The County Liners EHU was organized in 1947 by a group of young married women. The first meeting was held in January of that year, at Mrs. Martin (Dorothy) Schubert’s home. Often there were more children at the meetings than mothers, so the ladies took turns babysitting all the kids in one room, so the moms could attend the meeting in another room. The programs focused on new homemaking skills and ideas.
We had lessons—what they call home demonstration units—on how to bake bread, can, make jelly, and home decorating, health and nutrition information. We were all about the same age and pretty ambitious in those days. When the men of Ramona moved the old band shell from downtown Ramona, up to the high school and made it into a concession stand, we ladies bought a popcorn popper and made lots of money at the sporting events. The EHU gave a lot of money to the school and had lots of fun doing it!
Orvell (Long) Brunner, Ramona News 2003
Future Farmers of America Club (FFA) started between 1925 and 1957. Years later, a 4-H Cub was also organized. When the Ramona school closed in 1957, these clubs migrated to the Centre school system and continue to this day.
Service Clubs met during World War I, consisting of ladies who met at the Greer store building to tie comforters, do quilting, and knit socks and gloves for men in the military.
Bridge clubs were common, during this era, sometimes meeting as often as three evenings, and two afternoons a week.
Pie Socials and Box Socials were held at the high school assembly hall. The ladies brought pies or food boxes to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The winner of the bid got to share the food with the person whose name was on the box. Cake Walks were another method of raising money, to help the schools buy supplies that were not financed by the school district.
Skating parties were held in winter at Lyons Creek, near Jacob’s Crossing, on Sunday afternoons. The railroad dam provided a wide body of frozen ice in the winter. In the summer, the dam made a great swimming hole.
In 1979, The Ramona Senior Citizens, Inc. was formed, with 30+ members. At first the group met in the back room at Sader’s Café, which was the original Badger Lumber Company building. In December 1980, the group got their own building, when Mr. and Mrs. Dan Riffel donated the old Bartholdi country school building (dubbed the “Punkin-head” school) and it was moved to the northeast corner of 3rd and D Streets. The land was donated by Robert Arnold, owner of the Bank of Hillsboro. The seniors met once a month for luncheons, took excursions together, celebrated holidays, and started a game night.
In February 2012, with club members less than a dozen people, the Ramona Senior Citizens disbanded and deeded the land and the senior center building over to the City of Ramona. The group could no longer bear the financial responsibilities for utilities and repairs. Group members do, however, still meet on the second Sunday of the month for game night at the building.
Memorial Day is the holiday that has been celebrated most consistently in Ramona, since the creation of Lewis Cemetery in 1901. 1n the 1920s and 30s, the children of Ramona were brought to main street, and given little American flags, along with bunches of flowers, and the group marched ceremoniously from main street out to the cemetery west of Ramona. A sidewalk was even built from town to the cemetery—remains of the cement can still be seen on the north side of 360th, when approaching the cemetery.
Mr. Telfer, the manager of the Badger Lumber Company, was the master of ceremonies for the Memorial Day procession. We carried little flags and flowers for the graves. The World War I veterans—like Oscar Applegate, and Godfrey Bernhardt—were the Color Guard and led the procession. We kids walked behind. I wasn’t fond of this ceremony, because it reminded me of my father, who died when I was 6. I hated having to sing My Country Tis of Thee, with the lyrics ‘land where my father died,’ because it just made me so sad. You know, back in that era, children weren’t considered to have feelings—but we did!
Rev. Eugene Hicks, Interview 2012
I remember the Memorial Day march from in front of the Post Office, out to the cemetery. I was seven years old; there were typically about 20 children. It was a yearly tradition until late in the 1930s; the war brought an end to it.
Warren Fike, Interview 2012
Memorial Day is still the busiest holiday in Ramona for several reasons: many people return to the area to decorate graves; memorial services are held every Memorial Day at 10:30am at Lewis Cemetery; an annual Memorial Day picnic is held in the park, (a tradition that began with the Centennial in 1987); school reunions are often scheduled, bringing people back to the area for the weekend.
Easter Egg Hunts have been a tradition for several decades. The annual event is held on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Families from the country, join the folks who live in town, and all the children from toddlers to twelve-year-olds, join in the falderal. In 2001, a large Easter Bunny appeared on the scene (thanks to the sewing magic of Pat Wick), and Paul Jones agreed to be Ramona’s first giant bunny. Since then, the role has been played by Tim Steinborn, Jim Thompson, and Art Stroda.
Mothers’ Day Teas were started by The California Sisters, Pat Wick and Jessica Gilbert, after they moved from California to Ramona in 2000. Their first tea in 2001 was attended by 50 ladies, and soon grew to capacity, filling the Lutheran Parish Hall with 100 ladies, all decked out in vintage hats, gloves and jewelry. The menus were homemade delectables like scones, cakes, tea sandwiches, and of course, tea. The children in the community were the servers. The sisters, with the help of their companion, Tim Steinborn, created annual Mothers’ Day Teas, up until 2009.
The 4th of July parade was first held in 1998, because Pat Wick, the eldest California Sister, wanted to see a parade going down main street Ramona. She was planning to be in Ramona for a Schubert family reunion, and thought the family event could also turn into a town celebration. Pat wrote to the City Council, asking for approval to hold a parade and have a fireworks display, and permission was given.
Pat e-mailed ads to the Herington Times, announcing that Ramona was holding its first 4th of July parade. Her only assurance that there would be any kind of parade at all was that she’d convinced her family to ride on the floats she planned to make. The fireworks would also be courtesy of the Schubert family, who all sent money to Cousin Glenn Lorei, who bought a modest display for the finale to the evening. Dan and Connie Smith agreed to let the city use their field for the fireworks display, and a tradition was born!
In subsequent years the event grew and changed, with each person who committed to serving on the committee, changing it in some way. When the Noeths moved to Ramona in 2007, they wanted to add a run to the day’s activities, and the popular “Redneck Run” has record participation.
The 4th of July has become Ramona’s biggest annual event, with sporting events (basketball tournaments and fun runs), concessions, tractor pull, lawnmower racing, one of the funniest parades around with the greatest prizes, and spectacular fireworks. The event has its own website, redneckinramona.com.