Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Answer me this: Did you grandparents or parents have a pen pal they never met in person? Did you, as a child, have a pen pal? Old Trunks tried it once, the kid on the other end wanted American cigarettes. Tell me, how was I suppose to be assured that smoke would get across the ocean and still be 'fresh'? I suppose he expected a carton; I was thinking single smoke. When mother found the letter she was furious! Obviously there was nothing secret in our household.

Today, I would like to honor Harriet. I met her on line because I knew Frank. I got into the group because of the two of them, both Polish and amazingly friendly people.

Frank was in air traffic control somewhere in Oklahoma. His wife Betty had died and after a time, he was connecting with people on AOL. Frank remarried a local. Frank died.

But Hare lives on in Michigan and writes the very best emails. When I met her, she had a dog named Tuffy, a little Yorkie and was, and still is a widow. She has lots of color when she writes and you can just feel the expressions as she writes. It the mid 90's she was in pretty good health and played darts, danced, and oh dear, I better not say what else! :)

I have not met her in person although I have talked with her on the phone.

One year, we were all excited because she had her September 30 birthday on a blue moon--which only happens....once in a blue moon!

She is a caring, loving lady with children and grand children near her. Her beau moved into an apartment, therefore, Harriet now has his dog. Penny likes to sleep under the covers and gets up late in the day. If the dog doesn't sleep with her, the dog whizzes on the floor, (but never in the bed).

Harriet is one of those people everyone should know. If not her, then someone with a spirit like hers.

Happy Birthday to you, dear friend.


Monday, September 29, 2008


UNTIL THEY BECOME REALITY.................................

The discussion happened on a turned-out-to-be-a-nice-day-on-the-lake and inquiry from Shirley about a past blog based on rationing.

Old Trunks shutters when she thinks way it must be like raising children in today's economy. I suppose times are as lean now as they have been in the past.

The third party in the boat had a digital camera she had won. The first time we were out, her memory stick was full; the second time the batteries were dead. She stated she got black edges. Obviously the camera is faulty but she wouldn't spend 'that kind of money' on a camera. I giggled somewhere where she couldn't see because she was wearing a pair of sunglasses more costly than a point and shoot digital with a good lens. There's is a two income family well beyond most of middle America. But struggles happen on that level also. And dreams don't have a price until they become reality. Would this family, like the lady across the street who's husband died, be encouraged by an advisor to sell the expensive house? How lean can we be?

Shirley emailed how the people in the southeast couldn't get gasoline for vehicles, they were talking about rationing in Georgia, for example. It is a scary thought. When I answered the email, I was not clear when I talked about rationing. In my mind, I was agreeing that if rationing happened, as it did in WWII, I would understand the need to save product for the war in Europe cause. It read as if rationing was happening here, in the Midwest NOW, which is not so. Rationing in WWII, was mandatory. Although from conversions over head as a child, most people would do what they could to make it work including the planting of victory gardens. Shirley requested the Old Trunks and Worn Shoes blog about rationing, ( Link: http://oldtrunksandwornshoes.blogspot.com/2008/04/three-cans-of-peas-please.html ).

When she wrote back, after reading Three Cans of Peas Please, she told me this story:

Mom used to tell of when they'd go to visit Alice and Carl..she had canned blueberry sauce and offered some. Ralph was a kid and made a horrible face because it was so sour. Alice brought out the sugar so he could add some..the adults were really watching Ralph so he wouldn't use too much. Alice told them to let him have what he wanted cause she had more. Mom said with as bare as her cupboards were, everyone knew there was no more. But, Ralph had sweet sauce.

Can Americans be fugal again? Could you be Alice giving her brother sugar?

Think about it.


Sunday, September 28, 2008


Think about the kitchen in your childhood. Look around in the image. Do you see a fat can on the back of the stove or on the counter somewhere? Why do you think it was there? Was it a left over from the war years?

