Monday, February 28, 2011


Today's attitude has to do with new clerks in retail stores. We had spent the morning on the net looking for the best deal on a lure made by SPRO. It is a top water unit we happened across and when you look at the ones in the bottom of the tackle box, you know they have died from over use. The old lures were kept as a prompt to replace them.

I am an old stick in the mud--if it works, don't fix it sort of person. I suppose I have gotten that way because there isn't youth around me to crack open new fields of interest. And when it comes to lures, if I find one that works, I hoard. Is it magic? Maybe not but I used something called a black rat for two summers and did well....until a couple of years ago and all the bass in all the lakes were saying, "There is that old lady again, can't trick us anymore".

That is when I started on SPRO. First ones were always reddish brown. I can't tell you how many that were replaced but I liked the lure and could cast a 'far piece' with it on the line.

So yesterday morning, we were on a mission. It was to find the best price on the SPRO product without having to pay shipping. Prices ranged from $11 down to $6.37, a difference of over four and a half dollars. We ordered thirty. I used the live chat to find out about two others which did not show in the catalog. It is out of stock AND the manufacturer was on to making products for the 2012 season. The chat agent knew his stuff.

And that is how we came to be at the retail store. Tom went to look for more gloves. I went straight to the lures. I was approached by what seemed like a pleasant person.

"May I help you?" he asked
"Yes, I am looking for SPRO frog lures"
"I don't think we have those"
"Odd, don't you think that they carry them in the catalog and not here?"

He offered another frog. I reminded him I was brand specific. Why didn't he just say he was new?

"Look, I said, Here they are!"
"Oh, we have lots of those", he said.

I started at the top going left to right, looking at each color and size. We needed KILLER and RAINFOREST BLACK .

"Is there something special you want?", he asked.
"Yes,Killer and Rainforest black".

And then he committed the sin, he pulled off something I did not ask for.

"No, I said, I specifically need the colors I mention".

He read top to bottom. Eureka.

And yes, I know it may be suggested selling. It is like a drive through asking if you want fries with that or an apple pie. Or like Ryen stated on Face Book, did he want more grinders, after all there were still eight available. Ryen went on to say on FB he only needed two, one for coffee and one for spices and he already had one.

Next we looked at Rapalas. He showed me the end cap, I was looking for one that only went down three feet. I had stated that. I did not wish to have one that would dive to eight. I scanned the entire isle of Rapala's and did not find a three footer. I stated I would send Tom, if there was a three footer in that sea of lures, he would find it. There was none to be found. Suggesting a four foot diver was not the answer.

The next helper was a seasoned rugged outdoors type. He was trying to sell rods. I told him I was brand specific and if it wasn't a Fenwick, I wasn't interested and where were the Fenwicks. Well, of course, they didn't have them. :). He kept telling me about how good a St. Croix rod was and it cost less. Tom stepped between us and suggested he didn't go there.

So the rugged guy wasn't talking to me anymore, now he was talking to Tom about how he was a guide and we should fish the Sheyenne River for catfish. Rugged did not hear we fish bass with top water lures in the slop. We had already tried fishing for catfish and gave all the tackle away because we simply did not like it.

Maybe it is really all about presenting what we know regardless of the monologue. Maybe we spew the known and are deaf to others. And maybe when someone says, THIS WORKS FOR ME, instead trying to change their mind, maybe we should accommodate them instead.

Maybe I am not a stick in the mud. Maybe I am just old enough to know what works for me.

And the lure price? With the ten percent coupon and the sale of 25% off, the lures were 10 cents more. Just maybe, that new guy now knows where the SPRO frogs are. Maybe. Take that, Newbie!

So there


Thursday, February 24, 2011


Grand Uncle Olaf Opseth was a reader. He was also a collector of books. Grandma said her brother had so many she didn't even know where to start counting. Many of them were lost to mold and poor storing. A few sets of leather bound books were given to Julia, his sister.

