Wednesday, April 30, 2008



Ella Steinhauer died at the Thief River Care Center in the night at the age of 92. In the last days of her life, she animated old stories, speaking with family who came from as far away as New Mexico and Kansas. She requested singing of "Jesus Loves Me" and "You are my Sunshine". The expression on her face when she learned her daughter and son were coming was of complete joy. It was captured on a video phone for all the family in the far reaches to see her in her last days. Her family held her hand throughout the day and night. To them, a privilege in honor of their mother. Her youngest daughter, Shirley was with her when she died.

Ella Elvina Rye was born near Goodridge, MN on December 3, 1915 to Julia Olette Olson and Henry Thomas Rye. She was one of nine children: Oliver Rye, Hilda Rye Jorde, Alice Rye Thode Steinhauer, Ella Elvina Rye Anderson Steinhauer, Nora Rye Cloutier, Murvin Murvin Rye, Clifford Rye, Ilene Rye Stitt, and Ralph Rye. Ralph of Desoto, KS, survives.

Ella started her education in Goodridge, MN. and continued it Adams, ND. She attended high school in Thief River Falls. She worked for a family in Warren before her marriage.

Ella married Lloyd Paul Anderson on March 17, 1934. To them, six children were born: Lois Arlene, Dorothy, (Larry) Schneider now of Paola, KS; Richard, (Judie), now of Deming, NM; Robert, now of Albuquerque, NM, Judy, (Arlen) Sorum of Thief River Falls; and Shirley, (Keith) Hagen of Gatzke, MN.

As a stay at home mom, she played with her children, baked cakes and cookies, cared for a garden, and wrote for the Rosewood News which was published in the Thief River Falls Times. She kept abreast with her family and friends and was involved in the Mission Church which was started by Lloyd's father, Olaf. Her obituary states she was also the neighborhood seamstress, barber, and beauty operator as well as the place to go to get your driver's license renewed.

Lloyd died in October of 1967. The house in Rosewood was sold and Ella and Shirley moved to Knight Avenue after renting in town throughout the winter.

Ella worked for Arnold Reality and taught adult knitting and crocheting classes in conjunction with ATVI. Her home on Knight Avenue was a home for students who came to Thief River Falls for an education. Baskets of crocheting projects sat by each chair; where ever she sat, there are a chance for work in progress.

She represented all that one can be in a grandmother to her 12 grandchildren: Susan and Richard L Anderson, Larry Gene and Lynelle Schnieder, Rachel, Bud, and Ryen Anderson, Lisa and Nenna Arnold, and Brenda, Vincent and Juanita Hagen She led her grand children and great grandchildren along a path as tall and flowering as the hollyhocks in the front yard. For those who knew her in the petunia era, she has given us an image of a safe path to her.

Ella always had a sense of how to change the mood of the crowd and get children off in another direction without scolding them. Her home was always big enough, regardless of its size, to have room for everyone. It didn't matter what time one came to her home, she graciously invited everyone in. It was okay to unroll sleeping bags on the floor of her living room even if you had numerous empty beds upstairs. The coffee pot was always on. The cake decorating tools were available to anyone who wanted to learn. When she went to visit her family, her philosophy was simple, "When in Rome, do as the Roman's do".

After more than two decades of being a widow, Ella became the bride of Walter Steinhauer. Together they enjoyed traveling and hosting all of their melded children, grand children, and great grandchilden at their home on Thirteenth Street.

After a broken hip, she became a resident of the nursing home. Her husband Walter visited her there until, he too, became a resident. They celebrated their 22 wedding anniversary in January. Walter died in February. Ella told her daughter she felt so alone. Judy assured her, she was not.

Once in her circle, you were there for life. No one escaped her loving friendship, not even in death. Family was priority to her and in her last days, she expressed who was missing, meaning that she and her brother Ralph, were separated from those who had gone before them.

She stated in a video she was not to old to plan. She was planning a little house with a big play room for the children to run and play and the noise would be beyond her hearing. Thanks to Lisa, we have her saying it was a nice time because every one was together she was talking about her children and grandchildren who had surrounded her with loving care.

We know that life is the end of time to make new memories. This is especially true as we bid Ella good bye. She was and always be a true matriarch. She will always be the woman who could talk 24/7 one occasion needed the oven door open for a place to sit lest she fall over while asleep.

I will remember her as the person who patiently played Skip O with Ryen at 7, called our son,Bud BUDDY and posed with him while he was in a wig for a play, and taught Rachel how to decorate a cake so she could make one for her other grandfather's last birthday. She will be the woman with the fanciful fawn rinse in her hair, the lady who laughed when her then chubby legs wouldn't fit into the GoGo boots. She will be tuna and green beans for lunch and "Look at all I can eat". Well, the diet must have worked because she was a super model when she died. She will be the person who said, as a new bride, "I'll have onions, if you do". She will be the one, that at, at greater than seventy, when asked why she was getting married again, she said, "Because I am in love with him, NOT simply, because I love him.

What more can be said about someone who asks if you are dry behind the ears to which you reply at 18 that you are, but in your mid sixties, you still aren't?

Perhaps she was your friend. Perhaps she was your teacher. Was she your mother? How about a grand mother or a great grandmother? What ever your individual connection, we are today, all connected as we honor this fine lady who used everything up, just like she spent the last nickel on a spool of thread before going home.

Good bye my sweet friend from your very good friend in Fargo.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Old Trunks is so pumped this morning it is hard to know just where to start this tale. It is marvelous only because it is a small world story about people connecting and passing on information. It is a giving-receiving story and I am hopeful you find proof, again how necessary communication is.

The base connection happened because Judy Rambeck sent pictures of friends taken in the summer of 1959. Perhaps she Googled her grandfather's name and found the blog. Old Trunks and Old Shoes talked about Arthur Rambeck in a blog titled "Kilt Him a Bear".

Judy wrote to say: "Jeanne, Chuck and I grew up playing on a big black bear rug in my grandfathers living room, the head was still on it with the mouth partially open. I wonder if it was the same bear as in the story".


"I was just searching for information about a bank robbery in TRF that my grandfather Art Rambeck was involved in solving. It was in an old True Detective magazine and my brother wants to read about it. I found a reference and a picture of Art in your blog. I didn't find what I was originally looking for but had a great time reading your stories. Thanks for the memories".


"the Northern State Bank teller was murdered in 1955, I am still looking for Art's role in finding the killer. We remember the True Detective magazine that my Dad had, I found the year and the name of the teller so my brother can do the rest of the research. There is someone that has a collection of the old magazines and if the price is reasonable I think we will get it. Lynn just turned 60 and is into "do you remember when?" He was with me when I took my sons to Karlstad, Halma, cemeteries and a private tour of the Pioneer Village so he has a renewed interest in our history".

