I debated about posting this photo, first because the photo itself is a bit of a mess, as you can see, and second because it has only a tenuous connection to our family history. But it provides an opportunity to relate a family anecdote and also appreciate a hard-working teacher. According to Mom’s “adult” caption in her photo album, this is “Vida Boegher.” According to Mom’s “teen” caption, this is “Dear Teacher”.
Census data and other records indicate Vida’s name was actually spelled “Beougher.” Considering Mom added the name to the album years later, and she was not naturally a good speller, she actually got pretty close. I don’t have any information about how Vida pronounced her name, possibly something like “Bower.”
During a period in the early 1920s Vida Beougher served as a teacher at Tallman School. According to Mom’s recollection, she had a tough assignment:
Later the school population grew to forty-six, too many for one teacher. The last teacher who had that many students was Vida Bougher [sic]. She lived at the house at the foot of the Bryant Park bridge. From there she would walk to the depot in Albany [a bit under a mile], take the train to Tallman, then walk another mile to the school. She did all the janitor work and taught more than forty kids in all grades in one room. In real bad weather she would stay at our house for a few days. We kids thought that was great because she would even play games with us in the evening.
Speaking of games, the McClains were fond of the card game “Rook.” (It is somewhat similar to Pinochle, but played with a special card deck.) If I am remembering the story correctly, Aunt Betty and Miss Beougher were often partners when they played (perhaps Mom and Uncle Barney were the other partners in the foursome). Aunt Betty would have been barely old enough to grasp the details of the game. If she and Miss Beougher went “set” on a hand (meaning they did not make their bid), Aunt Betty would complain, “Teacher bidded too high!” (Perhaps you would have to be familiar with Rook or a similar game, and with Aunt Betty, to fully appreciate the humor in this.)
Vida Beougher has an interesting story in her own right. She was born in Kansas in 1895, the third of twelve children of D.W. and Frances Beougher. In 1913 or 1914, the family moved to rural Linn County, near Sweet Home. In 1916 D.W. was killed in a logging accident.
In 1920, according to census data, Vida was living at home and teaching, helping support the family (one assumes). Of the other siblings still living at home, her oldest brother Francis (26) was working as a mechanic and her younger brother Daniel (15) was doing farm work. Everyone else was in school.
Based on Mom’s recollection, shortly after this she evidently moved to Albany (alone, or maybe with some siblings) and got the job at Tallman.
In 1928 Frances Beougher moved her family to the Bend area. When she passed away in 1935 ten of her eleven living children resided between Bend and Sisters (the other resided in Albany).
Frances was a teacher in Kansas, and she apparently passed on her interest in teaching. In 1930 four of her daughters were working as teachers: Vida, Mary and Helen in the Bend area, and Ethel in Toledo. In 1935 Ethel and Vida were still teaching, both in Bend.
I have not been able to trace Vida’s life after 1935. Her remains were interred in a Portland mausoleum in 1965, so perhaps she was living in the Portland area. Her oldest brother Francis died in 1973 and is interred at the same mausoleum. Perhaps she was living with him. Vida was interred under the name “Beougher” so it seems likely she never married.
Based on the evident positive impact she had as a teacher on Mom during her “middle school years” (as they would be called now), one hopes Vida continued teaching for many years after our last glimpse of her in 1935.