Posts Tagged ‘Western Normal School’

00000001This is the scrapbook which my parents gave to me.  In it my grandmother (Lucille) Edna Mulder (later Edna Zuidweg) recorded the events of her high school graduation from Caledonia High School (Michigan), as well as a few clippings from her first year at Western Normal School in Kalamazoo.

In 1929, my grandmother graduated a year early, at age seventeen, along with her older sister Dorothy Mulder (later Dorothy Plott).  Grandma earned the 3rd highest GPA at 93.85% and thus was honored with the title “class historian.” Her sister was salutatorian. Grandma’s best friend Blanche Stauffer was valedictorian. Clearly, grades were not inflated in those days at Caledonia High School.

Grandma was the 2nd oldest girl in her family of three girls and two boys. When I was young and reading my mother’s copy of Little Women, Grandma told me she always thought that she was just like Jo, the 2nd oldest and the writer of the family.  Her sister Dorothy was Meg, and her younger sister Alvena (called Vena, later Vena Stimson) was Amy.  It makes sense to me that “Jo” would have been placed a year ahead so she could go to school with “Meg,” and that she would earn class historian to her sister’s salutatorian.


Dorothy Mulder’s Salutatory (beginning portion)

Edna Mulder’s high school transcript

Edna Mulder’s class history (beginning portion)

The scrapbook contains wonderful photos of Grandma, her friends, classmates, and teachers, but it doesn’t solve the mystery of who put that drinking glass ring on the cover.

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, graduated from Western Normal School and accepted a job as a teacher in Kent County for the 1931-32 school year.

1931-32 Teacher Contract

1931-32 Teacher Contract

This contract, pictured above, shows that she was hired on at a salary of Xxxty-five dollars per month.  That’s right:  Xxx because that portion of the paper document has worn away over the years.  Any guesses how much her salary was?  $25?  $45?  $65? $85?  It doesn’t look like it was over a hundred.  I found a list of salaries in Johnson County, Kentucky, for the same year.

According to these salaries, it’s likely that, as a new teacher, my grandmother could have been hired in at $75 or $85 per month.  If anybody has a better idea of salaries in rural Michigan at that time, I’d love to hear it.

When my grandmother started her teaching job, she had already been dating my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.  They married at the end of the school year, on May 21, 1932, in South Bend, Indiana.

Adrian Zuidweg and Edna Mulder1930

Adrian Zuidweg and Edna Mulder

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