This lays the ground work for the rest of the story. This is about a murder that happened in 1955 in Thief River Falls. I have emailed Judy requesting an address so I can send the hard copy newspaper articles to her.

For those of us who lived in Thief River Falls in 1955 we may remember bits and pieces of this news. As a child I thought it was a kid, (child) who was taken, not a grown up. Because of Judy's email, I did some research. Judy is looking for a specific magazine, if you know anyone who has it, please let us know, it will complete the circle. My next step is to chase down the actual articles in the Thief River Falls Times on microfilm which I can have sent to Moorhead, MN. It is not exciting that Mr. Lindberg died, it is only exciting to help some one with their quests.

For now, let's examine what we have recently learned.

Saturday Evening, November 26, 1955
HEADLINE To View Body Identified As That of Missing Cashier

Clear Lake, Minnesota
Relatives and friends will view today a body identified as that if Kenneth Lindberg, 44, a bank cashier reported missing since around November 12.

Lindberg, believe kidnapped by a bank robber at Thief River Falls, Minnesota had been shot in the forehead.

The body was discovered yesterday on a farm near Clear Lake, Minnesota by three farm youths.

Sheriff Chester Groener of Sherburne County said a description of Lindberg fitted the body; a check on the clothes tallied, a receipt found in a pocket had been made out to the cashier, and a set of car keys carried Lindberg's license registration number.

Since Lindberg's disappearance, police and FBI agents have been investigating on the theory that he had been kidnapped at the robbery of the Northern State Bank at Thief River Falls.

Some $14,000 in travelers checks and the $1, 750 in silver where missing after Lindberg's disappearance.

He was the father of four children.



May Arrested At Joplin, Mo. Denies Crime

December 9, 1955
Suspect looks like Lindbergh slayer
Man arrested at Joplin, Missouri, denies crime
Officials seem in no hurry to take Minnesota people to Missouri to identify him

Arrested man claims he can explain possession of stolen travelers checks

Authorities said today there were no immediate plans to take any Minnesotans to Missouri to see if they could identify a man being held in connection with the Thief River Falls bank cashier case.

James P. Taylor, 30, an ex convict, claimed through his attorney late Thursday he was innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with possession of travelers checks stolen from the Thief River Falls bank where kidnapped and slain Kenneth Lindbergh was cashier.

Looked like the man

Sheriff Arthur Rambeck said today at Thief River Falls that no arrangements were being made to take any of the four local persons who saw a picture of Taylor looked like the man who visited the northwestern Minnesota community that day Lindberg disappeared to Missouri for possible personal identification

Rambeck said George Rockstad, who drove a stranger from Thief River Falls airport into town the day of Lindbergh’s disappearance had said Taylor looks just like him, (the passenger).

Rambeck said Chris Kierk, manager of the Thief River Falls airport, his wife and an airport attendant also said after seeing a picture of Taylor that he looked like a man who arrived the day the cashier disappeared.

In Minneapolis, a hotel employee said Taylor, held on a federal charge, looked very much like the mysterious Herbert F. Johnson sought in the case. Gertrude Heyman, Nicollet Hotel desk employee, said she would have to see Taylor and hear his voice before she could positively identify him as Johnson the man she talked to several minutes when he registered.

Police believe it is the man named Herbert F. Johnson who made a telephone call to Lindberg on November 12, saying he wanted to deposit $25,000 in the Northern State Bank of Thief River Falls for the weekend.
Lindberg was seen in company of a stranger at the bank the afternoon of November 12 then vanished. Missing from the bank were $14,000 in traveler’s checks and $1750 in silver dollars.

Lindberg’s body was found in a snow-covered field near Clear Lake , Minnesota in Sherburne County, on November 25. He had been bludgeoned to death with a sharp instrument, possibly a hatchet.

Some of the stolen travelers checks turned up in Detroit, Michigan when a man calling himself Charles R Kenwell deposited them in a bank. Lindbergh’s car was found abandoned in Minneapolis, most of the silver dollars still in the trunk.

Taylor was arrested in a private home in Joplin, Missouri, early Thursday. FBI agents who surrounded the home said Taylor possessed a depositors passbook issued by a Detroit bank. It showed deposits on November 14 of more than $5,000 under the name of Charles R Kenwell.

Taylor was charged with interstate transportation of part of the travelers checks taken from the Thief River Falls bank. He waived a removal hearing before a US commissioner in Joplin. Unable to furnish $10,000 bond, Taylor was taken to jail

Friday, December 16, 1955
Lindbergh murder suspect arrives
Kidnap -- slayer suspect now lodged in Hennepin jail
Lindbergh suspect is smooth talking and well-dressed
Maybe Minnesota man -- several will try to identify

James P. Taylor, ex convict charged in connection with the kidnap -- slaying of bank cashier Kenneth Lindbergh was lodged in Hennepin County jail today awaiting action by a grand jury.

Taylor, arrested two weeks ago in Joplin, Missouri was brought here from Kansas City late Thursday on a warrant charging he passed four forged travelers checks in Minneapolis under the name of Herbert F. Johnson.
George MacKinnen, US District Attorney said, however that he would not be arraigned on this charge. Instead, this case will be presented to the grand jury when evidence has been assembled.

The four checks Taylor is accused of passing for cash November 13, a day after Lindberg disappeared from the Northern State Bank of thief River Falls.

It is expected employee of the Nicollet Hotel will be asked if they can identify Taylor as Johnson and, that he also will be viewed by residents of Thief River Falls and Detroit Lakes who saw a Lindbergh with the stranger the day of the disappearance.

Lindbergh’s body was found near Clear Lake November 25. A John Doe first-degree murder warrant has been issued against his unknowing assailant.

Officials at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana where Taylor served a term for auto theft, said they believed Taylor may originally have come from Excelsior, Minnesota.

Friday, December 16, 1955
Suave, smooth -- talking James P. Taylor, 30, prime suspect in the kidnapping and murder of a Thief River Falls , Minnesota Banker, Kenneth Lindberg, was whisked into Hennepin County Jail about 5 p.m. Thursday.

Brought in from Kansas City, Missouri, the United States Marshall, Robert L. Allie, and Minneapolis police men John V Cahill, Taylor was lodged in jail before reporters knew where he was in town.
Getting the former Detroit, Michigan man into the courthouse was as carefully planned and smoothly executed as a wartime cloak and dagger operation.

Wearing an imported British tweed topcoat over a sports coat and charcoal brown slacks, Taylor was transported in an unmarked federal car.
The dapper fugitive was handcuffed during the trip and the chain binding his wrists was passed through one around his waist.

The trio made an overnight stop at an unnamed Iowa town.

