Mary’s family name was Nitzel. She has a sister Charlotte who was not on the bus that day. They have an older brother named William.
“I think I was in the sixth grade – age 11 or 12,” Mary recalls.
“All I remember is there were two or three older students, high school age. All the rest were younger,” Mary said.
“It started to snow before the weather really hit. Then we were on a bus that went past the Catholic Church. We dropped off at the Kaleys and Wernsings. At the Wernsing drop the bus driver told us the weather was pretty bad. He said we’d take the next turn and head back to town,” she added.
“So the driver took the next left to get us back to school. He didn’t go very far before the bus slid into the ditch. It was still morning,” Mary said.
“The driver, Clayton Kolling, said he knew where we were at, and he would get help to get us out of the ditch,” Mary recalled. “We had to stay on the bus. We played games and sang songs.”
“It seemed like five or six hours before the rescuers arrived,” she recalled. “They had four guys on each side with rope.
Mary doesn’t remember much about the ride back to Chokio or the gathering at the school. She recalls “there was two or three of us who stayed in a home that had a basement with rooms. They were very gracious to us.”