Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bill's Bits


The next teacher and/or coach at Jackson High School was Louie(Coach)Swearingen.

Mr. Swearingen or Coach as most students called him was a teacher of U. S. Government to 12th graders. He was also the coach of football for the Senior High School. He was a hard line type of coach, but he almost always had a winning team and season. He was a native of Fairmont, Minesota and a graduate of Hamline University. His length of duty at Jackson was many great years and I don't think was ever equalled. Once you got through his government class, you knew how the system worked from the Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial Branches.

As a football coach he was one of a kind. His football practices, which started in late August until November were very regulated and attendance was expected of everyone who wanted to make the football team. The high schools of Pipestone, Luverne, Fairmont Windom and others made for a "tough" schedule of usually eight games. The one season I remember the most was the year and class of 1954.That team went undefeated. I did not play in any of those games, but my team spirit never let up. I don't recall our 1955 season too well because it didn't match up with the 1954 team's many victories. If memory serves me, I believe our team record was 4 wins and 4 losses, or a .500 season. To sum up the years of "Louie" Swearingen, one could say that he was an "institution" that has never been equalled in his area of teaching and coaching.

Another teacher that I came in contact with was our Agriculture instructor, Don Doll. Being from the farm meant that I would be enrolled in the Ag. class. The interesting fact was that Don Doll was my Brother-in-law. If you think that made the class easier, perish the thought. In any event, it was a little "tougher" for me because you were expected to be above any "funny business" and be a star student, which I was not. Mr. Doll was a good Ag instructor and was commiitted to teaching young boys and men how to be good, productive farmers. There were monthly meeting of the FFA Chapter and Mr. Doll always helped conduct the meetings in a constructive way. Health issues (Diabetes) shortened his teaching days and he later was employed as a farm advisor at a bank in Windom, Minnesota. He excelled in that line of work until his death at the young age of only 42.

Another person in my high school memory was our High School Principal, Mr. Otto J. Berg. He was firm, but fair in his dealings with JHS students. Some Principals teach a class or two, but Mr. Otto was a full-time Principal. One of the things we students came up with was the fact that Otto spelled backwards is still Otto, but Otto spelled inside out is "Toots." Mr. Berg had a son named Roger Berg, so we called him "Toots" also. However; that was too easy, so Mr. Berg was "Big Toots" and his son, Roger, was "Little Toots." Needless to say, the intellectual ability of yours truly and others was in need of serious repair. Thus ends my recollection of past JHS teachers over my 4 years in Jackson High School, in Jackson, Minnesota over 55 years

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