The Shorthand Sisters

From the July 2013 Stereoscope:

The Shorthand Sisters By Gloria Bryan and Rose Ann Swanson

During the 40’s, three Hollertz sisters graduated from Ragan High School, Gloria (Mrs. Ward Bryan) in 1942, Leone (Mrs. Bill Heldenbrand) in 1945 and Rose Ann (Mrs. Rod Swanson) in 1947. At that time a girl could take Normal training to be a teacher or Business to work as a secretary. All three girls took the Business course and had many years of employment. At that time it was extremely important for secretaries to know shorthand and these three girls used it for many years. Gloria went to work four days before graduation as a bookkeeper for Mark Bell at Holdrege Motor Company, now the site of Taste of Texas. She made the grand sum of $10 a week! She worked there for three years until January 1945. She and Ward were married on May 19, 1944, and Steve was born May 15, 1945. Ward liked to tell people that Steve as born on May 15th and he and Gloria were married on May 19th! In 1962, Gloria began working at Holdrege Hospital and took dictation for Dr. Walt Reiner, Dr. Theodore Peterson and Dr. Evald Prems and helped with insurance and all office duties. When the new hospital opened in 1968, Gloria worked for Dr. Robert Anderson and Dr. Stuart Embury and then for Leland Thorell and Dale Sostad from 1973 till 1980. During that time she got her insurance license and sold Medicare and Health insurance. In addition to all this, Gloria has made over 200 quilts and has been a busy farm wife at Busy Bee Ranch for 67 years! This included cooking three meals a day for her family and often for several hired men. Her children are Steve and Kathy Bryan, Joyce and Dan Strout and Carol and Jerry Easley. Rose Ann began her first job at the Holdrege Daily Citizen, then located at the site of My Fair Lady’s Fashion on West Avenue, within a week of her high school graduation. She worked at the Citizen at three different times for a total of 30 years ending in 1989. During this time she was Lifestyle Editor and also penned a personal column, “Rosie’s Ramblings” about humorous experiences. She covered and took photos of many style shows, wrote feature stories for weddings, funerals and all the club meetings in the area. She is still a member of both the Nebraska and National Federation of Press Women where she garnered many state and national journalism awards. She has also sung at weddings, hundreds of funerals, and social gatherings. Most of Rose Ann’s married life was spent as a busy farm wife, cooking for a family of seven plus the hired help. She continues to be busy as she belongs to many organizations, and is secretary/public relations chairman for most of them. She still uses her shorthand skills in taking notes! Rose Ann also worked at the law offices of Aten, Noble and Ide for a few years in the 1970s. In 1980 she began working as an Aflac Representative, becoming District Coordinator in 1989. She still is active with Aflac, taking many phone calls and using her shorthand skills to record all the necessary information. Rose Ann’s children are Brad and Jana Swanson, Kelly Swanson and Barb Cummins, Linda and Ted Minarick, Rory and Dr. Mary Bagladi Swanson, and Lana and Roger Chandler. Leone went to Hastings Business College for a year and then went to work for Mountain Bell, now Qwest, in the Denver area. She retired at age 65, but was called back in and retired again at age 80! She passed away May 20, 2013. The Gregg method of shorthand was invented by John Robert Gregg in 1888 and differentiates sounds by the length of the stroke. Each letter of the alphabet also has its own sign. Gloria and Rose Ann are still adept at this amazing skill and are willing to give a quick lesson to anyone who is interested. The little squiggles, dots and circles are fascinating and totally bewildering to most people these days but were an essential part of business until the 1960’s. – end

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