Officers said Taylor was reluctant to talk about the Lindberg case, but possessed an excellent background in sports.
He impressed them as well mannered, intelligent, and was an executive type.

George E. MacKinnen, United States District Attorney, said that Taylor had wavered preliminary hearing to Kansas City and there would be none in Minneapolis or Saint Paul.

A federal grand jury will be called, after preliminary investigations have been made.

Courthouse sources predict that Taylor would not be available to news man until after an indictment has been brought by the grand jury.

Taylor was said to be nervous during the trip north, which Allie and Cahill described as uneventful.

Let's find the rest of the story.


Monday, April 28, 2008


Ella is seen lifting her glass in a toast. The occasion was a small dinner party in the conference room at a nursing home. Care was taken to invite a group which would meld together. The table was set with the best of decor to give the illusion of a fine, unique restaurant. The concept happened monthly, always with a new group under the watchful eye of the activity director. Although the gift was for the residents; those who helped received the blessing. It is, after all, the nature of life that giving or receiving both are benefactors.

The name ELLA means torch in Greek. If you know an Ella, then you know a bright light. Ellen is a variant.

Perhaps the universal code is the need for Old Trunks to have these sort of stars called Ella and Ellen's in her life. All of them are examples of over coming, keep on going, never give up, and generally do not complain.

The Ella in the picture is an example of a torch. I met her in the nursing home. She is an example of someone I worked for turned friendship.

It all started because I was the only CNA that washed her feet. I would take a really warm cloth, wash, then wrap them in a towel and cover them up with a blanket before I got her ready for the day.

No one knew what sort of trust bond the two of us had until I went to Kansas to find my own dandelion to break the shackles of the long North Dakota winter. Ella refused to get out of bed. She was afraid she would fall. It is common for residents in nursing homes to have favorite aides, yet all the staff are capable of care. Upon my return, she was, once again, up in her chair and moving about.

Do you ever wonder what puts two people in the friendship column? With us, it was little things. Let's talk about them.

Ella knew I had gone south, upon my return to Fargo, I promised her the first dandelion I saw, I would bring to her and that would be the herald of spring. The dandelion popped up in a crack next to the building. We put it in a glass of water, as we all know, dandelions do not stay open and bright, they fold up. Yet, this was, after all announcing spring and when some one threw it away she was furious.

We would pick pussy willows in the early spring and bring them to her. She liked to watch them leaf out.

When she got flowers from her family, she liked to have them woven into a wreath with ribbons and left for the roses to dry in a natural state. The two of us would sit on the veranda in the sun and plan the wreath project together. She liked blue trimming the best.

When you are in a small room and spend a lot of time reading, obviously you are in bed. Ella was a reader. She read the local paper, her hometown paper, and had subscriptions to rag magazines. The cleaning staff tried to relieve her of all this newsprint, it would not be so. We set up a filing system and used a box on a chair next to her bed. What ever was in there was off limits.

She made friends easily. Her room mate was hard of hearing and Ella, in her frail state, was not in position to go to her bed and talk as loudly as needed. Many times a day, you would see Sophie and Ella on their phones.....talking to each other.

For all of us who worked the north wing at the time, our favorite story had to be the morning we got the room mates teeth mixed up. We only knew it because Sophie thought there was something under her dentures after breakfast. Where others may have been upset, the two of them found it humorous.

Recently, I was converting old cards to title pages for albums. I found a note Ella's family had sent after she died. It had to do with the bouquet of pussy willows and roses, and light blue ribbons, which represented her wisdom, her love of nature, and her love of the color of the sky. I was named her pal and her confidante. What more of a gift could anyone receive than a friendship with an Ella?

Find one and find out.


Sunday, April 27, 2008


Each spring, the local paper has an extra called STUDENT ORIGINALS. It is stories and drawings submitted from around the Fargo-Moorhead area and beyond. These essays and pictures are judged against all other entries in each age group. The winners in the K-2 group wrote about spending time with family, changing the number of breaks from school throughout the year, and people bullying others. All, of course, are age old problems, still unsolved.

As I read, I thought about an article I had read in a old newspaper from early 1940's regarding driver's licenses forfeited in the month of February. One of the second graders wrote about how bad speeding was; a first grader submitted an essay regarding safe rides.

Yet, in 1940, we would not have seen an article entitled, Don't talk on your cell phone while driving OR don't text message when driving. A sixth grader asks for lower speed limits; during the war years, it was half of what it is now on the Interstates in North Dakota.

Let's look at the break down of the Driver's License Law

127 intoxicated
19 driving under suspension
125 speeders lost their license for 30 days or greater
27 Reckless drivers
18 violations of signs and signals
2 illegal passing

Think about your own drinking habits. Are you one of those people who have never been cited? Is it because you totally obey OR you have never been caught?

Old Trunks is remembering a situation with my grandparents. There was a stop sign on east First Street in Thief River Falls. Benhard and Julia were going home from town in their little gray Plymouth and ran the stop sign. They were stopped by the city police. They were so certain they did not run the sign and argued to the point they were not ticketed.

I have been stopped. Once somewhere in South Dakota driving a little red Corvair. Did not see the stop sign, didn't get cited. Once in a chocolate brown Lincoln coming back to Lawrence. I was speeding. was not cited. Lastly, after visiting with old classmates in Thief River Falls, I took MN highway one west to meet Interstate 29. I pulled out of Warren and kicked it up. I was running 75+ when I saw the bubble. It was a 55mph zone. No ticket. PURE LUCK

But I did have a wreck. And I did loose my license. And I want to talk about that. Because I got what I deserved. And there were circumstances. And of course, since it was 50 years ago, I may remember it in my favor!

Jeannie and I were hanging out with friends. We partied some. They brought us back to my Chevy. This is the Chevy that someone was supposed to fix the brakes on, despite my yammering about it, they were considered fixed. SOOOOOOOOOO, even though I may have been following too closely and the 49 Ford in front of me, which just happened to be driven by the boyfriend, didn't have tail or brake lights and it was raining, I rear ended him. Crawled right up on to his trunk, I did. Hit him hard enough to bend his steering wheel and hard enough for Jeannie to hit the windshield. He got out of his car and hide the booze behind the fence at the junk yard. Someone called the police. Ragdoll was towed to the the construction warehouse. The police brought me home.

I had been told in the beginning of my own car driving career that there would be only one car, if I ruined it, I would be without a car. If you had a car when you were a teen, you know it as a person and a symbol. It is not fun to be on foot, yet, I had been warned and my driving days and my own car were over.

I would 'visit' the car at the warehouse. One day, it was gone. It was horrid and there were tears. It was understandable, why would anyone keep a wrecked car? Why not sell it for scrap? Well, I put on the best of funks and went home with an attitude. Daddy asked me what was wrong. I told him I knew why he got rid of the Chevy, after all, I had been warned.

