Interviews 2000

Marcel Rivard

Mr. Rivard was born on December 4, 1926 inside his house which is between Kelly’s Bar and the Trio Inn. The day he was born their family got electricity. He had eight brothers and four sisters. He liked to play Hide and Go Seek, cards, and Kick the Can. He liked to play with his wind up train, go swimming in the summer, and skating in the winter. He also played with the neighbor’s children.

His father got a 1921 Star convertible when he was 6 or 7. The car had a crank, a soft top roof, and head lights. It did not have air-conditioning or heat.

His elementary school was only a block away. There were only eight classrooms in the whole school. There was a small fire in the principal’s office so they decided to tear down the school. Then they made a new school which consisted of what is now the first grade hallway. In 1944 he graduated from high school. His first job was cutting ice for the Snow Queen’s Ice Palace in 1941. When he was a child he made his own radio. After he graduated from college he became an electrician.

Marvel's grandfather was Joe Peltier, the original owner of what is now Kelly’s Bar. His mother was born and raised at the house in the bar. The restaurant side of Kelly’s was originally the living quarters for the owners. Upstairs at Kelly’s was a boxing ring, dance hall, and pool table.

Centerville was known as Little Las Vegas. There was much gambling and dancing in the town. At one time there were as many as four dance halls in Centerville alone. The music at the dance halls consisted of live musicians.

LaMotte’s General Store was the main store in town. You could by anything from food to clothes to gardening supplies there.


Our Interview

Mr. and Mrs. LaMotte grew up in Centerville. She wore dresses and he wore jeans to school. In school they sat in wooden desks and used pencils and ink wells. Centerville Elementary had 8 rooms, a stage, and a gym in the basement. Their classroom did not have TV and radio. They had a playground. They did not have pets at school. They stayed warm with a hot water radiator. When they got in trouble at school, they had to go to the corner or go to the principal’s office. During school they had some music and gym, but they did not have art class.

Mrs. LaMotte worked at a bank, and was a homemaker. They had 7 children. Mr. LaMotte was a farmer for 33 years. They had barn cats, dogs, and 4 horses. Then he worked for 3M for 20 years.

Straight From Orville’s Mouth

Orville Hughes was once the custodian of Centerville Elementary School. He held this job for twenty-seven years. You may know that he recently retired.

Mr.Hughes played baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter. To get around in the winter, they wore skies and were pulled behind a horse.Orville Hughes worked on a farm from ages twelve through eighteen. He stacked hay and threshed wheat for fifty cents a day. Also, he was in the army for two years and two weeks. Mr.Hughes’ father worked for the creamery.

There are many special events Mr. Hughes was involved in such as parades. He was also honored for the lifetime achievement award. Orville Hughes was kind enough to give his time to share this information with us. Thank you, Orville Hughes!

The Drewlo’s Life

Mrs. Drewlo grew up on a farm. Her family raised cows, pigs, and chickens. Every morning and night she had to milk the cows. Mr. Drewlo grew up in White Bear on Bald Eagle Lake. They had lots of chores, especially Mrs. Drewlo. They had to milk the cows, herd cows, and feed the chickens. Every Sunday, they had a chicken dinner. Pork was a big thing. The white building in front of the school was a creamery. They sold a lot of cheese there. They baked their own bread. For entertainment, they listened to Ma Perkins and Jack Armstrong. For fun, they went to uptown to visit Grandma. They played Kick the Can, Hide-and-Go-Seek, Run Sheep Run, and Annie, Annie Over. They also liked to swim and skate.

The boys had a pocket in their left boot so they could put a pocket knife in their boot. Girls were only allowed to wear dresses and long underwear. All of their clothes were hand-me-downs.

When they were young, the gas for their car was 18 cents a gallon. On sale, it was $1.00 for 6 gallons. Mrs. Drewlo’s first job was a cleaning lady. She got 25 cents a day for cleaning all day. Mr. Drewlo’s first job was delivering newspapers. The weekly pay check was $5.00.

Mrs. Barett

We interviewed Mrs. Barett. She is a very nice person to meet. She was the cook at Centerville School.

She walked since she was a block away from the school. School started at 9 o'clock, and ended at 4 o'clock. They went to church after school every day. There were four rooms in the school and twenty kids in each room. The only thing to play on was four swings.

A lot of towns had baseball teams. Some other games they played were 10 Step, Green Light, Red Light, and Hide and Go Seek. The two biggest celebrations were New Years and 4th of July. Some things that were popular were sliding in the winter and ball games.

On the farm there wasn’t electricity and they had to feed the animals on the farm. They had to wash things by hand. There were only a couple of TV’s in the town. Mrs. Barett had one of them. A neighbor came over every Tuesday to watch wrestling.


Mr. LeRoux’s Life

Mr. LeRoux lived on a farm. He worked at a Jr. High School as a custodian. He lived on the north side of Centerville Lake. He had three sisters and no brothers. His favorite book was Through Indian Eyes.

A candy bar cost a nickel. His favorite candy bar was Hershey’s. He had two dogs to herd sheep. His dogs were named King and Shep. When he was a kid, cats were free to get mice out of the barn. His car was a 53 Jet.

He found arrowheads in his backyard. When he was a kid, he liked to play cards. His favorite subject was math. He had three kids in his class.

The LaMotte’s

Mr. LaMotte went through grades 1-11 at Centerville. He has always lived in Centerville. He worked at the General Store for a job. Across from the General Store used to be a grocery store.

Almost all the teachers lived in a hotel near the school. The most popular pet was a dog.

Mr. LaMotte was in the army for five years. For fun he played football and soccer. They had coolers for refrigerators. The LaMotte’s were fun to interview!!!