S: Helen Charlotte Hill Barta - Mother & Grandmother
BC: Our Mother
FC: Helen Charlotte Hill Barta Mother, loving grandmother,mentor, disciplinarian, spiritual guide,humorist, and friend. | Mom always said that her greatest accomplishments were her three girls. But to us her greatest legacy was the joy she gave to us and others. Her parents had taught her that she could do anything she set her mind to do. Life was an opportunity we needed to grab and be the best at what we wanted to be. She taught us by example – help others who have less then you have; always forgive and forget; nothing is so bad it isn’t good for something; when problems arise you can laugh or cry, but laughing is more fun; always be true to God and yourself; don’t do anything you would not be proud to tell me. If we got in trouble in school, we got in trouble at home. She wanted us to stretch our wings and go places we had never been. But later in life she wished we had not gone so far away or would have nested closer to home. So she came to us. She not only gave a legacy of love to us, but gave it to her grandchildren. So here is a tribute to our mother, her life, her joys, her memories so precious to us now. We love you, Mom/Nana.
1: Helen Charlotte Hill was born on the 30th of July in 1916. She was the sixth daughter of Charles and Hilda Hill. She lived on a farm outside of Braddock ND, Before she was born, her three oldest sisters had died. She was a happy child. One story told about her was that she loved to dance, especially on her toes. When the local minister came to call, her father asked her to toe dance for him. Her mother was mortified, but she was thrilled. She loved to run through the fields and pick flowers for her mother. She lived just a few miles from her mother's sister Emma, her husband Rennie, and their two boys, Lorenzo and Charles. Those boys became her best friends as she loved to spend time at their house. The three of them would often get into trouble. One time they found some cigarettes left by a hired hand and went behind the barn to smoke. They almost set the barn on fire, so they were much more careful about their smoking from then on. | Helen, Lorenzo, Aunt Emma, Charles, Lillian, and Mother Hilda.- in front Chet and Mabel | When Mom was young she enjoyed being outside with the animals. She had a gosling, Pokey, who would follow her all over. It was one pet that was hers alone.
2: As a young girl, Helen loved to wear her overalls. She wanted to do everything the boys did, and she couldn't do that in dresses. She even hated to take them off to be washed. | This is Helen in her 8th grade graduation dress. Her mother was an expert seamstress. The girls would go through a catalog and pick out a dress and Hilda could make it just like the picture. Helen said she always felt well dressed even though her clothes were not purchased in a store or catalog. | Helen and Mabel were in the same confirmation class. Helen was very bright and skipped a grade. When she was in the 2nd grade she knew her times tables so well that she could beat the 8th graders in her country school. | Chet, "Beauty."and Helen "Barb Eckery and I used to sing duets together for doings in town and school--like 'The boy who stuttered and the girl who lisped.' In our small school we were in almost all plays. I was Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”. I knew the whole play and helped kids in it."
3: Helen was very talented in basketball, the only sport for girls in her high school. Although she was only 5'6", she was the center on her team. These pictures were taken in 1931-1932. In the picture below she is 4th from the left. In the other picture she is on the end in the second row | Since North Dakota was cold and has many snow storms in the winter, the Hills would rent a house in town during the winter. Charlie would stay on the farm and take care of the animals, and Hilda would stay in town with the children. That way Mom could play basketball and partake in the other school and church activities. | Helen was an excellent student. She was valedictorian of her class. Her parents were always encouraging and were very proud of their children. When she graduated from high school, she received a scholarship to Jamestown College but could not afford the books, room and board. So she went to work for a lady in town to save money. | Helen loved to read and would memorize poetry. She was especially fond of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and could recite many verses including "Song of Hiawatha" into her 80's.
4: Hilda, our Grandma Hill, in her garden in Washington. | "I never had much to do with Dad. He bawled me out lots and told me not to be so silly. This hurt me for years. Dad always saw we attended all school functions, encouraged us. Proud of his kids. Not only in school, but SS and church. He encouraged us with 'You can do it' and Mom agreed—so nothing was impossible for us. This was great for one learned self esteem, so we knew we could do what we wanted." | "I loved my mother. Tho’t she was a wonderful, precious Mom—too good to her erring child. Wanted Mom to attend all our school functions. She was so kind and encouraging. She was so gifted in her hard work and always praised us." | Charles and Hilda Hill in 1937.