Let's look at fat rationing during the war. The War Production Board urged citizens to save the fat that came from cooking so that it could be used for making explosives. Housewives were reminded that glycerin, made from waste fats and greases, was one of the most critical materials needed for the war effort. Three pounds of fat could provide enough glycerin to make a pound of gunpowder. Nearly 350 pounds of fat was needed to fire one shell from a 12-inch Naval gun.
Until Pearl Harbor approximately 60 percent of the glycerin used in the United States had been obtained from fats and oils imported from the Pacific areas, most of which were under the control of the Japanese during the war.
In June 1943, Boy and Girl Scouts began a campaign to collect grease and fat from their neighborhoods. Hundreds of tin cans were cleaned and steamed for distribution among members of each group. Each can was identified with a sticker bearing the householder’s name and address as well as a phone number to call for the can to be collected when it was full. According to the plan, each child leaving the can would collect it when it was full and take it to a local butcher, who would pay them four cents a pound for it. Proceeds from the grease sale were given to the troop treasury for the benefit of the troop.

The question is, do you recycle?


Saturday, September 27, 2008


Old Trunks is honored to have this person in her life. He went from Seasame Street to Master's of the Universe to college in what seems like a blink of an eye.
It is hard for us to know where the time goes when we are raising children. Ryen is the last born, I was priviledged to watch him and learn from him.
After college he went to New York, then Ohio. The latest move is to California. If you wonder how a kid from Kansas can go from the big city of New York to the big city of San Francisco, you just have to know he has the gut to do it, live well, and rely on his own ATM to make his own dreams.
He proably doesn't wear a hat sideways anymore but I bet he still gets that "What is going on over there" look in his eyes.
Ryen Bentley Anderson I salute you on your birthday and admire you everyday.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Old Trunks wonders if a fender skirt had any purpose except for looks. She wonders where the mud would have gone if the skirts were not there. Did you ever take one of them off? Did you know they came off? There was a metal lever.....................

SUV units have the tire showing on the outside, they are called kits? The kits of the 1950's and 60's were for looks AND to have more trunk room. My mother designed a car in 1960. It was a Thunderbird with a kit. She had it manufactured in brown with white leather seats. She would not listen when we said that brown was not a 'cool' color for a T Bird. It was always questioned if she wanted the car to match the house.

Endangered only in the concept of riding on them from the mail box to the house. Some men won't have a running board or a step up on their truck because it looks "gay". What if you have a short wife? Does your truck have running boards?

Some say this term is endangered. One has to live in the north to even know the term. Let me explain it to those of you who have dinner.

In the north, especially in farming communities and certainly in our household as a child, it was

DINNER (the big meal of the day)
SUPPER (the lighter of the two meals)

In Kansas, there was no supper. That doesn't mean people didn't eat, it was terms were different. One thing that happened was the families had two incomes. The wife wasn't home to cook the noon meal nor was the husband home to eat it. Children didn't go home to eat at noon; they ate in school. It was called the hot lunch program.

DINNER (Big meal of the day).

Even more endangered is at this house hold, we have our big meal in the evening and we call it supper. I have been retrained to think northernly. It is also possible that with people working, there is no dinner, either. Meaning of course, that families don't sit down together and have a big meal. What sort of term would we use to define a meal now?

Perhaps I am totally confused and when I said on Facebook, cooking chicken and dumplings for supper, (a big meal), I should have said....cooking for dinner.

It is not that brassieres are endangered, rather the word brassiere is endangered....well maybe bras are endangered. I used to hate when mother said you need to go see Olga and be fitted for brassieres. The word made me cringe. It was to my grandmother, an unmentionable word. Actually, she called all underwear unmentionables, even the girdle she wore and washed every night and hung to dry in everyone's way.

Actually, that is better than bun in the oven. When grandma said someone was in a family way, it meant they were expecting. As a small child, I wondered what they were expecting. When my mother said pregnant, it came out with such force the baby could have been born!

This term was endangered in my part of the country by the time I started to go to the movies. I said, "Goin' ta catch a flick'. It would make mother groan.

A percolator was a type of coffee maker that had some sort of heating element in the bottom. It had a basket and a cylinder like stem in which the water in the bottom went up through the stem and over the grounds. It could be a unit which was used on a stove or it could be an electric percolator. The electric ones took 19 minutes. Perhaps the stove kind was a little faster but if you had the heat too high, it boiled over. Mr. Coffee introduced a faster method and now we call them 'coffee makers'. At this two story house, I get out of bed, stomp on the floor twice and Tom, who rises first, starts the coffee machine.