Grandma had them for several years until she decided she really wanted that glass cabinet for pretty things like dishes and cups. She gave the books to Old Trunks in about 1964 and they have been with me ever since. In Fargo, they are displayed in the glass doored book cases which separate the dining room from the living room in this 1922 house.

Richard, a former classmate, sent me a link called Rethinking Schools online. It is an urban educational source. The instructions state to drag each country name to its proper place on the map. Now, this is an up to date map and it sure does look like there are a lot of new countries on here that weren't on here before! This is not an explanation as to why I got an F, only that the names are foreign to me. By hook, crook, and comparison, I did get most of the countries filled in. I will admit I had one left over but if I was putting a fan together, I would have parts left over, too!

Now, one of Grand Uncle Olaf's sets of books is named, Ridpath's History of the World in nine volumes. The last copyright is 1901.

Now, most of us know where Jordan, Damascus, Mt. Sinai, and Mt. Ararat, Jerusalem, and Egypt are because of our early Christian teachings. We may know where Turkey is because Becki Ferber was there was an exchange student. The Persian Gulf war was play by play so we should know where that is.

We can guess that Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan must be in a cluster as we have heard about our troops fighting there for too long.

If we even had World Geography in high school, no doubt our books were grossly out of date.
A 1939 text book would indeed offer Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Jerusalem, Armenia, Turkey, Iran, and even Kuwait--etc, etc, etc. We need to understand that pre WWII, most of the Middle East was still protected by Britain, France and Italy. Only Turkey and Iran were independent.

I don't know the answers, I still get an F. I just hope someone does whack off a piece of the United States and become independent.


What it looks like to me is, Persia exploded one day and gave us countries like Uzberkistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikstan.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The other day, a former class mate sent me a world map game. It was an inter active game where you have a list of countries and one drops them into place. He had an advantage, he had lived in the middle east as do part of his family.

I looked at the list and they hunted for the smallest country. I knew that Kuwait was mini size because the scout troop was presented with that country to learn about for an international celebration in February.

Never mind that Kuwait was not much more than 15 years free from the United Kingdom. We could resource from the library, (yes, hard copy books). Finding someone to talk to the girls about customs was going to be the trick. Who did I know that knew someone that had been there?

You see, we couldn't hop on the Internet and find the information nor could we 'friend' someone that lived there.

And maybe there is something to be said about hard copy and physically touching the information verses not storing it within ourselves because we can always find it or something like it on line.

What happened to I know someone that knows someone? Is it because I am replanted or is just the way it is because of the Internet?

Certainly I flunked the middle east quiz. But I knew where Kuwait is, how about you?


Saturday, February 19, 2011


Grandpa Benhard and Grandma Julia spent the summers in this hand made trailer while Benhard was doing construction in the area around and about northern Minnesota.
They were one of many couples, or in the case of Great Uncle Bennie, singles, who constructed this units and lived in them in a clearing somewhere near the job site.
In another photo, which is too bad to even consider publishing, there is Grandma, looking as if she is washing in a bucket. Another person is sitting on a chair. The same chair, it seems, that was painted over and over and once was used photograph the family dog, Snowball.
It appears as if the trailers were brought in with a trailer, then a series of logs was used to roll it off. The logs are depicted in the bad, bad, photo. Off to the side out of view of the picture of my grandparents is an out house. One would have thought it would have been set farther away, let's hope it was, at least, down wind.
The trailer, as you can see, is not big. Most likely it held a bed and a couple of chairs. No doubt all cooking was done outside. There was no refrigeration. It does not appear there was a stove, how did grandma bake bread?
We know from the history of my parents, they lived in one of those units, also. Their design was just a little different. As I go through the books gathering the information which I lost in the December purge, I will find it.
Meanwhile. I am going to turn on the stove, put something in the oven, and have hot buns from freezer to oven to plate.
And what is with her fat ankles? Too hot?