5: "I went to "State Teacher’s College – Valley City. That was 2 1/2 years after I graduated from HS. Then 3 week late for winter quarter, so I was put in slower class. I was bored." "Although I had a scholarship to Jamestown College, I had graduated from high school [she was the Valedictorian]—but there was no money to go to college so I stayed home, visited school and felt I didn’t belong when I visited school. Then I worked in Steele doing housework until Lloyd Wills, Braddock Sup’t. helped me go work at VC ST College—so I would go to college in Feb. 1935." College to Helen was "Just having fun. Studies were easy. I worked cleaning Dean of Women’s room. I think Halls too." Since the townspeople of Braddock had given Lillian money to go to college, Lillian also helped her sister with a few of the expenses. Helen went to college for one year and earned temporary certification for three years to teach in a one-room school in North Dakota. | 1935-ValleyCTC Mary Corbett, (roommate), Adeline Snellness, Mildred Peterson, and Helen | State Teachers College Valley City, North Dakota
6: Helen began teaching at Baker school which was in Kidder County, South of Steele in 1936. The young people in the community had formed a drama club, getting together and putting on plays. Everett Barta lived close to where Helen was staying so he was assigned to bring the new school teacher to their club meeting. | It was love at first sight. They continued seeing each other through the the spring and fall. Their second Christmas together, Everett gave Helen a diamond and they announced their engagement which was a disappointment to Everett's family as they thought they were getting married right away. But they were relieved when the young couple told them they didn't plan to marry until June of 1940.
7: "Helen’s Dad had farmed big and bought a lot of land and machinery so with crops as they were, he lost everything. Helen’s mother had a sister in the Seattle area who encouraged them to come there. They bought an old Chevy and loaded what they could hang on that including three grown children and headed west. They had a rather hectic trip out west. There was some car trouble and Helen’s brother, Chet, who was 14 did most of the driving. They were thrilled with the beauty of the country and of that when they got there. Of course things were rough there, in the middle of the depression. There weren’t any jobs. They picked a little fruit, which paid but very little, as well as trying to buy a home without any money or a job. They lived with the aunt for quite some time and were finally able to come through it and had a home and jobs. This was heartbreak for two lovebirds. The only bright spot was a promise of a school south of Braddock next fall for Helen." Ev | In 1938, Helen's three-year certificate ran out. She didn't have enough money to go back to college, so she left her sweetheart in ND and moved to Washington to be with her family. She found work in Green's Drug store and although she missed Everett, it was good to be back with her family.
8: Helen was always aware of fashion trends. Here she is in the outfits she chose. She and her sisters enjoyed the single life in Seattle going out especially to the Cinema, and there were the letters she wrote and received several times a week to her sweetheart, Ev. | During their times of separation, Everett and Helen wrote over 1000 letters to each other expressing their love and patiently waiting for that day in June.
9: Helen purchased ivory satin from a fire sale and her friend’s mother sewed her dress. The total cost was $15. Here is the beautiful bride surrounded by calla lilies and carrying her calla lily bouquet at a Lutheran Church in Seattle, where she and Everett were married. The reception was held at her parent's house in Marysville. "Hegge was to pick up Dad and me and take us to the church. He didn’t show up and after waiting over 4 years, I didn’t want to miss it. We took off in my car and how we got there, I don’t know." Ev | At last!
10: This blue wool suit was her going-away suit. Her jewelry, a cameo, was a wedding gift from Everett. She wore both her wedding gown and this suit for their 50th anniversary. | June 9, 1940. The wedding day finally arrived. Everett's parents and sister Elma and her family came. Also Aunt Emma from ND rode out to Washington with Everett for the event. Lillian, Mabel, and Helen Irish, a friends were her attendants. Everett had Howard, Chet and Helen's cousin, Justin Safford. | After their wedding they drove down the coast to the San Francisco World's Fair and Los Angeles driving through the redwoods. The people there realized they were honeymooners and played a song for the bride and groom from ND. They came back through Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City and arrived in Bismarck the beginning of July. Everett began building a house for Elma and Howard.
11: On March 4th, 1941, Bonnie was added to their happy little family. | Mom with Bonnie while living on the farm about 1943. | Mom with Bonnie on her wedding day, August 12, 1962. | Helen outside their apartment house in Bismarck in 1940.