Meant, in the 1950's, carpeting which was put in wall to wall and tacked down with strips of wood with nail-like brads. Now? Wall to Wall is back to hard wood floors which in the 50's were covered up with wall to wall carpet. Go figure.

Stop! Let me explain. I don't mean condoms. I mean an item men wore which covered only a portion of their shoes. It kept their shoes dry and provided traction on ice. Dress shoes had slick bottoms. Daddy would sit down, put the toe of his shoe in the rubber and pull them to the heel and snap them on. Rubbers are still available today but if you tried to put them over the non slip soles of the modern dress shoe, you would need a bread sack over your shoe to get them on!


This must have been popular in about 1958 because it is written several times in my year book. No one else wrote it but I did. Most likely it was a term my brother used regarding others who tattled. He probably called me that for times when.......I would rat fink on him for whizzing out the bedroom window at the farm.

Do you remember?


Thursday, September 25, 2008


This 1910 photograph must have been taken before the end of December
This is the moose photographed in Moorhead on 22 Sep 2008
Here is a picture of an old cow and her twins.

Old Trunks is prompted to talk about moose today. Why? Two different moose have been sited in the Fargo area. One on the south side, that decided to simple take a nap and another yesterday in Moorhead. Yesterday's moose was a big male with a beautiful rack. They are so magnificent. I told Shirley my wish for Christmas was to see one up close!

October is the height of the "rutting" season, when moose breed, and the animals can be quite unpredictable, territorial, and aggressive during this time. Perhaps the DNR have this considered when this bull came nearly into town.

Bull moose shed their antlers every year. And every year they grow a new set. Why is this, when bison and other horned ruminants don't grow horns every year?

The reason is that antlers are not like ruminant horns. Antlers are made of true bone, without a central core and a horny sheath, so antlers frequently break.

But what about those antlers that are replaced every year? Well, the antlers are used largely in displays and as weapons when the males fight for females, and breakages are common during the rut. A moose is provided a way to start each breeding season with a nice new set of undamaged antlers — by simply letting the moose grow new ones!

In every animal population, strategies have developed to help ensure the strongest individuals get the greatest opportunity to mate. While antler size has no bearing on the age of the individual, it IS a great indicator of the health of the animal. Antlers are renewed each year meaning the stags need to find a large source of calcium to supply the antler growth. With a diet of green vegetation, one might wonder where this secret source of calcium originates. The simple answer - from their own bones (primarily their rib cage). Since only the healthiest males will be able to afford such a large diversion of resources, an impressive set of antlers is also an impressive pedigree for parenthood.

Moose lose their antlers in late December. The rodents of the forests flock to the discarded antlers for the high calcium content.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We all know that newspapers were passed from one household to another at Rosewood in the early days. We know the papers from the old country were very popular. It didn't matter if the news was old, just the idea of having something to read was welcomed.

People in Thief River Falls double parked in front of the Times office to get a newspaper. At the time I was growing up, it was published twice weekly. In the few hundred hours I sat at the microfiche machine at the Moorhead Public Library, most of those deades were once a week. During the Lindbergh murders, it was a twice-weekly paper. The Times now offers the newspaper on Tuesday afternoon on line and the Northern Watch on Fridays. We all know that if we want to read the entire paper on line we must pay a yearly fee.

The Fargo Forum is like that too but only for archived articles. For less than five dollars a month you can browse numerous old articles from the comfort of your easy chair. Some of us scan several papers each morning. Recently a picture of a resting moose in south Fargo was emailed to New York state.

The Forum has new and improved weather page. The paper announced it would discontinue comics with color and use the color on the weather page. My sweet Thomas is a hard copy newspaper reader. When he laid the hard copy weather page on the desk and gave me a tour, of course I was interested.

He questions 'new and improved'. Although there is a fine color coded nearly half page map, he wonders how many folks are going to look at the color coding to find out temperatures. He wonders, too, why they are using a leaf with droplets on it for rain instead of the familiar cloud with rain descending.