Friday, February 18, 2011


Well, okay, I suppose there is enough research for all of this NOW but what about us poor folk who didn't even know what yogurt was and as for chocolate and nuts, only at Christmas time would we be healthy. Daddy said if you were lucky you got an apple in your Christmas stocking. IF you were really lucky, you got an orange, too. Oranges, by the way, are not on the list.

I like to think that a man I adored, who was raised poor and ate beans and boiled the corn cobs for the chickens to make broth, should had a healthy heart, but it was not so.

I like to think that whole grain flour, which, in Grandma's day, was considered for poor people, would have made her heart healthy. She longed for fine white flour to make her bread the best it could be. Odd, isn't it, that I have said to my kids, "White bread makes you dead" even though my wonderful grandmother budgeted for white flour?

And how in the name of heaven where land locked folks in Northern Minnesota supposed to get salmon? I know, it is all fish but watch out for the mercury! BOO

Tomatoes and berries were canned during the season they grew. How much food value was really left after processing it? Could we just be healthy in the supper sneaking into the cemetery behind Mae's house and stripping the raspberries? I know how we got caught, we had seeds in our teeth. What was the deal? The fruit was to mature and then be canned for winter. Yet, isn't it better to eat the fruit fresh right off the bush?

Was it wrong to crawl on your knees at Hermanson's truck farm and EAT the strawberries right off the vine and take the punishment because you didn't fill your pail?

Why not let a child sit in the garden and eat the carrots with a little sand instead of letting them get to maturity only to be woody?

And if you are making beet pickles, why not pick them as mini's rather than letting them get so big one pickle equals one jar. I know the answer, it is all about MORE. Is more better? If you think so, then you never had Mother's mini beet pickles.

According to the article yogurt and raisins prevent gum disease. It does NOT say that if you eat these two foods you won't have to have your teeth scaled at regular intervals. It does say that gum disease leads to heart problems. Is knowledge always king? I think not.

Why all the anti oxidants?

Guess we must have smoggy insides.


Thursday, February 17, 2011


Posted by Picasa

This is a picture Randy sent to me this morning.

If you are wondering if blogs work, this is an example to share that it does. Randy was looking for information on the Prowlers, which is the team mascot name for Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, MN.

Randy keyed in something that triggered the blog to post. It was a picture of the 1960 basketball team which went to state. His team, in 1974 also went to state in basketball.

Thanks, Randy, you are a sport
Certainly you are candy.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


You just take some old bread and put it in the bowl and cover it with eggs, milk, and sugar and put it in the oven. YOU DON'T GO BUY BREAD FOR IT!!!

And as I key, the bread pudding bowl in in the oven with old cinnamon bread and all the rest except I put brandy. :) Little zip!

The bowl is the story. She got it from the Jewel Tea man who came door to door and sold ingredients and you got prizes. The bowl is the prize.

I have never made bread pudding except in that bowl. And as Mrs. Johnson said, "Each of us had a serving and Tom ate the rest".

And so it will be tonight.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Maybe it was the nice weather

Maybe in was the Minnesota Hockey day in Moorhead with the temperatures in the high thirties and the ice was sloppy.

Maybe it was memories of Aunt Lil. Or Judy and I skating on the coolee across the tracks from there house.

Nevertheless, when you dream about it and wake up to the aroma of peanut butter cookies, well, what can I say, you gotta have those cookies!

I am not much of a baker. The cookie sheets are in perfect condition!

I haven't used Crisco since the last time I made cookies. The can was open and out of date for two. I am a EVOO person. Now, even I knew using EVOO for cookies probably would not work. And the baking soda was out of date for baking.

It was nice out. Not one of those days you have to dress in layers to go out. Shoes on and Tom asked where I was going. "To the store to get Crisco and baking soda", I said. He offered to go while I gathered up and started mixing the ingredients. The final items were mixed in and the first two sheets went into the oven while Tom was outside chipping ice off the driveway.

He stuck his head in later and asked, "Are they done yet"?
"YES"!, I hollered back.

Now he is disciplined and I am not. I was testing and he was helping clean up the kitchen. He had them for Sunday Night Supper.

