Chesterton Tribune

Attended one room school: Twins celebrate 90 years

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Bernice Nielsen and Anna Nielsen Foster were honored recently at the family’s annual reunion with birthday wishes for their 90th birthday.

The invitation to the event sported a photograph of the girls on a horse and the picnic date was selected in their honor. They were born Aug. 28, 1914 the daughters to Mads and Christina Anderson Nielsen.

At age 90, Bernice lives across the street from the family homestead in Jackson Twp. and Anna lives in Liberty Twp.

They say twins have a bond that is closer than regular siblings. The girls are two of seven brothers and sisters.

“We used to have the same answers on homework and didn’t look at each other’s homework,” she said.

They attended one-room schools in Jackson Twp. The first was Carter School, within walking distance of the homestead.

“We used to be able to walk home for a good hot lunch,” Bernice recalled.

The Carter School is now home to their nephew and niece and their children.

For their first year of high school, the twins attended a one-room school house on Tratebas Rd. and 325E.

“It was brick, but was hit by a tornado that removed the school,” Bernice said.

They then attended high school at the Carter Community Hall located on the west side of 400 E and Tratebas Rd. For their last year of high school they were transferred to Washington Twp.

“The graduating class total was nine students,” she said, adding that she enjoyed riding the bus and attending school.

Both Bernice and Anna followed nursing careers. Anna went to South Shore Hospital in Chicago, Bernice graduated from Evanston Hospital. She worked as a visiting nurse in Chicago and enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps as a Second Lieutenant. She did basic training at McCoy, Wis.

“Much of my career was transporting dependents and troops on ships,” she said. She traveled from New York and Brooklyn, went through the Panama Canal and to Germany, England and Italy. The Pacific ports of call were Honolulu, Manilla, Guam, Okinawa, and Japan. In the states she was stationed at Ft. Rucker, Ala. and Ft. Campbell, Ky.

Bernice moved back in 1975 and built her home across from the family homestead.

Anna married Howard Foster and had two children, William and Suzanne, both of whom are now grandparents. Anna worked as a private nurse most of her life and now enjoys being a great grandmother.


Posted 9/28/2004