He thought if they were going to spend that much space on weather, perhaps they needed to consider having the forecasts match up. In Sunday's paper, two forecasts were lined up together, both of them were different. Since he is the weatherperson of the house, I suggested that if the wind blew from northeast, use this column, if it blew from the southwest, use this column. The answer was not acceptable.

At the end of the discussion we had a plan. There should be isobars to actually show us where the system affecting us was coming from. Since we figured the page was addressed to an older generation, the information should be bigger and bold and the color coding should be phased out. The meteorologist responsible for the page should blog each day to teach us something. It should have icons for filtered sun; we should know why it was hazy.

And like most older Americans who are big on weather, we should write a letter to the editor of the newspaper!

Whether you watch the weather or not, we are all affected by it. Personally, I use the Norwegian rock theory: If the rock is wet, it is raining, if it is white, it is snowing. But then, the position of weatherperson in the house is already filled, isn't it?

The rock is wet in Fargo,


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone
in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water..

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall
off the roof. Hence the saying... It's raining cats and dogs. We also know that when Sari Ranum took her accordian down from the rafters, a snake slithered out!

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy
beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, Dirt poor. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added
more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying, a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could...bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit
around and...chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom, of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or...the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they
would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be...saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer.

The information for this blog was provided by Richard Anderson, a former high school class mate. Thanks, Richard!

Monday, September 22, 2008


A friend in Wisconsin is always saying she wrote a great e-mail and then.....lost it. Well, in writing a post on grapefruit last night, the same thing happened to me. Let's see if I can do a clever re-write, I will dedicate it to Karen.

Old Trunks wishes to ask you, how did you eat your grapefruit? Did your mother loosen the sections with a paring knife, sugar it, and put a cherry on the top. Did the sugar turn red from the cheery cherry being too juicy?

What is the difference between pink and white grapefruit and why is pink more pleasing on a blink winter school day?

Old Trunks asked herself all these questions last night as she said on the leather sofa with a non loosen sectioned pink grapefruit with sugar. When finished, she asked for a tissue to clean the juice off the arm of the couch, her glasses, and her fingers. That is when she remembered why mother fixed the grapefruit for the family; Daddy didn't like the juice on his glasses which he cleaned with his handkerchief in the morning while making himself ready for the day.

Odd, isn't it, that a great friendship got started because a man from Arkansas peeled his grapefruit. He was a chronic lung person and was in the hospital with his ailment. I would bring him a grapefruit every day with a smile face on it. The doctor asked him why he had grapefruit lined up on his window sill, after all, it was offered on the menu. He told her he didn't like them cut. She wrote an order for him to have a whole grapefruit each day he was there. Between the kitchen and myself bringing/giving, he was his own personal citrus grove.

Speaking of groves, in 1955 our family went to Florida in the winter for a holiday. Among other places we visited was Sarasota. We stayed at a place called the Pink Cloud Motel. These folks owned a citrus grove. The owner, a lady from Brazil, took my brother and I to the orchard to pick fruit for the clients of the motel. We picked grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines. My favorite was tangerines because they were easy to peel. Until, of course, I learned the secret from my friend. You just have to roll it on the table like you do an orange to peel it. Actually, it is sweet enough to eat in sections just like an orange.

Anyway, last night, I finished the blog and highlighted it to spell check it and whoosh it was gone. It had been a long day and I only thought about Karen. I emailed her to tell her what happened, signing off with I was going to hit the sack, which is what my Dad always said when he was going to bed. We got into the sack and I told Tom that Daddy always said that or "sack up the bats".

I told Tom I never could figure out what "sack up the bats" meant, thinking of course, of the critters which fly in the night. Tom only answered with "well, who did it?" It wasn't until that moment that I realized it was a baseball term and sacking the bats meant that the game, (day in Daddy's case), was over and it was time to put the bats in the bag. Now that I have that 60 year old question solved I can move on to something else.

My children will enjoy remembering a phase of candied grapefruit rinds. They will remember I tried to encourage them to eat them. They will remember they did not.

