Monday, September 23, 2013

Is there a Genie in the brass lamp?

Autumn  2013

A few summers ago, a few class mates sat around the table.  We talked about all the stuff we had that belonged to parents, grandparents, and probably even farther back.  The problem is if you have one set of parents, two sets of grandparents, and heaven help us all, if we have grandparents and aunts and uncles we don't even know about--or at least don't know they have STUFF!

If you are clueless about that I am talking about, then, you don't have three sets of glasses and four sets of silver plate the next generation doesn't seem to want.  They don't want to hand wash fine china that you MAY NOT put in the microwave.  They don't want to wash silver plate which is not dish machine safe. 

They don't want to know the story about Uncle Harry taking a bite out of the stemmed glass ware or Uncle Otto doing the same with a salad plate.  They don't care if Father promised Mother before the family gathered for dinner that IF a piece did get broken, it would be replaced.  The beauty of it all is all of it was open stock; it was an era when one could buy by the piece or eaches.

None of the items I am talking about are that old, sixty plus, I suppose.

Yet, interestingly enough a piece from the pass did get passed along recently.  It was a thirteen pound brass lamp from the mid sixties.  We had taken it from Mother's house in 2002 when she died but thought it much to tall for our needs.  It needed a corner table with seating on both sides.  I should be a duel use lamp.  (After all that is what it had always been--duel lighting between two sofas, or davenports as mother called them).

Now you can say what ever you want about Facebook or other social media as well as phones with cameras or IPADS with cameras but somehow it communicates more or less that one would like or in some cases not want.  Yet when a family member posted a picture taken with her phone of her new sofas, I needed to take a picture with my IPAD to send to her EMAIL account so she could look at the lamp and decide if she wanted it.  But I had to snail mail a picture of her at 45 weeks with her Dad sitting on the sofa with the lamp in the back ground so she could see the original shade.

And so the 100 dollars set aside for birthday became:

$53.02 for wrap, ship, and insurance
 47.00  for lamp shade

That works out!  She is forty-seven this birthday!
Two cents is NOT over budget. 

The question remains, is there a Genie in the lamp?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


There is no group of cabins listed in the 1938 Thief River Falls city directory called the RED TOP CABINS.  It isn't that cabins by some other name didn't exist.  Old Trunks needs to do more research to find the name; we can guess they had red roofs, don't you suppose?

It is hard to understand why cabins were peppered about the block of Ten Hundred Main Avenue North.  Not only are the Red Top Cabins listed in the 1940-41 directory but they were owned by Randall and Verna Noper.  And there was a 'filling station' on the east corner of Main and Tenth with rooms upstairs.  We know that because Frank Mousley writes to Dayton Silk who pumped gas and lived above the station. 

We know from the 1940 census map that cabins existed on the east side between Austad's and Wilson's on the corner.  Beverly Austad Ranum talked about horses being stabled near the alley.  There were also cabins behind the corner of Eleventh and Main.  What purpose did they served?  Who lived in them?  How big where they.  What and how many transients were there in Thief River Falls and what did they do?  Where they seasonal labor? 

Frank stated that Gus H. lived in one of the cabins on the west side of the street.  Gus H. stated it was for a short time before they moved to the farm.  I am thinking his sister would be too young to remember. 

Old Trunks needs to look through the old census and see if she can find how old those cabins were.  There is some evidence Noper even had a place for people to park their travel trailers. 

Putting on my walking shoes looking for answers.


Friday, April 12, 2013


 One of the better historians from Main Avenue North, is a person named Wayne.  He found Old Trunks and Worn Shoes when plugging in people from his own history manifest.  From what he read here and there, his mother, named Alice and my Dad, Stanley, went to school together.  Most likely it was at Rosebank because that school was on the side of the ridge those children would attend.  Perhaps I should remind readers that Rosebank was built by Gust and Olaf Opseth, my grand uncles, who had a block factory in or around Rosewood, (the community).

And the reason Wayne even communicated, (perhaps) was because he was playing on the Ferris Wheel we had in our back yard on Main Avenue and got hurt and when home bleeding.  Wayne states they lived at 1020 North Knight which was a block west.  Old Trunks doesn't remember the Ferris Wheel there but later, my brother would tie me off in the top bucket and go play on Oakland Park Road and I would scream until someone untied the rope.

The Mystery of the Ten Hundred Block continued as he verified what Frank had already told us.  We knew that Emmet Mousley had a sign company in the middle of the block.  Frank lived there with his family until they moved to the east side and resided on St. Paul Ave.

Now Wayne is older, graduating in 1954 verses my graduation year of 1966, so one has to give him a lot of credit for what he remembers.  It is almost gospel because of his age.  And the man has incredible memory skills.

Now I don't have to like that he wrote that in those days, there was no city water or sewer in the area.  All the folks who lived north of 10th street had out houses.  Household refuse was carried to the slop pile and dumper along the side of the out house.  There was no garbage pick up in those days.  Spring time was when people either hired someone to haul the refuse to the dump or take it themselves.  He went on to write the sign company placed his cans of paint and old neon lights in the alley. 

It seemed the best thing to do is write to the city of Thief River Falls and have them review the original plats around the ten hundred block of North Main.  And this was the answer.

"The original plats adjacent to the ten hundred block of North Main are Fairgrounds Addition to the west (platted in 1913 as part of Pennington County) and Fairfield Addition to the east (platted in 1903 as part of Red Lake County). Sanitary sewer was installed in 1947 and 1954 to serve this area. I found a MnDot highway plan from 1948 when the highway was constructed just south of the 1000 block that shows a 4” cast iron pipe water main as existing at that time, probably installed with the sewer in 1947. Our records are not very good for this old of infrastructure.    Mark Borseth"
Wayne was right and probably knew more than the man who answered the email!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Down there on Main Avenue

It isn't that I haven't thought about blogging.  Old Trunks has had some remarkable notes from people looking for their relatives or knowing mine.  One of the wild rides happened because of the 50th class reunion. 