It was the sloppy ice
It was Judy
It was Lillian
After all, it was her recipe out of the church cook book
It was a wonderful aroma from her house

And in her honor, our house captured the spirit of the cookie.



Monday, February 14, 2011


Yes! It IS the day!

.and the day began with coffee and then MST gave me this soppy card that made me cry. When I was blowing up balloons for him this afternoon, I thanked him for the wonderful card and on one, mentioned he should read it out loud to me. Maybe we would both tear up. BTW, I blew up four balloons because I spelled beautiful wrong on one of them. That is the problem with keyboarding and not writing by hand--okay, I am a crappy speller--!

Someone stated what is the buzz about Valentine's Day. What is the big deal, don't we love these people just as much the rest of the year? Yes. But we don't give soppy cards the other days of the year.

It is, as the card reads:

........" putting someone elses needs ahead of your own, not bcause you have to, but because you want to".........

I am thinking about the first Valentine's Day we knew each other in this life. A basket of flowers came with a five diamond pendent on it. He had sent the necklace to the flower shop in Lawrence, they attached it and delievered it. It is a special memory. He is like that.

He is a gift--one that likes mushy cards.


Friday, February 11, 2011


The list is long. You may be bored.

The cardboard tubing from the paper towel roll attached to the vacuum cleaner hose to clean under the fridge did not work.

There was no film on our dryer lint catcher to make the dryer catch on fire.

List: zero

This mornings test was about using hair conditioner for shaving your legs. At first, I could not believe how smooth it was--that is--until I realized I had not taken the guard off the razor. However, it did work wonderfully. I will have to do a lot of shaving to get rid of all the bottles of hair conditioning we have stored in the closet.

Then I got to thinking about when 'cream rinse' first came out, that is, when I remember it being introduced to our household. Revlon made a shampoo called Aquamarine. It had the most enchanting aroma. AND GUESS WHAT COLOR IT WAS!!! One was to follow the shampooing with the cream rinse--same color, same bottle, (confusing for Daddy who couldn't tell one from another without his glasses).

Now the idea in the early days was to mix a cap full with a quart of water and pour over your hair. This is also the time in life when people washed their hair in the kitchen sink. Don't tell me you never did that!!!

Since the bathroom off the mud room at the farm had a shower, it was much more efficient to me to wash hair and shower all at once. I didn't go to the kitchen to get the Pryex glass pitcher to mix the rinse. I just put some in my hands, rubbed my hands together, and ran it through my hair. Mother was not pleased, I wasn't following the directions on the bottle. But I never saw Daddy go to the kitchen for that Pryex pitcher, either.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011


AND SHE SAID, "If you take the center of paper towel, that is the cardboard roll, and put it on the end of the sweeper hose, you can smash it and it will gather the dust under your fridge"!

Now, that seemed like a good thing to do since when living in an apartment in another life, it was customary to pull the fridge out a few times a year and clean the grates.

The first cardboard roll from paper towels, I figured would be ready in a day or so. I did not know that MST was going to change it out for a full one, break up what was left, twist the cardboard beyond recognition and toss it in the trash only to be covered with the stuff from the bottom of the pan and coffee grounds.

I had to wait.

Well, the oven needed to be cleaned. Today was the day. The oven cleaner did its thing and I went on to other projects.

I could only find one glove, left handed of course, which looked odd on my right hand but it would work. I took a new roll of paper towels, tore off a dozen and let the rest of the roll unwind while the first of come- off- the -roll was tucked in my waist of my pants. I was not wearing wasted pants although I maybe should have.

Wipe and repeat, wipe and repeat. Get all the gunk out, then spray with water and wipe and repeat with paper towels. Then wash, then rinse. And for all of that, I now have a cardboard center from a roll of paper towels!

How is this going to work? We are about to see. Can you wait a minute?



The hose end to the sweeper is smaller than the paper towel holder

When roll is taped to the end of the sweeper, the paper towel sucks itself in near the place it connects with the hose.