And he said, "You never complained and the brakes were bad, I had it towed in and it is being fixed". I WAS GETTING RAGDOLL BACK!!! I got it back around the first of August and ripped up the streets and avenues of Thief River Falls just driving around. School started and I had my little blue bomb.

The notice came in the mail that I would appear in court. In those days, if you were a teenager, and you had a violation, you lost your license. Daddy took me to court and the judge ruled I would loose my license for 90 days. That meant I would get it back in mid December. It was going to be a long fall.

I had a speech class with a teacher named Mr. Johnson. He was the advisor for the senior class play; he suggested I try out for the part of Rosalie. She was a cut up type personality who liked to talk a lot and drink gallons of Coke. I got the part, although I think I was Rosalie, anyway. This posed a problem. Play practice was after school, or after supper, or on Saturdays.

I asked Daddy if he would go with me to see the judge. I wanted to talk to him , plead my case if you will, about getting a restricted license. To and from school and play practice. He agreed to it and I had limited privileges. I wouldn't be rippin up the roads but I wasn't walking either. WHEW.

The play was a fun time for me. Mr. Johnson had selected a truly mixed group of personalities to be the cast of "A Midsummer Night's Scream". It was a perfect opportunity to meet and admire classmates I may never have known, Mike Norman became a great friend. He said he was going to become a priest and he would pray for me every day.

The play was over, December came and full driving privileges were returned. The weather turned brutal, Rag Doll wouldn't start, she would sit in the snowbank in front of the house until the February thaw. I would drive daddy's rig when he wasn't using ti, although it wasn't much fun trying to spin out on the river with four studded tires.

Is there a life long lesson in this? Yes. I do not follow closely. Although the wreck is not as vivid as it was decades ago, I can still hear the crunch of metal and I can still see the expression on Jeannie's face as she held her head after hitting the windshield. Do I wear a seat belt? Yes. And I hope Jeannie does too, after all she married a highway patrolman!


Saturday, April 26, 2008


Telephone operators at work, are they in uniform?
How would you caption this picture? Are they waiting for someone to call Hotel Ogahmah, phone number 3, or Morgan's Place at phone number 5, or the City Meat Market at phone number 10 or Hicks Furniture and Undertaking at phone number 30?

The long time of waiting for a telephone will soon end for 90 families in Thief River Falls whose order for service were delayed by shortages of equipment growing out of the war.

AJ Rau, manager for the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, states that telephone factories are now producing sufficient telephone instruments to enable the company to soon provide service for all waiting applicants who can be served by present call handling facilities. In Thief River Falls this will mean that a telephone will be installed for all orders now on the company's waiting list. The installations are now being made and will be completed within the next few weeks.

Telephone lines serving most sections of the city are being used to near capacity and all new residence telephones will be installed on a party line basis. It may be necessary, according to Mr. Rau to temporarily change some of the lines now working on an individual basis to party lines to provide service for waiting applicants. The building of more telephone lines, planned for the near futures, will remove the need for this expedient.

The installation of telephones for these 90 families will add a considerably heavier volume of calling to the already busy local switchboard. The central office is now serving 1,827 two telephone customers and 323 farm telephones an increase of 338 telephones during the war years.

Use of the service grew steadily during the war and in the past six months of peace has increased even more rapidly. Local calls are now averaging 10,300 a day which is 1,300 more than last year a day. Long distance calls also reflect the use--about 380 out-of-town, 250 last year.

With the still further step-up in called expected, Mr. Rau pints out that there may be times, particularly during the busier called hours, when the operators will not be able to answer and handle calls as rapidly as in the past. Rush calling hours are from 9-11 AM and from 3-5 PM. Keeping calls brief will help greatly.

In this day and age, do you know anyone that doesn't have some sort of phone service? Doesn't it seem odd to think of humans making your calls for you?

Her name was Lucy. She was a telephone operator for years. I knew her as a retired lady. She told me that if an operator had a run in her stocking, they would have to change it. She stated they must be well dressed because they performed their duties better.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I spent the day in the east room creating. The 24th of April has symbolism to me and I take advantage of it yearly. It is a day with no fences or boulevards. It is a day when no restrictions which may other wise apply may lead me somewhere I didn't know I was going. Well, even more than usual!

Thus was yesterday. I had die cut 30 frames and selected paper. The original idea was to sepia that many pictures. I did a half dozen or so and stopped, the pictures were boring. For the first time, I went another direction. I finished out the pages first with all the glitz and glitter, mounted the frames and commenced to write phrases and sayings about friendship.

The amazing, tingling thing that happened next was as I doodled away the time with pen and paper, people came to mind, (and heart) that truly fit the description of the phrases I had written. It is important for you to realize I did not have a list of names in mind when I started. I am, as you may know, a great maker of lists! The original idea was to use up the pictures I had but in the end, that was not so.
It is also important to point out this is not about family. The beginning idea was to use up the packet of old photos that didn't fit anywhere else, I am grateful to say that wasn't the finished product. In a sense, I spent the day inventorying the people in my life that were very special.

Perhaps one of the true blessings was that Ella was one of the first people that came to mind in the beginning of the friendship quotes and continued to weave throughout this pattern of friend's pictures I was formulating. And Shirley and Linda, how poor my life would have been this last year and months without reaching out and receiving from the two of you? Of course, Soozi was there, Soozi is ALWAYS there!

This unit of a dozen pages is as unique as the friendships I hold near and dear.

There are frames left unfilled. It is, for me, it is a signal there are other people to see, meet, and hopefully become mixed in the rainbow.

I spent 24 April lost in a world of special memories and friendships. April, the filly at started all this, would whinny about it!

Loving thoughts to you and yours.


Thursday, April 24, 2008


Old trunks is certain you celebrate the normal holidays and inner family holidays:

Wedding anniversary
New Years
Valentine's Day
Fourth of July

Wedding anniversaries of family and friends
Brothers and sisters birthdays
Nephews and nieces birthdays
Mother's Day
Father's Day

Perhaps if you have all the dates for all the relatives, your calendar is full of special days.

Let's think about a day that is just YOURS. A day that had a profound impact on your life, (according to what is profound to you).

May I give you an example? Mine came on April 24, 1956.

Mother picked me up at Northrop School after a Girl Scout meeting. That means I was dressed in a green skirt, white blouse, yellow Girl Scout tie tied in a square knot and a sash with the troop number and badges. Oh, and green socks with the Girl Scout insignia woven into the top. Although it was late in April, it wasn't warm. The meeting was uneventful. It was a little over three miles home; we lived west of town on a resettlement farm purchased in August of 1955.