The class of 1962 met in Thief River Falls last June to visit and make discovery on how folks were doing.  Around fifty class mates came along with some spouses and signifcients and with 27 deceased classmates, that only left 100 unaccounted for. 

And one of the people I adore  most is a tall drink of water named Frank.  Now Frank's dad was a sign maker and had a shop and an apartment on Main Avenue North.  In about 1947 or so, we moved to a house half new and half remodeled according to what is remembered.  So that made Frank and I neighbors...sort of, most likely, neither Frank nor myself were allowed to cross highway 32 by ourselves. 

We left in about 1949 and Frank and family stayed on until after he started grade school at St. Benhard's.  So he knew more and between the two of us, we did an amazing paste together.  And what should happen was others would be involved in the process of discovery, as well.  And that is what geneology is all about, it is about people sharing and maybe it isn't always gospel, but it is, nevertheless, a truth to someone. 

The plan is to take the information from Frank, Dayton, Wayne, and Bev and believe one can make it color and read like a rainbow.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, February 10, 2012

SHIRLEY MAE, surely may be an angel.

It has been months since I have written. But now, it is time to savor the the friendship of one that died. Let's reflect on her funeral.

Her name was Fanny Cosby; she was one of many who wrote songs of praise at the turn of the century. To many of us, those became hoe down songs at family gatherings when everyone sang while Bob played guitar and/or Dorothy played the piano. Simple times and precious memories. Harmony, the purest kind.
Today, the pianist played all those old songs before the funeral. The words were in the Seven Day Adventist Hymnal just like they must have been in the Mission Covenant hand book. If one didn’t know these songs and were around the Anderson family, you soon would! All the verses. All. Just remembered the music being kicked up a notch.
Shirley was dressed in a maroon top. Her nails were beautifully painted. Last time I saw her in the real, she had long hair, it had been cut and curled and was so cute on her almost impish face. The family who knew her and saw her daily were very pleased at how nice she looked. Her casket was light blue and the cascade of flowers were colorful and mixed. Her friend, Linda remembered Shirley wanting to be buried in a purple shirt and a straw hat with flower. Knowing the inner secret, Tom wore a purple tie.

There were folded notes in the casket with her. I was hopeful someone would share what they said. Many times, the letters are read out loud. What was in the letters where truly personal between Shirley and the writer. Perhaps they were shared the night before at the prayer service.

Dr. Bray read the history, which was the obituary. He talked about the pain he had inflicted on Shirley. He had done her surgeries. He didn’t quite make it to the humor line OR is typical in Northern Minnesota, too stoic or it was an inside joke. They had known each other since 1968. I wanted to turn around and look for his wife, Lois. She had taken Shirley to Fargo a few times and is a grand lady. We would step into the gym near the church later to say hello.
Before the service, the minister, a mid-fifties man with half glasses on the tip of his nose, read a poem Shirley had written in 1981. It was to do with attitude. He could have stopped right there; she had made her point. Maybe there is something to be said about writing one's own good bye. Maybe there is something about having the last word. Oops, that isn't what funerals are. Maybe they should be.

The sermon was based on John 11:1-45. The question to all of us was: Are you in a difficult trial? Do you feel like God is delaying much too long to answer your need? Do you trust God even in the delay? Remember the story of Lazarus. Your situation could not be any worse than his! Trust that God must have a purpose for your trial, and that he will bring glory to himself through it. I wondered if there would be an altar call, there was not.

After singing In the Garden followed by prayer, the casket, followed by family was dismissed. Keith and the pall bearers walked behind to the hearse the ‘helped’. Most certainly her grand children will not forget ‘helping’. Bridget seemed enveloped in her long, black velvet-like dress standing next to the hearse. Actually, amidst all those people all I remember seeing her sad eyes. What a precious child she is, as are the rest of Shirley’s grand children. Brenda said that she and her dad stayed up very late last night talking. He stated how lucky he was to have his kids and grand kids so close. They truly are a family with strong, loving ties to one another.

Shirley had a lot of friends from her life walk. Everyone I spoke to only had great things to say about her. We watched the supporters mingle around the family, truly, this is a community to be envied.

Loving thoughts to all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Love the lady with all my heart
Love that lady with all my heart
Love the next one with all my heart.


Old Trunks flew high enough when I talked with Soozi.

Even higher when Mary Ann called.

And up there with the Blue Angels when Barb came to town.


How hard her friend laughed when we told her about beating up on a guy who broke into Barb's house and cooked steak. Armed with leather quirts, used to convince horses to move, we beat the crap out of him in the movie theater. And we laughed.

And Barb told me about her grand daughter and how the stud horse and her had a relationship that neither of us never had. We shivered at the magnificent friendship.

And then Barb hit the road in her red short bed truck and I left in my yellow short bed truck.

Friendship. Phone calls or visits, all time disappears between visits.

Never out of step.

Thanks, Soozi, MaryAnn, and Barb.


Friday, July 15, 2011


Old Trunks thinks people take drugs to think up ideas to allow people to judge themselves. Honest.

Does it really matter what state your sock drawer is in? The article states that the most orderly people have the messiest sock drawers. How about yours? What is the state of the affair of the drawer?

Since I can't really tell the different between dark navy and black anymore nor can MST, we have a system; black to the back whether it be slacks OR socks. It works.

For now, I think I will go stir up the sock drawer and call myself organized!