It is a bust. MOVE THAT FRIDGE!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This all has to do with the territory concept from yesterday.

Old Trunks thinks there may be something to how clean is too clean. Or how clean is clean enough. I learned this lesson from my dad.

I was living with them when Rachel was born because her father was in the Army. One day, I decided to clean his pipes. I don't mean that in a mafia way, I decided to literally clean his pipes which he used to smoke tobacco.

Did I ask? No. Did I watch to see how to do it? Yes and no. I thought he just banged them into the garage can, put in a new filter BECAUSE he didn't like the job and was in a hurry--besides, he only cleaned one pipe at a time.

I thought it would be much more efficient if all the pipes were really cleaned at once using pipe cleaners, (yes they have more uses that making crafts), and scrape the bowl out so there was more room for LOTS of tobacco.

I took all the pipes apart. He had about a dozen. Then I cleaned each piece inside using double pipe cleaners to really get the gunk out. There was a tools in his drawer that looked like a short blade, I used that to scrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrape out the bowl. I damp cleaned the outside and lined them all up on the pipe rack.

But, you know what? I cleaned them too good. And that is just what Daddy said. Next time I cleaned them, use the pipe cleaners, use the filters, but let's leave the bowl to build up a natural fire pit again.

Which brings me to this moment.

The fishing rods are standing at attention in the corner. I did clean mine this morning, taking care to get the dried sludge out of the grooves using a toothbrush. I cleaned the guides and made sure each of them was tight. I stopped at mine. Tom may have another way.

Maybe he wants a little natural build up.


Monday, February 7, 2011


On this day in 1940, Daddy had three flat tires on the way to St. Hilaire where he and mother were married. He gave the minister $20 and said he asked for change. In those days, giving money to the reverend to marry you was a gift, now I think they have a fee. Well, everyone has to have bread and milk, I guess.

It is not known why they went to St. Hilaire. Neither were affiliated with that church nor any other that is known. Maybe that was the Las Vegas of the North.

I do know there was an eight year age difference between the two of them and often wondered why in the name of heaven mother was going with someone that old when she was in high school? Why would she risk it? The question will always be a question.

Old Trunks does know that is probably why they were so doubtful of any arm candy I may have brought home. Although Tom's parents, especially his mother, never liked anyone he dated, maybe parents are all the same. Maybe mother's parents, actually, her dad, didn't like Daddy either. But for some reason, she was still dating him.

I don't know how long they dated before they were married. I don't even know where they met. The inquiries were made yet there where no answers.

Their marriage was trauma and drama. And when mother announced she was going to leave and go to work, washing dishes at the nursing home, she was told she would look pretty silly driving up in a new Cadillac and wearing a fur coat. That might sound mean to you but she trumped daddy a lot more than he did her.

Why did they stay together? Did it get better? Where they just so comfortable in their misery they didn't way to get out of yetanother brand new box?

We like to think our parents had a wonderful marriage. We like to think about how well they meshed together and the good times they had. And I can find good times between them, and on this, the day of their marriage, I will think about that the good times.



I think we all know that places we sit in rooms or the sides of the bed we sleep on are territorial.

Think about your family when your kids were little and even farther back to when you were a kid.

Imagine your mother in some sort of rocker with handiwork and father stretched out on the sofa most likely snoozing. Even before television, when TV became the center of the room, the place in the den seemed to be in place.

Now, the stage is set.

We are territorial here. We have our sofa grooves. And we have the tops of said tables covered with personal items and the drawers, if any, are filled with the operator of that spaces treasures.

Yesterday, the cell phone was missing. I don't know how long it had been missing because it is used seldom. I suppose the last time minutes were added. Yet, it was bothersome not to see it laying in the kitchen. To find it, I dialed the number. After several rings, I found it behind my end table wedged between the table and the air purifier.

It was obviously time to clean off the tables.

Take off:
Lamp with the blue tooth ear piece wrapped around the base in a perpetual charge.
Take the glass shade and the hurricane chimney off the lamp and wash it.
Dust the brass with its trillion crevices.