Daddy had spent the early fall of 1955 looking for ponies to start a herd. He had bought four head from a man near Karlstad; Topsy,Queen, Patty, and Babe. Topsy was broke to ride as was Patty. Queen was the most Shetland size, the others were taller, perhaps we can call them Welsh. He bought a mare name Flicka from an unknown party. It would be sometime before we got her, as she was frightened, she would have to bring herself to come in to the owner's barn so she could be transferred to our barn. All the mares were to be said to be "in foal". Because Flicka was so frightened, dad put her in the box stall so she wouldn't have her colt outside sometime around the last of March as there were no known foal date.

Daddy and I had agreed that the first colt born would be named April.

And on April 24, when we came home from Girl Scouts, daddy was sitting at the table reading a magazine. I said hello and he said, "April came!"

There was a colt! She was in the box stall! I had to see her! By now, mother was in the house and got the drift of what was happening. I put on my barn jacket over my uniform and the last thing I heard was, "At least change your shoes!"

Because it was Flicka and because she was frightened, over the weeks she had been in the stall we had talked to her a few times a day hoping it would help her trust. It was important even now, that we kept a low profile although inside myself I wanted to squeal as loud as I could.

For those of you who have not seen a new born colt, think about the size of a silver dollar, that helps you understand how small their hooves are. And there she was, a little filly with a dun body and dark mane and tail. She would stay close to her mother. She would be visited by dozens of daddy's friends in that 10 days before she was turned out with her mother to run and jump and whinny.

It would take two weeks from foaling to get close to her. I baited her with fresh sprouts of alfalfa from the field next to the pasture. One day she came over to me. She nibbled on the sprout and I got to touch her velvet nose for the first time. We became the best of friends.

April was gentle, good-tempered, and trusting by nature. She made a good companion. She was not like Torpedo or Smokey who had a snappy behavior and needed proper handling to make them behave. Mother had trouble with the "stubborn" ponies, (they bit her most) she failed to understand that pony behavior is influenced by the quality of human handling. They smelled her fear.

April was not a beautiful mare. Her head was long and her neck was thin. She would never be sold because she was the first colt born. She developed a large cancerous growth on the side of her head and because of the suffering, was put down before she turned five. That's what they did to sick horses in the fifties.

Last year on April 24, I dressed in red with a sequined jacket and went to Thief River Falls. I walked all around the city taking notes of what businesses the city had. The idea was to do a comparison with what was there in 1960 and 1909. It is important I tell you what I was wearing is, because in front of the Ace Hardware Store on Main Avenue, I stood writing. I heard a voice from behind me hollering about a ticket. The man waving the ticket thought I was the meter maid and had ticketed him for overtime parking. I did not, nor do I believe now, that meter maids in Thief River Falls wear all red, including shoes and a jacket with swirls and sequins!

On this day I have a chosen project. The plan is to convert 30-40 photographs from black and white or color to sepia and mount them on scrap booking papers with ornamental paper frames which I cut and cussed at as part of the project. Will the image in my mind match the finished project? May I share?

Look into yourself and pick a day that brings back a memory that brings joy to you. Celebrate.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Shilpa writes to say: " I am planning to grow vegetables and fruit in the front yard, and use the shady areas in the back for a patio. and, even though most of the yard will be revamped, there are a few areas we're leaving alone. i could not resist planting some Swiss chard and snap peas amongst the herbs and flowers in that area".

And in a conversation with Shirley about gardening when she was a child: "gardening in my childhood...YUCK!!! Of course, I had to help, never enjoyed it though. I did then as I do now, gather things from the garden to cook, freeze or can. Of course, I always took the freshly canned stuff to the basement to put away for Mom. Springtime was always a challenge, going to the basement to retrieve canned goods. We always had water in the basement. a plank went from the steps to the potato bin. The "cold room" was where the shelves for canned goods was, I had to wear boots cause I had to step off the plank. There were rows and rows of good stuff on those shelves. There was also a tub on blocks filled with sand that we buried carrots in. Surprising how well the cold sand kept the carrots".

During WWII
LARGE NUMBER OF VICTORY GARDENS PLANNED IN CITY. More than 100 expected to join community garden project.

The recent poll conducted by the Victory Aides under the supervision of Mrs. Karwand indicates 93% of the families of Thief River Falls will have a Victory garden in 1943. The families polled have indicated that they desire help in finding additional space for a garden. This city wide survey was completed by the Victory Aides within 48 hours and indicates the efficiency of the local organization.

Up to the present time a total of 85 have registered for space in the Victory gardens. The victory garden committee anticipates a total enrollment of well over 109 gardeners.

Chairman WR Ferber announces that those who have failed to register up to the present time may do so at the office of civilian defense in the city auditorium or with the treasurer of the local project. Martin Bothum, who had charge of the land rental, announces that it will be prepared for staking by the city engineer within a few days, weather permitting.

Now, if you register for a Victory Garden of 1,500 or more square feet that can not be reached except by automobile will qualify for extra rations of gasoline this summer. OPA will provide up to 300 miles for six months if gardeners can show need for the extra mileage.

Old Trunks admires those gardeners. Fifteen hundred square feet is bigger than our house was in Lawrence! Both sets of grandparents were gardeners. Grandma Mae had one of those Victory sized gardens full of vegetables and another with gladiola's. There were never weeds, I thought it just came that way. She taught me how to pull carrots and allowed me to sit between the rows and eat them.

Benhard and Julia always had a garden. At their house on Knight Avenue, the garden was the entire length of the lot behind the house. The garden was fenced and on the east side, (nearest the house) Hollyhocks were planted densely along the fence. I made a lot of dolls using a half a tooth pick, a bloom and a bud of a hollyhock! The garden was watered by carrying pails of rainwater from the barrel outside the back door.

Neither sets of grandparents had power equipment, it was all done by hand. There were never weeds, perhaps they worked on their project early in the morning. Every time they moved, a new garden would be planted.

It appears that the true Victory Gardens of the war years had to do with getting a space to plant the seeds. I just wonder where in Thief River Falls these plots where and if there was actually water close by.

Last night, Sweet Thomas went to the building where he works to clean the flower beds. Three flower gardens are in front of the building. The gardens had not been cleaned this spring. The man who owns the building OR the person in charge of the building had not hired someone to do the task OR assigned it to a maintenance type person. Now, it is NOT Tom's responsibility but it needed to be done. I am certain I have an agreement with you on that.

He pulled, raked, and bagged dead brush, dead birds, and even used condoms. It was a blitz. He was away from the house 45 minutes. Clarification: The falcons snatch the flying birds out of the air and light on the roof where they kill it and pull it apart. The parts in the garden blew off the roof. As for the condoms, sorry I have no idea how they got there!

