel and Morris are still living on the farm they bought from Hazel's parents. Hazel is now employed part time at the North Star Motor Inn. She has eight grandchildren, four grandsons and four granddaughters. All of her children are married and one lives outside of Minnesota.