Take the glass out of the end table and wash
Polish the wood
Put lamp back on
and lady bug jewelry holder which acts as a pain pill box

Do the bottom shelf and ask, why is this here?
Emery board
pumice tool
cough drops
dental pick
hand lotion
foot lotion

It is obvious that shelf is an extension of the bathroom. Oh, and the empty coffee can which acts like a waste basket because it fits just right!

I don't remember what is in the drawer except five mouse turds which I vacuumed up.

Now, on the other end table, which I have time to do because the oven is cleaning and won't be done until noon, is another story. And because it is NOT my stuff, I can question WHY IS THIS HERE but I can not discard anything although I can file paperwork regarding the truck being serviced.

It might help to know each of us has a tray, which holds most of the loose stuff. I am also a user of a coffee cup that has been retired for one reason or another.

Tom's drawer holds all remotes except for the TV, which seems to have taken up residence on the arm of the sofa. The drawer also holds the battery operated unit used to take the pills of clothes and the Max scissors--so called because Tom used it to cut the clumps of hair out of the cat. Besides the lamp, which sits higher than mine and throws more light, he has the police scanner. In his tray, which I just finished vacuuming, there are:

Nine units one ties to the fishing line to attach the lures with four, (+or-) inches of string on each.
One grotesquely bent paper clip
One bolt of unknown origin
One red bead
Hand lotion
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, still in box
Two-30" shoe laces tied together
A mat for can of soda
And a paper bowl

The scary this is, I know why he has the stash he does except for the magic eraser. Every one needs paper and the pen is always in his pocket. The shoe laces, the bent paper clip, the fishing stuff, which includes the red bead, are all part of the fishing duty from the weekend.

But the paper bowl? It is his peanut bowl. Every night, he has some peanuts. He takes them out of the three pound can and put some in the bowl to munch on. He changes the bowl out as he feels necessary.

As for the clasps and swivels for the fishing line, all left after taking all the string off the reels to send in for cleaning. Some of them are open. Am I going to shut them? No. Why? Because there may be some sort of system to him. But for now, I will get the tweezers out of my cup and tease the braided line off the clasp before I put them back where they belong--for now.

It is the territory of the man who sleeps nearest the door. It is the territory of the man who takes his real waste can out and puts it in front of him when he files his nails. Do I do that? No. Why is that?

Maybe I need a new, improved waste can! Maybe I better go wipe down the oven.



Saturday, February 5, 2011


"As Pa lifted the blanket away, there stood a shining new sewing machine. Ma gasped. "Yes, Caroline, it is yours", Pa said proudly, "I had to sell a cow anyway."

Sewing machines still remained a luxury for many pioneering families. As Laura Ingalls Wilder recalled, her mother had always wanted a machine but the family could not afford one until the girls were grown.

Singer machines sold for as much as $125 dollars at a time when $500 a year was considered the norm for how much people made. Singer, however had a time payment plan. Singer was a brilliant inventor and held numbers of patents.

One would think families or neighbors shared machines, otherwise the sewing had been done by hand. It is no wonder that in the early years of Thief River Falls, there were millinery shops. People used the machine as there lively hood. Dressmakers had store fronts. One of them was on North LaBree in the 400 black, about where the Falls Clinic used to be which was across from the Starkow Clinic in the early 1950's, although decades earlier.

It makes one wonder if quilting bees were more about bring your machine.

I don't know the model numbers of Mae' White machine nor of Grandma's. So I can't tell you how old they were. I do know that Grandma used her treadle machine as long as she sewed. I am certain that when she got it, it was a big, wonderful gift. I can still see her maroon slippers on the treadle going back and forth in perfect cadence as she stitched along. Then, with her scissors, now with a patina finish from years of use, snipping the threads.

Old Trunks wondered about all of this after reading an article about Singer's Model 15. According to the article, it was a hand crank machine, that is, the operator cranked the machine with a wheel with a knob on the right side of the machine and guided the fabric with the left.