If you resolve issues in your sleep, then you understand I was looking for a way to talk to him about it. IF he enjoyed gardening, then why not take it on as a hobby? I have learned he does not like to garden. The next thing to do is to talk to someone who is responsible about the plots.

Tell me, does damage control make happy little posies?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Today's blog is inspired by Linda. She says in an early morning note, " I do have blankets in the attic..LOL.Most of them are from Gary's mom.The girls didn't want them when we cleaned out her house, so of course I took them.
I use a one of those light weight fleece blankets for the summer or I have several light weight handmade quilts too. I am one of those people that have to have a cover no matter how warm the nights are. Even as a kid I couldn't!! How about a light weight flannel blanket? Sorta like a sheet? I have those too.Good topic for a blog...things in the attic!!! That is one of my goals for this week, remember.................Yes, Linda, I do remember your project for this week is to clean the attic when it is warm enough to be up there. Linda already has her shop vac up there!

Let's think about attics. Do you remember if you had a trap door somewhere? Was it in the closet? In the garage? Or did you have a pull down staircase? Thinking, thinking.....

Where did you store 'that stuff'??? Where was/are your Christmas decorations. Old Trunks almost said Christmas tree! Then, I fondly remembered, as a child we had fresh trees and the children had mostly fresh trees. Mostly, until as a mother, I got tired of picking long needles out of shag carpet until Easter.

The attic was a sacred place. Stuff got stored there that didn't get used regularly. It was a place to put stuff that didn't organize into anything else. Linda wrote of storing bedding.

When Shirley is once again available, we are going to have to ask her about what was in the attic at the house in Rosewood. The family lived there for a long time. If I remember correctly, the trap door to the attic was in the bathroom. On the fringe of my mind I am remember something about the odd things kept there. I don't know what in the name of heaven Bob and I were doing up there, I just remember I was really dirty when we came down and Ella wasn't really pleased that Bob and I had gone up there. It was probably the same day we went to the basement to read the stone carvings by my great uncle.

Why do attics charm us? What is it about a place in a house that holds items that we either, keep for the sake of, hide for the sake of, or look for on occasion? Isn't there a song called, "Attics in my Life"? If so, what does the song talk about?

And Linda? May I rent your flannel blankets? None to be found in Fargo. We will just have to sweat as oldies until the Internet order comes.

WHAT? WHAT? Is this an inside joke? Let me tell you the rest of the story.

Following what seemed like a all night dream and the cantor, "I will get right on it", I planned to resolve our sleeping problem TODAY!

My sweet Thomas is an armstrong heater. One can put one's hand several inches above his body and feel the heat radiating from him. In my dream, he asked that I put on the summer blanket. I told him it was the summer blanket.

In visiting with Linda about what is in the attic, she stated she had all types of blankets in her attic and suggested a flannel blanket. That seemed like the right answer.

In a spring rain with wind, I was off to a good linen store to find the product. I could buy an entire set of flannel sheets for $60.00, or a down blanket for about the same price. The down blanket was dry clean only. I was disappointed in their stock and left meeting the rain blown wind on the way to the truck. I would come home, hop on the net and find just what Linda had suggested.

In seconds I had a list of suppliers from which I could order. From one company, I could get chocolate brown for 73% off. Who wants chocolate brown? And so it came to pass that I wound up at the Vermont Country Store, an old haunt where I have found things like Blue Waltz perfume, peppermint pigs, and nail polish to make my nails look like a movie stars. Well, sort of!

But the flannel blankets, Like the ones that covered Grandpa Phil were in the catalog. I did not have to buy ones that were striped or plaid. I could buy plain natural color. I could buy a color, or lack of color that would not fade out. The salmon plaid blankets which adorn the bed over those nine years he was bedridden were not the color or fade of choice.

Perhaps, like Linda, the flannel blankets will find their way to our attic. Perhaps. Yet, I am thinking the idea of something very light weight with the ability to breathe may be the perfect answer for us.

Perhaps some of you sleep on flannel sheets or jersey. The experiment we are doing is strictly as a light blanket over a cotton sheet.

My question now is, if one is great, are two better? Are we having fun yet?

Sitting on the porch waiting for the mailman.


Monday, April 21, 2008


Old Trunks blogged about the Rosewood Club and their meetings on Saturday nights some time ago. One of the comments had to do with where women met men. Many of the articles regarding weddings in the twenties and thirties shared the bride and groom where from the same geographical area. Perhaps the families knew each other or they met at church or at a club. It was almost shocking to see a wedding write up where someone married someone from Minneapolis! Think about all the war brides from WWII! Let's think about how we generally meet people via a common denominator; high school, college, work, play, and yes, still clubs or churches. Maybe you are a product of a marriage with 'the boy next door', maybe you married someone who's father played with your father. Or maybe you connected via the Internet.

Let's go back 137 years ago and connect through a newspaper editorial.

The Northern Pacific Railroad once hired a minister who was prepared to marry 42 couples in a single ceremony for a nominal fee. All that was needed were 42 brides. Yep, just a matter of 42 brides and he would be ready.

Can you stretch yourself back to 1871? Think about this as you read one of the best numerous wives watered stories in early Minnesota history. Take into consideration these were days when the white population was largely masculine--and tired of being bachelors. Imagine if you will, a collective letter sent to a Norwegian newspaper by 42 young men looking for wives.

Try to imagine this Minneapolis published newspaper called the Minnesota, answered by an equally ardent message signed by 42 Eastern maidens eager to be wives.

The plea for wives published; two weeks later their was a reply. The men were living in a tiny settlement of their own called Northern Pacific, which was situated up in the Red River country. This rich valley had just been tapped by the railroad crossing the state from Duluth to Moorhead and Fargo. The Northern Pacific was inaugurating an extensive advertising and colonization project; hence its interest in the promotion of wedlock.

The Board if Immigration created by the legislature in 1857, backed any proposal to bring marriage 'timber' to Minnesota.

It's easy imagine is the loneliness that impelled 42 hardy young pioneers to write the editor of the Minnesota. Their letter told its own story in mixed pathos ad flamboyance:

The men write: We are three and a half dozen young bachelors, strong and handsome, and every last one of us is looking for a mate to help him make his home a real home and bring joy and happiness into his life...we promise, solemnly, that we will be kind and loving husbands who will take pride and joy in making their future a happy one. Never shall they hear an unkind word or see a sour face, and never shall they regret coming here to share our lot.

They need not worry about where to find a minister, because the Northern Pacific Railroad Company has hired a Norwegian preacher who gives us both comfort and advice and who will, for a nominal fee, wed us all in one ceremony.

