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Roommates once more; College pals are reunited PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Friday, 07 October 2011 18:22


Marjory Hayford, left, and Ruth Morehead were roommates in Green Terrace Hall at Kearney State Teachers College in 1934. Fate and circumstance reunited the women at the Golden Ours Convalescent Home in Grant, where they are roommates again.

 

By Diane Wetzel

The North Platte Telegraph

 

Sometimes you end up where you started.

In 1934, two young high school graduates from different parts of the state found their way to what was then the Nebraska State Teachers College in Kearney.

They were roommates for nine months in Green Terrace Hall, where they studied together, cooked together and found ways to have fun together at the height of the country’s Depression.

Ruth Hahn grew up on a farm near Hamlet, Neb., about 35 miles west of McCook. Marjory Gotobed was also a farm girl, raised with her younger brother on a farm near Kearney.

“I had a scholarship to study law at Drake University,” Marj (as she prefers to be called) said. “But there was no money to go away to school, so I stayed in Kearney to go to school.”

Ruth wasn’t sure what the future held for her after graduation from high school, so she decided to go to college at Kearney and get her teaching certificate.

“It wasn’t all that unusual for women to go to college then,” Marj said. “My aunt went to Kearney to school back when it was called a ‘normal school.’”

In those days, nine months of study earned a teaching certificate, qualifying to teach at the elementary school level.

The two friends finished their education, applied for their first teaching jobs, wrote letters for a few years until, busy with their growing families, they lost touch.

Until now.

Marj settled in Ogallala after following her husband Norman Hayford around the country during World War II while he served in the Navy.

“When he went overseas, I thought about staying in New York City because they were advertising for teachers there,” she said. “But we had bought a little house in Ogallala, and I found myself so homesick that I came back here and stayed.”

Ruth taught at a country school in Chase County until she met and married her husband Maynard Morehead. The couple lived and worked on a farm near Wauneta.

Maynard died in 1971, and Norman passed away in 1992.

Ruth moved to Grant where she eventually lived in an assisted-living apartment until failing health brought her to the Golden Ours Convalescent Home.

Marj remained in Ogallala, returning to teaching after her two boys were grown and retired from the Ogallala school system. Failing health brought her to Golden Ours, where she reunited with Ruth.

Both women have buried their husbands. Ruth has lost two (Al and Wayne) of her three sons. Marj’s son Kent died in 2010. Her surviving son Phil lives in Florida.

“You don’t live this long and not have sorrow in your life,” Ruth said. “But finding each other again has been a great surprise. I’ve also had a lot of joy.”

“Ruth was always the best storyteller, and she was so funny,” Marj said. “One day I heard her joking with the nurse about once knowing someone named ‘Gotobed’ and I said, hey, that’s me!”

Now 95, the women share a small room at the facility. “I’m so glad you made that joke,” Marj tells Ruth. “Isn’t it wonderful we found each other now.”

Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2011 18:24