This same Model 15 was reworked to be a treadle machine and later electric. Although Model 15 had changes, that number was still being sold in the late 1990's.

Just who was this Singer guy, anyway? It seems as if he was colorful with multiple marriages and mistresses and it is claimed he had twenty-four children. And to think the installment plan bought him lavish homes in the United States as well as England and France.

I suppose he kept people in stitches, too.


Friday, February 4, 2011


If you watch crime drama then, by this time of the year, you are counting on that program to offer the following list of criteria.

Cell phone or beeper


Phone Logs or voice mail

Bank Statements

Credit card charges

Easy pass


Rape kit


Time of death


Finger print match

Bullet match

Tox screen

Disposable phone

Stomach food contents


Cheating partner


Murder weapon

Some lame interaction between characters

Interview in a police like room

Are there more? What are they?

Don't believe it? Print and mark. Just watch out your DNA doesn't get on your pencil or the 'copper will nab ya'.


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Old Trunks is thinking about her grand parents.

She is remembering how grandma would lick the tip of the lead pencil before she wrote out a check. Their check book folded like a wallet, and the stub to write the transaction was on the left side. Her signature was Mrs. B Ranum, never Julia. Her penmanship was rounded with a wonderful sense of bounty in her fat letters.

She remembers the used envelopes from cards they had received. Carefully openedwith a paring knife to lay flat. They were used to mark the scores of the years of card games they played; not only together, but with friends who came to play cards and have lunch at midnight before going home.

........and all of this was done with a pencil sharpened with a paring knife. Grandpa was careful to whittle away the wood without breaking off the lead. Erasers, if any, were long gone. If there was an eraser, it was hard and if you did erase, it smeared.

No matter how many tablets of paper we gave her, she still used the old envelopes for notes and marking for cards. They were called writing tablets, had light green lines, do you know of them? How many have you gone through in the last five years?

At our house, we always had a gross of pencils, advertising for Ranum Construction as well as 4H drawing pencils and wonderful flat clean erasers. And a pencil sharpener that made the points so sharp that when I accidentally stuck myself with one, the lead broke off under the skin. I liked the #4H and bought them at the office supply store near the theater on LaBree.

As I pull out the desk drawer and look inside, I see an

Arctic Cat pencil
Valentine Pencil
Paper Mate #2

None are sharpened and the erasers are too old for use. Do I use a pencil? Do you? When? I have two mechanically pencils with size five lead, left over from my days at trade school. They are used daily. I use them for my check register, as well.

As for lined paper. I keep all my genealogy notes in steno pads. The books have strong covers and one can tab page sides to find your place back to homesteading or who is buried in the Wildwood Cemetery. Besides, it fits in a normal size purse and if you are tracking something--let's say at the library-- it is easier than loose papers.

We all know there is much to be said about hand written notes. Someone working in Africa said she longed to see a real letter, hand written. In this day of keyboarding and getting the information out over the Internet, we don't see that much any more nor do we see hand addressed envelopes. Yet, she was worth the time and effort to write. Two pages of onion skin in an over seas envelope. Labor of love just like the letters I got from Grandma, written on lined stationary with the licking of the pencil.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Once upon a time, we ran until we got where we were going. We walked to school with nearly bare legs in twenty below zero weather. We drove our cars hard and fast, (well, as fast as cars would go then), We stayed up all night, slept late, woke refreshed and did it all over again. When elders talked about being tired, we wondered what they had been up to, after all, we never saw them work hard. We were INVINCIBLE.

Grandpa was 65+ when he helped me catch a chipmunk in the garage to sell to Jon Wenneberg for a science project. Grandma, a few years younger, was baking bread, keeping house, taking care of two grand children, and still finding time to do handiwork and visit on Sundays with good friends. There were not as INVINCIBLE as I was, but I could look to 65 and think, I can do that when I am 65.