The girls wrote back in late January: We have learned all about the young homestead boys who for such a long time have spent their lives in bitter loneliness in the new settlements way out in the wild West, and as they, after all these hardships, still think of us girls back in the old settlements, and as they have now informed us about their homes and their bright futures, we girls have considered and tried to picture the unbounded happiness that would be ours if we could only get our hands on those homestead boys and their nice farms.

The letter goes on to say that none of them have reached 20 years of age and all have golden tresses and rosy cheeks and are all anxious to make good little wives and always strive to enhance the man's happiness. None of then have a desire to become cranky old maids.

Would you be willing to be a bride of an early valley settler? Would you be one of those 42 brides for a mass wedding to a man you never met? Would you believe these fellows all had bright futures and homesteads? What would your golden tresses look like living on the prairie in a soddy? Don't you wonder if these willing women could even imagine the hard work ahead of them? Or would you have the kind of spirit which said, "What an adventure"? Is it like it is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers times 6?


Sunday, April 20, 2008


Canadian Goose mate for life, will choose another if widowed.
Baffin Island, Northeast of Hudson Bay
Snow Goose and blue goose

Old Trunks hoped to see large groups of Canadian geese flying in flocks this weekend. We saw pairs of geese flying or sitting on the ice OR small groups near the restaurant where we had lunch. About the time of fish opener in Minnesota, the shore line near the restaurant will have numerous pairs; later, the will have their babies swimming and picking at the grass. Tom states they have already migrated and the pairs we saw were staking their claim.

Let's look back at an old newspaper, written about this time of year regarding migration of geese, shall we? When the article was written, blue geese and snow geese were considered separate species; today, the blue and snow are considered the same. Since we are using the newspaper as a source, we will leave the article in tact, that is, consider the blue and the snow separate species.

Spring rode into Minnesota over the weekend on the thundering wings of blue geese as they reenacted an age old migration spectacle that has baffled scientist from earliest days.

Like a hug cloud, the birds, representing all the blue geese in America according to scientists, move up the historic Big Stone Lake Traverse flyway today northward toward Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle. It is one of the largest on record, this year, delayed by cold weather. It is said that after the advance cordons, hundreds of thousands moved unto the lake.

Thousands of snow geese and numerous Canadian honkers interspersed the blues. Observers pointed out that while the blue goose flight is concentrated, the snow geese trickle through for a month or more.

Fantastic to many is the story of the snow geese. So concerted is its migration, the University of Minnesota has pointed out, that all the blue geese in the United States fly northward through western Minnesota in a few hugs flocks each spring.

Their destination is Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle--a nesting place only discovered in 1928. In the fall they move southward over two routes--the oceanic Atlantic flyway and the Midwest and Mississippi River lane.

Hundreds of sportsmen and nature lovers visit the Traverse and Big Stone Lakes to witness the flight. So rapid and spectacular is the migration that frequently a quiet lake, still tinged with winter, is transformed into an amphitheater of wild life within a single day.
When in Kansas, when the honkers came through, we would take the children out to the pond between Lawrence and Eudora. It was the biggest concentration they would see as children. Recently, I went through all the pictures taken in the last 10 years, I must be just as enthralled has the children were, there are lots of pictures. And yes, they all look the same!
Honkin' big water fowl!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Down in the Farm Part II

A bull calf was born last June, and a good sized lump in his neck. Upon consulting the veterinarian, it was learned the lump was his heart. The veterinarian stated such cases do not live more than 24 hours Mr. Priebe has carefully nursed the animal, and today it weighs 200 pounds.

We’ve heard of pigs in the parlor and bulls in the china shop, but bucks at large in the house is a new one.
Tolbert looked over his sheep. He found one missing. Later, he found the buck, looking over the interior of the house. How we got there was readily seen when he discovered a fine beveled plate glass windows shattered. Apparently the sheep had wandered onto the porch, saw his reflection in the glass and charged.

Mr. Johnson saw a stray pig his backyard, he grabbed the pig by one leg and put it in his garage. He went to the local newspaper office, and ran an ad. The pig was returned to his rightful owner.

Twin lambs are not uncommon for two sets of twins, is the real story. Four healthy youngsters were born to a ewe last week. Mr. Christiansen has been raising sheep or 30 years and is never experienced such an event.

Farmer proudly struts around telling people a his Shorthorn has given birth to three thriving healthy calves in three years. Now, he is saying, ( of the same cow), has given birth to triplets as healthy as the first ones.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Inga Thompson, Left, and Front stayed with the Haugen's when she taught at Rosebank. This picture was taken at the final program at the closing of Rosebank School in 1956.

Other teachers in the image are: Back, left to right: Ebba Sagmoen, Lilly (Holson)Rafteseth, Joyce Kron, Millie Mellem, Hilda Silverness, John Pearson, (County Superintendent) and Olger Rokke. Front row: Inga Thompson, Judith Wold, Ida Gustafson, Ruth Shevland, absent is Signe Nelson, who took the picture.
Selmer and Evelyn Haugen and Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Haugen, Harvey and Eileen in a 1919 Chevrolet in front of the Selmer Haugen house in Rosewood, MN

His name was Selmer Haugen. He was a big man with a pendulous abdomen who had white hair, false teeth, and a huge laugh. Before we introduce his life, let's talk about his finesse of auctioning items at the Rindal Church and how he would model the aprons to get the crowd 'up'. Selmer auctioned when daddy bid on a hand made clown stuffed with cat tail fluff. The clown's fluff was fluffy at the time of the purchase, later it would settle in the feet and in the hands and the body would not sit up on its own.

One fall in the mid 50's, mother had a plan to decorate. She lined the floor of the office with pages from the Minneapolis Morning Tribune. She took valuable vases and sprayed them black and the over spray was still there when we moved to town. In a ditch somewhere in northern Minnesota, she picked cat tails to put in the vases. The decor didn't last long, the cat tails had an odor. Why didn't the clown smell, had the cat tails been picked dry?

The idea of cat tail fluff had tucked itself away until an article high lighted itself in an old newspaper. The header was: GRYGLA CATTAIL FLUFF BUYER SETS NATIONAL RECORD. His name was John Gonnering, he purchased and shipped 13 railroad carloads of the material. Mr. Gonnering shipped the product to a plant in Wisconsin.

There was talk about starting a plant in Grygla where the fluff would be processed before being shipped. It appears picking cat tails was a profitable activity for scores of pickers in the community, as well as others north and east of Thief River Falls. In 1944, it was considered a thriving infant industry.

Think about where cat tails grow; rivers, lakes, ditches, swamps. Old Trunks is not the brightest planet in the universe. I kept thinking about all those people with boots or boats until I read the article about the carloads of fluff being shipped to Wisconsin. The harvesting was in the winter! The date of the paper was February, 1944. Now, that made sense, you could walk on the ice! Mother had picked hers out of a ditch in September.

