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THE GREAT DEPRESSION It was during her freshman year of high school, however, that the stock market crashed, and crashed hard. "Everyone had been living high and then all of a sudden the big perks came to an end," she said in Harper's book. "We didn't have any pocket change, but when we did have an extra five cents we would buy a candy bar. Milky Way had just come out." The school district cut extracurricular activities. No gym classes for girls. No dances. Lights were turned off at night. "It was just bare bones," she said in the book. Only football remained, and Walker liked packing in the wooden bleachers with others for what is a timeless tradition. "The Nampa Bull Dogs were well known and lots of families would come to see them play!," she said in the book. The economy had improved enough by her senior year to allow for prom. Though strict, her parents let her go to the dance. "I had a boyfriend that year, named Gilbert Knighten," she said in the book. "I had such a pretty store bought dress. It was sea-foam green. Real soft and luscious. We sure thought we had fun. I helped decorate for the prom. We spent hours making clusters of tissue paper wisteria. It was really pretty." After graduating from high school in 1932, Walker enrolled at Lewiston Normal School (now Lewis-Clark State College) to earn a two-year teaching degree. After teaching for three years, she was awarded a Life Certificate, she said in the book. Finding employment was not easy in the midst of the Depression. "You were lucky to get a job," she said, and certainly felt that way when she found herself in Banks, Idaho, at the age of 19, teaching 34 children in a schoolhouse next to the Payette River. "The eighth grade boys and girls were bigger than me but for some reason they like me. One kid liked me and asked me if he could be the bouncer," she said, laughing. "I think I grew up more in that year one year than I ever had before. It was different and yet I enjoyed a lot of it because they were so good to me." She had met her future husband Buck at Lewiston and when they got married in 1935, she wasn't hired back at the school in Banks due to Depression-era restrictions that only allowed one person in a two-person household to work. "Jobs were hard to get and there were so many restrictions," she said. The two soon moved to De Smet, Idaho, after Buck was hired to teach at "a little country school" with one room, she said. "I didn't have anything at all to do so I taught music and the first two grades," she said. "So they got two teachers for the price of one." A rough patch lay ahead. "We had a bad time. Our first child (Clifford) didn't live," she said. "He was born early and didn't have much to help him like they do today." " ... We moved in with my folks," she said in the book. "We needed to get back on our feet a little emotionally as well as financially. We wanted to help the folks out as much as we could. We saw one way to do this was to plant a tree in my folks' back yard." She and her husband picked out a "wee weeping willow sprout," for which they paid 50 cents, she said in the book. They planted it close to the irrigation ditch running through her parents' back yard. "It just so happens that the site we picked was over the old outhouse. My how that Weeping Willow tree grew!" she said in the book. "In about ten years the precious wee sprout grew to be so big that my Dad could build a good sized tree house for his grandchildren." Buck was hired to teach at Sunny Ridge in Nampa in a two-room school. "So Buck taught the upper four (grades) and I taught the lower four grades," she said. "We did that for three years and lived at the school in a cute little house right by the school. It's a nice brick schoolhouse – in fact it's still there and still used." They started a lunch program there, whereby the parents would furnish the food and a hired cook would prepare it. "Oh, she was a good cook and that food was so good," she said. "So our students got to have a good meal." Government intervention ended their pioneering lunch program, much to their chagrin. "We did real well when we did it on our own but when the (government) came in it wasn't good any more," she said. She got pregnant again and quit teaching. Buck got a job with the telephone company. She was out of teaching for eight years. "Again it was the war (World War II) and they needed teachers so bad and I went back to teaching," she said. "Anyway, I ended up teaching for 34 years. But I liked it. By this time they started to consolidate so you didn't have little country schools anymore." HAPPY, UPBEAT It's not easy for anyone to sum up their entire existence, especially if you've lived 100 years. And she's lost two children – Rich was killed in a car wreck in his early 20s. But through it all, she stays upbeat. She smiles a lot. She visits with friends and neighbors and likes to do some light housekeeping to help pitch in, even if she doesn't need to. She walks. She enjoys card games on the computer. Her daughter and son-in-law love and appreciate her. It's really that simple. In the morning she enjoys the enclosed patio. The sun bounces off the lake. Hummingbirds show up when Pat puts out their feeders. And Mary Walker sits with her breakfast, a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle and drinks it all in. And for Judy Harper, who would follow in her mother's footsteps and teach – the family has several teachers – the outlook and perspective she's gained from her mother have been invaluable. "Everyone of us has a real adventure spirit," Harper said. And like the hummingbirds, Walker said she just "floats along." After breakfast, she walks a mile with a group of friends and neighbors. "She's better known here than I am," Harper said, laughing. And Walker laughs again, the smile omnipresent. "My big philosophy is – it will all work out. When my husband was teaching at Nampa, he didn’t realize he was just filling in til the next guy came and so they didn't hire him back. And it really made him feel really bad." Returning home from a friend's wedding where Walker had been matron of honor, they didn't know what was next in their plans. "And he got to worrying so about it and I said, 'Just wait, it will all work out.' And it does. It always works out. Maybe not the way you think but generally for the best," she said. So we got back to Nampa and they called and wanted both of us to teach at Sunny Ridge." Harper said her mother has passed along that sunny disposition "to all of us." "Well, it will all work out," Harper said. "This too shall pass. We're a pretty positive family. And happy." In Harper's book, Walker said her childhood was wonderful. "My parents were very fair with all of us," she said. "We had so many varied experiences. I had so many adventures that many of my friends never had the chance to experience. I know without a doubt that my parents were such good parents because they unconditional love, sense of adventure and light hearts have been passed on successfully through the generations." "I am truly blessed with four generations of fun loving, adventurous children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren."