Posts Tagged ‘Sharon Wickre’

Rolfe, Iowa, in the ’40s and ’50s: The Wickre Story (About those feed sacks…)

August 31, 2010

After I posted in July about the feed sacks available in the 1950s (and maybe the ’40s?) from Barbara and Henry Wickre’s Climax Feed and Grain in Rolfe, Iowa, I was pleasantly surprised to receive more information from Loel Diggs about those sacks.

Loel is the son of the late Emma and Tom Diggs. He is a 1956 graduate of D.M.T. (Des Moines Township school) which is a little more than four miles northeast of Rolfe, Iowa. (Before my junior high years, which were from the fall of 1966 through the spring of 1969, the D.M.T. school building had become the Rolfe Community School District junior high building. My Rolfe graduating class of ’73 was the last class to have “eighth grade graduation” from/at D.M.T.)

Loel emailed to me the following information about the sacks mentioned by Sharon (Wickre) Rickard in previous posts. His initial information prompted my reply of several questions which resulted in his also telling me about his pickup.

Our email conversations and photos supplied by Loel went as follows.

Here is the Diggs' Farm pickup "loaded for the trip to town" (i.e., Rolfe). (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Loel: I liked your last posting on the Climax Feed & Grain. When in high school (and Dad had bought the pickup) I would take our corn and oats to the mill, have it mixed and ground with feed concentrate, sacked and taken back to the farm and used to feed the flock of laying hens being raised. By the time we had the pickup [1955], the imprinted feed sacks had pretty much disappeared and the concentrate or feed additives were being supplied in paper bags. However, the accumulation of prior cloth feed sacks, from the farm, were the feed sacks that were filled with the mixed and ground feed that I hauled back to the farm.

Loel: I do remember the imprinted feed sacks. Those were the sacks that Mom and my sister would make into dresses, aprons and other stuff. The imprinted concentrate feed sacks, as Sharon states, were delivered  to the farm with their delivery truck or would be brought home by my folks. Then the grinding and mixing of the chicken and other needed ground livestock feed was done on the farm. It was ground with a tractor-belt-driven stationary hammer mill that was hand fed with a scoop shovel.

Loel: If Mother or my sister liked the imprint on the sacks, the imprinted sack only saw the original fill of concentrate feed. Some of the non-imprinted sacks would be made into dish towels, or used over and over again to contain the prepared feed that would be brought back to the farm to be fed. I always enjoyed taking the grain to town (to get it mixed and ground) because it allowed me a chance to get off the farm for a couple of hours during the day.

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This next set of emailed Q. and A. is in response to Loel’s first comments (those immediately above).

Louise: Are the imprinted sacks the ones that had the stripes and other designs on them that Sharon talked about in her first and second audio recording segments? And, the non-imprinted ones just plain?

Loel: Yes. The imprinted sacks were the ones that had all different designs as imprinted fabric does today. The non-imprinted sacks were just plain sacks with no identification on the sacks other than an identification tag sewn into the stitches to close the sack. Some feed sacks would come with a brand name imprinted on the fabric (such as FELCO Feeds). If Mom was going to use these, she would first bleach the sacks until the imprint would disappear off the fabric before being made into dish towels.

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Later this week I’ll post Part II of Loel’s and my communication in regard to Climax Feed and Grain and also about Loel’s 1955 Chevy pickup.

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


Rolfe, Iowa, in the ’40s and ’50s: The Wickre Story — Part IV

August 16, 2010

This Rolfe Homecoming pin belongs to my sister, Clara, who was in the same graduating class as Sharon. When this pin was sold at Homecoming time in 1958, Clara and Sharon were juniors; I was yet to turn three years old.

This post includes the fourth (of a total of five) segment of a conversation I had last spring with Sharon (Wickre) Rickard, Rolfe High School class of 1960.

To listen to Sharon elaborate about many topics, including her success selling Homecoming pencils in the early 1950s, click on the following link. This segment is 6 minutes long. SharonWickreRickardDPart4


Sharon is shown here in front of the office at Climax Mill and Feed, later known as Climax Feed and Grain, in Rolfe, Iowa. (Even later, the office location behind Sharon became the Farmers Co-op grain elevator office.) The mill was purchased by her parents, Barbara and Henry Wickre, in 1944. Can't you just see this little girl selling those Homecoming pencils in Rolfe's "beer joints" in the early '50s?! (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Last spring Sharon and I talked about former Rolfe Public Library personnel. This image is of page 219 of the 1981 Pocahontas County History. When Mother (Marion Gunderson, lower right in the above image) retired in 1998 after working 35 years at the library, Bette Brinkman became the library director followed by Karen Kerns. Penny Tilden is the current director. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Sharon and several others mentioned that the Rolfe Public Library used to be at the location of Rolfe’s current post office (shown on the map posted with the third segment). From there, in 1954 the library’s collection was moved to the building pictured above.

One octogenarian said he thought, but wasn’t sure, that before it was at the post office location, that the library was in the basement of maybe the “old bank building” in Rolfe. If you have a tidbit or a lot of information specifically about that, or in general about the former libraries, if you would email that information to me (at or comment below, it could help satisfy inquiring minds. (When a person offers information to me via personal communication, I do not include it on the blog unless I have permission from that person.)

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To navigate to the posts that include the first three segments, click on these links: first segment (9 1/2 minutes), second segment (7 minutes) and third segment (6 1/2 minutes).

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Rolfe, Iowa, in the ’40s and ’50s: The Wickre Story — Part II

July 9, 2010

According to Sharon (Wickre) Rickard, this photo was taken of the feed mill in Rolfe, Iowa, "After my dad opened for business." At the beginning of the Wickre ownership of this business in 1944, it was named Climax Mill and Feed. Later it was Climax Feed and Grain. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Click here to listen to the second of five segments of a conversation I had this spring with Sharon (Wickre) Rickard (Rolfe High School, 1960). This segment is approximately seven minutes long.

The first two segments refer mainly to Sharon’s parents’ Rolfe business shown in the photograph above. All of the five segments have to do with Sharon being raised in Rolfe, Iowa, from 1944 to 1960.

If anything Sharon said conjures up any of your memories, I hope you will email them to me ( and/or include them below in the comment area.

Sharon’s parents, Barbara and Henry Wickre, purchased Climax Mill and Feed in 1944, the same year they moved to Rolfe with Sharon and her sister Beryl. (Sharon was two years old at the time.) Because the functionality of the business changed at a later date, they changed the name to Climax Feed and Grain. That functionality change is explained in the first segment included in a previous post. That previous post shows two photos…including the “elevator” scale.

In the comment section of that previous post, my sister, Clara, asked me to tell my story about that scale. It IS a fun little story…! But, not then! You may navigate to that story by clicking on the following links.

Grain Elevators and Teenage Dating — Part I

Grain Elevators and Teenage Dating — Part II

Subsequent segments of my conversation with Sharon refer to several former and/or present landmarks in Rolfe, Iowa. I’ll most likely have the third segment posted by mid- to late- next week.

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(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.

Rolfe, Iowa, in the ’40s and ’50s: The Wickre Story

July 4, 2010

Sharon (Wickre) Rickard said this photo is of Climax Feed and Grain, "When we bought it from Vic Shimon in 1944." (Click on photo to enlarge.)

This 2009 photo is of the same location as the photo at the top of this post. In this photo (immediately above) is the former Farmers Co-op grain elevator office and scale, used until moving to the new location to the south across Broad Street in 2002. The scale dial hung in the window and was used until the early/mid 1980's when it was replaced with a digital readout and printer system. (Click photo to enlarge.).

This post includes the first segment of a conversation I had with Sharon (Wickre) Rickard (Rolfe High School ’60) this spring. We talked a lot about the Rolfe business owned by Sharon’s parents: Climax Mill and Feed which later became Climax Feed and Grain.

To listen to the first segment (9 1/2 minutes long), click on this link: SharonWickreRickardDPart1.

Partial map of Rolfe, Iowa, including landmarks referred to by Sharon. (Click on map to enlarge.)

This map at left includes just one portion of Rolfe over a cross-section of time. (I.e., it includes a mix of former and current landmarks.) I’ve tried to include areas in Rolfe that Sharon mentioned during our conversation*.

I’ve divided Sharon’s and my conversation into five segments. I’ll include those segments in five sequential posts. However, in the string of those posts, I may intersperse additional posts about unrelated topics.

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*If you want to refer to the map while you listen to the audio recording, you may do so by opening your browser to view the map, and then by opening a second tab/window in your browser to listen to the audio.

Most likely I won’t post the second segment for another week or so, since I want to post something related to my dad. As far as my dad goes, his memorial service will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday, July 31st at the Shared Ministry in Rolfe, Iowa. Immediately after the service, there will be a luncheon in the church basement. (I.e., we will not be going to the cemetery between the service and luncheon.)

Daddy requested that, in lieu of flowers, any memorials be given to the Rolfe Lions Club. For anyone who wishes to do so, contributions may be mailed to P.O. Box 101, Rolfe, Iowa, 50581.

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)