As for Selmer and his wife, Evelyn, Inga Thompson Payne, a former teacher of country school writes, "Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man," comes to mind when I think of the Selmer Haugen home.

Selmer and Evelyn were that kind of people, as I recall them. I stayed with them while I taught school at Rosewood. Their home was just a short way by a path through the woods from the Rosebank School. On cold, stormy mornings, I would find the path shoveled and fire built when I got to the schoolhouse. Selmer had been there. After a busy school day, it was a perfect place to come home to. Their great warmth and hospitality was enjoyed by many.

They had no children of their own, but helped raise several nephews and nieces who had lost their parents. They were Urna Engelstad, Chester Engelstad, Harvey Haugen and Elaine Haugen. To the children of the community, Selmer was known as Uncle.

He served on the town board and always served as the auctioneer for the Ladies Aid annual bazaar. He modeled the aprons and the bidding became lively.

Selmer was a friendly, jovial man. Several evenings he entertained us with song. He had a loud, booming voice which literally raised the roof. This was before the days of television.

Evelyn was a gentle, loving woman concerned about the comfort and care of those around her. She loved to read, especially poetry. We shared many a gem together.

This is the way I remember the Haugen's. They made the community a better place to live."
What were those thirteen carloads of cattail fluff used for? Was in insulation? Did they use it for bedding as our ancestors might have? We know the shoots were used to make mats. It is considered medicinal. For those of you who want to eat it, here is a recipe.
2-1/2 cups almonds10 cups water, or as needed2 cups sliced cattail shoots, thinly sliced1/4 cup fresh spearmint leaves or other mint leaves, finely choppedThe juice of half a lemon

1. Cover the almonds with water and soak, refrigerated, 6 hours to overnight.

2. Puree the soaked almonds, about 2 cups at a time, with about 3 cups of the water at a time in a blender until all the almonds have been pureed.

3. Pour the almond-water puree into a colander lined with cheesecloth or thin nylon fabric over a bowl. Twist the top of the cloth and squeeze the remaining water.

4. Discard the pulp and mix the remaining ingredients with the almond milk. Serve chilled.
As for Old Trunks, a good stand of cat tails means top water fishing for bass. There was a stand at the lake one year and you could see where the fish were swimming because the shoots were moving. It was exciting to pop a topwater lure on the edge of the stand of cat tails and feel that bass hook up.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This chart, prepared by the office of price administration, shoes the most widely sold canned foods with their approximate weights and point values. The sizes of the vegetables in the top row are known as No. 2 cans. If a person bought three of these cans of peas, for example, during March, he would just use up his 48 points of coupons allotted each person for the month. He could then purchase no other canned, dried, or frozen goods in March, but other member of the family could with their coupons

The above article was a special notice dated February 1, 1944.

Token program begins February 27. One point red tokens will be given in change for Red Stamps and one-point Blue Tokens for Blue Stamps. Stamps will be worth 10 points each. Tear stamps out across Ration Book instead of up and down. The following stamps become valid on February 27.

Red Stamps A8, B8, and C8 good for 10 points each from 27 FEB - 20 MAY.

Blue Stamps A8, B8, C8, and D8 27 FEB - 20 MAY

Green stamps G, H, and J good 1 JAN-20 FEB
K, L, and M good 1 JAN-20 MAR

Brown Stamps V 23 JAN-26 FEB
Brown Stamps W 30 JAN-26 FEB
Brown Stamps X 6 FEB-26 FEB
Brown Stamps Y 13 FEB-20 MAR
Brown Stamps Z 20 FEB-20 MAR

Stamp No. 30 Five pounds 16 JAN-31 MAR

Stamp No. 18 (Book one) good for one pair indefinitely. Airplane Stamp No. 1, (Book three) good for one pair indefinitely.

Period No. 2 coupons good for ten gallons per unit through 7 FEB

Period No. 3 coupons good for ten gallons per unit through 13 MAR

Period No. 4 and Period No. r coupons good for ten gallons per unit 8 FEB though 30 SEPT.

When we cleaned out the Johnson house after Erna died, we found rationing books and coins. Old Trunks wants to offer just what these books and coins worth today. As you read, think about just how these rules would affect you today.

Gas Rationing
Each vehicle had a sticker in its window. This told the person at the pump how much gas you were allowed.

A: Four gallons a week allotted. No pleasure driving. Gas generally pumped by women as the men were in the service.

B: Green, Eight gallons a week, issued to people doing work for war effort, i.e industrial.

C: Red, physicians, ministers, mail carriers, and railroad employees

R: Farm

T: Truckers, unlimited fuel

X: Congress and other VIP

It appears that when you applied for your new ration book you had to turn in your old one. If you were hospitalized for greater than 10 days, you needed to turn your book in and get it when you were released. If you died, your family was to turn the book in.

There were so many rules! One of the advertisements had to do with mail order shoes. The packet of rationing stamps clearly states not to tear out the stamps, rather present the entire book. But if you were buying mail order shoes, one was allowed to tear out the shoe stamp and send it with your order.

There were so many forms! If you wanted sugar for canning, fill out a form, if you wanted a fridge, you filled out a form. And we remember that if we wanted tires.....fill out a form.

There were also lots of information put out by the government including charts and graphs which helped families understand how many tokens or stamps it took to buy specific items of food.

Old Trunks wonders just how much all of this rationing affected the people in New Solum township. Although everyone was rationed, these folks most likely had a victory garden, perhaps chickens for eggs and an occasional chicken in the pot, and beef which supplied milk or meat. The concern would be sugar for canning, did they get the sugar they asked for on their canning sugar form?

Perhaps they lumped together trips to town for doctor's appointments, groceries, and visits. We know they couldn't use gas for just pleasure. It was almost like the business trips we used to take when Daddy would have some far off product he wanted to see first hand and charge it as an expense, (he could do that, it was his company).

In a discussion with my sweet Thomas, fishing came up. He told me we would, under the rationing of WWII, walk to the river and fish on crowded banks with others casting for food. That reminded me of something Ken said in an email of late, "I can recall Northern Pike runs in March in Northern Minnesota. Growing up around Smiley and Kratka townships the fish would often get caught out in the fields when the water dropped after a thaw. They would spawn in 6 inches of water. Naturally we thought this was a great waste and we would take them. The local game warden was usually hot on our trail but we never had a direct encounter with him because everyone always knew where he was. it was just a shame to see those nice big fish going to rot in the fields". Waste not!

Rationing seems complicated to me. There are so many rules. Yet, I would guess that any child of ten at that time could walk to the store with the coupon/ration book, buy what its mother wanted and understand the concept.