Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms, California

History of Parent Teacher's Association of Twentynine Palms

By Sarah L. Krushat, Historian

On September 29, 1933 the desert community of Twenty nine Palms at a meeting of its local Parent's club voted by an overwhelming majority to affiliate with the National body of the Parent Teachers Association. This decision was due in no small measure to Mrs. Norine Barnett, whose past experience in club work had well fitted her to organize and launch a movement of this kind.

Election of officers took place at the first meeting on October 12, 1933 with the result that Mrs. Merhl Ross was elevated to the presiding chair with Miss Mary Jane La Point, a member of the school's faculty as vice president. Mrs. Barnett's undoubted ability won her the post of secretary to the new organization while Mrs. Annibert Whited was called upon to fill the position of the second vice president. The offices of Treasurer, Parliamentarian and Historian fell to the lot of Mrs. Mildred Michels, Mrs. Olive Hardy and Mrs. Sarah Krushat respectively.

With this initial start the people of this isolated section rallied to the support of the new club and the membership list grew steadily thru'out the year. Even the miners and prospectors from the hills surrounding the valley gave their unselfish support to this movement which had as its basic aim the welfare of the school child.

Plans were immediately mapped out for a series of entertainments and affairs to raise funds for the various charitable and philanthropic interests of the club. Quilting, card parties, dances, food sales; all were well attended by people who had to travel many miles over roads that in most instances were merely two ruts thru the sand and sagebrush. Ignoring the discomforts and inconveniences involved in carrying out their project these homesteaders came from far and near in their cars and trucks, religiously and loyally attended meetings and discussed ways and means of making their first term a success.

How well they worked can be judged when it was revealed in the years final summing up that free milk had been supplied to thirty children thru'out the school term, one student had been fitted with glasses and the cleaning and covering of the school tank had been financed, thus safeguarding the purity of the school's water supply. At Christmas a community party was given at which every child in the valley received at least two toys, candy and nuts and a bag of fruit. Added to this was a beautiful set of glassware purchased by the club to serve refreshments at the meetings and functions which took place.

While the foregoing record may seem rather meagre in point of achievements it must be remembered that these results were brought about by women whose individual problems and daily tasks were sufficiently engrossing to have excused them from taking part in any movement involving the common good of the community. It must also be remembered that they came from homes devoid of all conveniences that are commonly designated as "modern." That to them electricity was a far off dream and all the tasks that it might have lightened meant long hours of hard work. Homes that in many cases lacked that plainest of all necessities, water—which had to be carried miles and then used sparingly.

But with a spirit which no amount of hardship could daunt these women elected to blaze a trail that those coming after might tread and set an example that they might well emulate. They left a heritage of courage and steadfastness of purpose to the posterity of the club that might well serve as an inspiration to those who should follow after. And perhaps, who knows but what in some not too far distant day when life in the desert shall have become more gracious, some future member may chance to glance over this record and marvel saying, "They laid the foundation upon which we have built."

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