Bass Lake School

The rebirth of a country school

The Bell

The bell has come home, and it has an interesting story to tell.  It starts this way, detail provided by Edward Moersfelder:

The 22 inch cast school bell originally hung in the bell tower of the parochial school adjacent to and run by St. Michael’s Catholic Parish located in the central Wisconsin town of Hewitt, Wisconsin.  When the school was torn down in the sixties, Alex Moersfelder bought the bell.  He erected an eight foot bell tower at the farm home of Marjorie and Alex Moersfelder three miles south of Hewitt where the bell hung, much to the delight of their grandchildren, until the mid eighties when Alex and Marjorie left the farm.  The bell tower was disassembled and Ed and Karel Moersfelder transported the bell to their home in Amery, Wisconsin.  Their intention was to build a bell tower and once again have the bell ring, but the bell remained in storage.  Years passed.  In the summer of 2017, Ed and Karel were puzzling over what to do with the bell in light of their impending move to Portland, OR.  The announcement of the musical “1776” as a part of the 2017 theatre season at St. Croix Festival Theatre provided the answer.  They donated the bell to Festival and Festival raffled the bell along with a quilt decorated with a patriotic motif and colors donated by Carol Olson. The proceeds from the raffle (over $3600) were used to help cover the costs of production of Festival’s summer musical.  The bell was rung as part of Festival’s production of “1776” and the drawing for both the quilt and the bell was held on July 9th following the closing performance of “1776.”  The winning ticket was purchased by a local theater patron, who subsequently sold the bell to Sydney Paredes, Festival’s Board President, to give to her husband, Don.

And here our story starts to join with the bell’s:

Also buying tickets for the Festival’s raffle was my dad Keith, of Atlas.  He was hopeful, but eventually unsuccessful in finding the winning ticket.  Fast forward to the holidays, when Kevin and I, mom and dad, and my son Josh and his girlfriend Erin all attended the Festival’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, A Radio Production.  In the lobby, Keith started up a conversation with none other than Sydney.  Jokingly, he mentioned how he was ‘guaranteed’ a winning ticket last summer.  But as the conversation progressed, it turned out Sydney and Don had not decided the best use for the bell.  An agreement was made in which mom and dad became Festival sponsors, and the bell found a new home with them.  They managed to get it home and ‘wrap’ it without me ever suspecting.

The best gift is one you give away:

Attached to the present – which was labelled as “For Bonnie” was a note that on the back read “the best kind of gift is one you give to someone else”.  Handing it to me, I unwrapped the gift and was stunned to find the bell.  Well, you know the rest.  A week later, it came to it’s new home here at Bass Lake School.  For now, the bell has been tucked away in storage for the right time to be unwrapped once again. Sometime soon, perhaps this year even, it will also find it’s way to the tower, where it will ring for all to hear once again (sorry neighbors Shane, Russ and George!).  I will try to keep it to just a couple times an hour, er, day!

2 Comments

  1. You’re on the list to notify and help (and I suspect we will need a lot!!) Thanks!!!

  2. Great story, can’t wait to hear the bell. If you publish intent to get the bell hung a couple weeks prior I would be happy to help out that day with whatever.

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