12: "In 1943 Dad was sick of the farm and it was getting hard for him to do the work. He said that if I wanted the farm, he would sell it to me. I went to the selective service and told them I could go on the farm or go for a defense job. They said if I could go on a farm that was what they wanted me to do." Everett | "Our second daughter, Kathleen, was born on September 1st 1943. Grandma Barta came to take care of Bonnie. I remember it was cold so we covered garden stuff and it froze that night. Bonnie had very little hair when she was little and Kathy was born with a lot of black hair. Bonnie said, 'She has hair like Charlie' (our favorite horse.)” Everett
13: On February 16,1950 Charette was added to the family. She looked just like Bonnie did as a baby, so Mom put up Bonnie's picture on the piano and everyone thought it was a picture of Charette. She was a living doll to her sisters. They had fun playing and dressing her. She was such a happy child.
14: Family was always important to Helen. She was very popular in school and with her fine honed sense of humor had many close girlfriends. She was closest to her two sisters and since she moved to Washington to work for a year and a half while waiting for that day in June 1940, she grew even closer to her now grown-up family. After her marriage it was difficult to live in North Dakota so far away from her family, especially her mother. Lillian married Hegge Iverson and they had five children. She was mother and "preacher's wife," which kept her quite busy. Mabel married Michael Schmidt and lived in Everett WA. She would write and send the sweetest gifts to all of us. Mom was especially protective of Mabel. Chet grew up to be the family protector. He married dear Aunt Bernita. They had four children and he ran a very successful insurance business in Portland. Grandma and Grandpa Hill lived in Marysville, WA, and Mom tried to see them as often as possible. | Helen and school friends | The three sisters | Ev, Mabel, Rennie, Helen w/girls, Emma, Hilda and Charlie. | Helen & Mabel | Chet Helen & girls | Helen & Lillian | Lillian, Chet & Helen 1990
15: 1916: Hill Family Home in Braddock, where Helen was born | 1936: When the Hills lost their family farm in the '30's, the family moved to Washington state, but Helen returned to ND to teach. | 1940: Apartments in Bismarck where Helen & Everett spent their first few years. | 1941: Everett built this house for Helen in Bismarck. | 1943: Barta Farm house, their next home. Helen raised a garden and her two girls. They both worked very hard. | 1947: They moved the wash shed from the farm and added on to it. They also added Charette to the family | 1954: Needing more space, Everett built this house for his family. Helen had a huge flower and vegetable garden. | 1966: For their 25th wedding anniversary, Everett drew plans for a new house and gave them to Helen. A year later they moved in. Other than a few winters in Boulder City NV, this was Helen's home for the rest of her life. | Helen's Homes
16: In the late 50's Mom began a private kindergarten in her basement. She loved teaching the little 5-year olds as well as teaching her high school Sunday School class. She was also a 4-H leader and belonged to Homemakers, Friendship Club, and WSCS church group. But I believe her greatest joy was in being a mother. She was loving, but demanding. She told us we could do our best and then demanded that we do it! She loved her flower garden and was especially proud of her peonies. She had a large vegetable garden which she and Dad worked on. It was our job as children to pick weeds. Kathy hated this job, but enjoyed the tomatoes and rhubarb that were in it. Bonnie didn't mind the some of the garden work so she didn't complain. But shelling peas was not her favorite task. Charette was young enough to get out of most of the work. Mom loved to have the ladies in for a tea, a birthday party, a going away party, or any other occasion that allowed her to be surrounded by her good friends.
17: What a joy when the grandchildren arrived. She spent lots of time with Kiki telling her Bible stories and using the flannel board to illustrate the lessons. Chip was so gentle and kind to her when she stayed with them. He didn't mind at all when she gave him a knuckle rub. She would often check with Kiki on the latest fashions, and they would make monkey faces at each other! | Grandchildren
18: Helen loved her grandchildren and they loved her. Just as she had done with her girls, she encouraged them to do the very best they could. She loved them and accepted them completely. Each one had a special relationship with her, and her legacy lives on in them. | When we remember Nana we always think of how she made us laugh. Whenever she was around, there was always fun and craziness. Her sense of humor is clearly evident in her grand daughters as well as their love of life and family. She was a strong woman and has passed on that trait to the three youngest Hill-Barta women. | Blessings
19: Nana with Kris 1975 | Christmas in Nevada with her two youngest grandkids 1983 | Nana with Kris & Kiki during Steele's Centennial 1981 | Nana with Linne 1988
20: Celebrations | Helen & Everett 25th Anniversary in 1965 | Happy Birthday Everyone 1981 | Helen & Everett after 50 years of marriage in 1990 | Happy 80th Birthday Helen and Everett July 1996
21: Always bringing joy and laughter . . . .