Mother was in the San with TB and Daddy was busy contracting. Her pace was slow and Daddy made up for it; sometimes driving to the cities and back twice in one day. He went through a lot of cars in a short period of time. He said he traded them in when the ash trays got full. I had one parent who was sickly and another burning the candle at both ends. I didn't know about genetics but neither sick nor burn out was a type of life style I would have chosen. Neither seemed INVINCIBLE to me.

And then, the grandparents deceased. First Phil, then Julia, and then, Benhard at 98. I actually do not know how old Phil's first wife, my grandmother, was. Yet, they all had gotten the promise of 70 plus years. So, I was okay with it.

And then Daddy died. And that was when I realized that life was creeping up on me and I was half way to the promise of seventy years although he only made it to 67.

Mother died at eighty and I was adopted by my aunt because, now, I was truly an orphan. My brother had expired several months earlier.

It is now the time that many of us have no living parents. If we are lucky, we have siblings who we can engage with on a somewhat timely basis. If you don't, then get you * together and make it happen.

And so, we stand abreast, all of us 1944 babies, now grown up, most have grand children and some may even have great grand children. We are on the frontier of what is considered old age. Although it stings, the reality of it is here.

I have been verifying deaths of class mates this last week. Twenty three out of 177 have perished. Other names have been suggested, as a genealogy nut, I have not been able to find anything which says they are deceased.

And in some way, super freaky, you look around the circle of these people and wonder who will be next while the reality is, we only have the day we are in.

Most of us haven't been the editor of a major newspaper or a missionary in Africa treating refugees. There is a saying hanging on the wall as you come in the back door of our house, "To the world you are one person, to one person you are the world". And maybe that is what it is all about. Making a difference.

The concept of being INVINCIBLE toward someone does NOT go away. People perish. No more memories to make. Yet, if you are very still one can make that invincible I knew him/her when....Most likely you have, at least made eye contact and that is what is saving me now.

Old Trunks was a pest. And so when I think about Bruce, who always sat behind me, I think about how I pestered him. I did the same thing to Tim, who sat in the next row. These to gentleman will always be the tolerant males who put up with me.

And Marlene, well, no one colored quite like she did, how did she make her black so black how could she press so hard? She didn't know but her George Washington done in red and Abe Lincoln, done in black were impressive. Dittos

Jane was in the same scout troop and drew her own name for the door prize.

Jim had a great party at Noper's and I wore my mother's clothes because she was in the hospital. He had wonderful freckles.

Karl was mean in grade school.

Another Jim, well, I had a major crush on him but he never knew it.

Andrea liked John. John liked everyone.

I adored, and wanted to be part of the FFA group with David, Russell, Milton, and Elton but girls weren't allowed there or to play hockey. I considered myself more of a farm kid than a city kid.

Gary had the nicest 58 black Chevy with louvers on the hood and when it snowed, the heat from the engine melted the snow.

Donna was scary and after she threw P down the stairs at RLF at a dance, I stayed out of her way. I bet she really wasn't mean.

Another Gary lived down the street from us when I was young, he gave me the willies.

John was bright and funny and on crutches for a year, (he got to get out of class 5 minutes early so he had time to get to class--when I needed crutches, they didn't let me out earlier so I brought the crutches back to the fire station).

Pam was one of the sweetest people one could ever know and so was Diane.

I adored Mike, he was going to be a priest and pray for me every day. He was one of the greatest losses to me. He had a loving, giving spirit --he must have been born an old soul.

Larry and his wife bought the Chevy and drove it to CA.

And when I am very still, I can still see Adeline laughing so hard as she walked to her locker one morning after getting off the bus. I asked her why, and she said, "There is this funny looking dog downstairs that goes rur, rur, rur" The funny looking dog turned out to be McGregor, our Scotch terrier who had traveled a least a mile including over the 1st street bridge.

And maybe, just maybe the law of I know someone that knows some one that knew Jerry and Allen well.

The twenty three students formerly of the class of 1962 died too young. Yet, we have to hope their lives where rich and full according to their standards and not ours. Because we can't all be everything to everyone.

Everyone is someone and worth the price of a memory.