By Madalyn DeMint
Special to the Richmond News
Hardin wasn’t always the same as it is now. Nor was the school. The town has changed, the people have changed, and the school has done some changing of its own. Longtime resident Ivan Rhodes Hogan knows something about those changes and holds many memories in his heart.
Hogan has lived in Hardin for most of his life except for about five years.
“Born and raised here, just a good place to live,” Hogan says.
Hogan graduated from Hardin School in 1943. There were 22 students in his graduating class – 11 girls and 11 boys.
Hogan went to the three-story building in the east part of Hardin. The top floor was the gymnasium. The other floors had classrooms. Mary B. Frazier was his favorite teacher.
“She had eyes in the back of her head, didn’t miss a thing,” Hogan says.
Even though she was the principal of Hardin School, the kids called her Mary B.
In school, students often put on plays.
“Mary B. always put them on, up on the third floor,” Hogan says. “I was always the mean kid.”
Hogan says that before people had a lot of vehicles, Hardin residents would rent their barns to the country folk who had to ride their horses to school. So while students were in town, their horses would be in a barn, Hogan says.
He tells another story. Once, his shop class made a big sled for an assignment.
“Fit six or seven people. We’d find somebody with a car to pull it,” Hogan says. “It’s a wonder nobody got killed.”
Hogan says in his day, there wasn’t any lunch provided by the school.
“We brown bagged it,” Hogan says.
Hardin School also had no proms or dances.
“There wasn’t a lot of time to mess around,” Hogan says. “Tryin’ to stay out of trouble was the big thing.” He and his friends did have weenie roasts out by Crooked River, he adds.
Hogan was in the H Club, which he says was strictly a sports club. Hogan says Hardin’s rival has always been the Norborne Pirates.
“That started way before I was in school,” Hogan says.
Hogan’s junior year, his football team kept its opponents scoreless, and the Bulldogs won conference that year.
Hogan’s senior year, his class took a senior trip on the doodle bug, or street car, to Kansas City, and they lost track of a classmate.
“That was about the end of the senior trips,” Hogan says.
Besides school memories, Hogan has lots of memories about the town of Hardin.
For example, Hardin used to have a skating rink.
“It was 25 cents to skate when I was in school,” Hogan says.
Hardin also had three grocery stores, two drug stores, three automobile dealers, four barbers, two dry goods stores, a doctor, a dentist, two grain elevators, a furniture store, a movie theater, a leather goods store and a jail, Hogan says. But someone burned the jail down one Halloween.
“Hardin was a pretty boomin’ town,” Hogan says.
There used to be a park where the car wash is now. On Saturday nights, people hung out there. The movie theater played mostly Westerns, and Hogan took tickets on Saturday nights.
“They were about 15 cents a ticket,” Hogan says.
When he was young, Hogan worked on his family dairy farm before school and after football, basketball or baseball practice.
“I milked before I came to school,” Hogan says. “Then after practice, I’d walk 1½ miles outta town back home.”
Hogan also helped his family deliver milk. It was 2 cents a pint and 4 cents a quart.
“Delivered two times a day. Sometimes on Halloween we’d set the milk on people’s porches and kids would follow us around and take the milk right off the porches after we sat ‘em’ down,” Hogan says.
After high school, Hogan completed his military training and left for Europe as part of the 104th Infantry Division.
He left for overseas out of Boston; there were 33 ships in his convoy.
He went overseas for nine months and was in combat in 1945. He missed D-Day by five days.
“I’m just lucky to be here,” Hogan says.
Hogan went to college for two semesters and then dropped out to work on a farm. This job did not pan out well though, because the owner died, and Hogan was left without a job.
Hogan then went to the city and worked several jobs. He was offered a job with the Hardin Savings Association, so he left the city jobs and worked for the association for 41 years.
He retired from the association as the president in 1990. After Hogan retired, he served on the board of directors.
Hogan met his wife, the late Mary Ann Davis, when she was a teacher at Hardin School. Their children also went to Hardin; two of them are bankers, and one is a teacher.
Hogan is still a busy man. He is currently involved in his church in Hardin and the American Legion. He also cooks for the volunteer firemen in Hardin.
In his life in Hardin, Hogan witnessed two historic floods.
The flood in 1951 shut down the town for a while, he says. The National Guard came in and evacuated everyone from the town. People couldn’t get back in unless they had an identification number, which was on a regular dog tag.
During the 1993 flood, Hogan sat on the overpass and watched the cemetery.
“The graves popped up like corks in water. It was really quite fascinating,” he says.
Whether by floods or just time, Hardin has changed in many ways. Hogan lived through many of these changes and we students were glad to hear about them through our interview with this long-time Hardin citizen.
“We made our own fun,” Hogan says.
(Editor’s note: DeMint is a student in Sara Seidel’s Introduction to Literature Class at Hardin-Central. Students interviewed Hogan in a mock press conference in the class.)