Meanwhile, it is time to get the bats out of the bag.

Play ball! Eat Grapefruit. AND CHECK YOUR DRAFT DOCUMENTS.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


Without naming names, of which there are two, I will say two high school girls stood on the steps of a northern Minnesota high school each day to watch for a long white Chevy drive by with two brothers.
One would scream "BLACK" and the other would scream "BLUE"! As you can see, this Chevy is neither.
It is unknown to Old Trunks if the stripe was blue or black, she only remembers two girls screaming.
Knock, knock, do you remember?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I suspect I was really excited about taking Driver's Education, weren't you? There was no class room studies for us, only actual driving. Was it two weeks or four? How many kids were in the car? Do you remember? Do you remember your instructor? I had Mr. Adams.

What kind of car did you drive? We had a Chevrolet with a stick and a blue Ford with an automatic. Mr. Edlund was involved, I don't remember how.

We were to drive around town and a little way on the highway going toward Goodridge. Neither of the cars were marked STUDENT DRIVER like they are in Fargo now. I would think the cars were leased from Tunberg's and Northern Chevorlet.

Out of the blue, we were supposed to just know to stop for walkers even if they jaywalked. We were all supposed to see the imaginary center of the intersection at the light at Main and Third Street. We were supposed to know that going into the light on yellow was considered an accident just as well as if we bumped a flag while parallel parking. My children learned all that in the class room.

My previous driving experience was limited. My country friend and I took her cousin's Oldsmobile out on a back road when her parent's weren't home, (and you know they knew we had because we didn't park it in the same spot). I also tried to drive the Daddy's truck but I didn't understand the stick shift. Oh, and a few rounds on the tractor.

You can see that I was a good candidate for driving with someone else. And what I remember most was the day of the white Chevy with the stick and Mr. Adams, who had controls on the passenger side. We were driving on Second Street going west. Over by where the nuns lived. Are you with me? Mr. Adams told me to go in the alley behind the dormitory. There was a huge lilac bush covered with blossoms. I turned too short and Mr. Adams, although he was stomping on the floor, failed to stop the car before it came to rest in the bushes. Do you know that hitting a bush is considered an accident?
Granted, the pictures offered are not the standard 1960 Ford and Chevy BUT aren't they fun memories?

Friday, September 19, 2008


Perhaps there is a reason your husband drives the 40 miles over gravel roads. Maybe you don't like to drive or no longer can. In our household, some said he got car sick until he started to drive. It rare when we are in a vehicle together that I am behind the wheel. It is easier than having an instructor and I don't mean Mr. Adams, in the passenger seat.

I suppose that all of us who have driven for years have our own quirks. Maybe to your in car partner you wait too long at a stop sign or maybe you appear to be closer than you really are. The truck as 56,000 miles on it now, 95% of those miles are highway driving. We have not come close to having an accident; Tom is really focused behind the wheel. I didn't get really spooked until he said he was seeing double. That is when I told him to shut one eye. He has had four lens changes in the last few months; next is cataract surgery, but that is another story.

When I got my license in high school, I got a car. Daddy knew the only driving we did was in town. He took me out on the highway on the way to Warren to get some experience, although I was not supposed to take the Chevy out of town. Mother was along, SHE LAID DOWN IN THE BACK SEAT!!!

I remembered that when my daughter was learning to drive a shift. We called the car Burger Time. We went out on a gravel road and her frustration and my frustration equaled Mother gets out of car and lets her experiment with finding the place in the clutch to shift. (Meanwhile I walked the road and although I had never been afraid of dogs, was a little jittery of the two Doberman's growling and following me).

I don't know what happened the first time Ryen drove the Geo. We found ourselves over the curb and in a yard. Something about clutch + new driver.

On April Fool's Day a few years ago, Tom had a heart attack. It was also a time of a big snow storm. He went to the hospital by ambulance. As all of us know, people are not hospitalized long. It was still snowing when we went home. I DROVE. I got lessons as to which lane to be in.

So, who gets to drive?


Thursday, September 18, 2008


There is a comic strip about a retired couple, their daughter, and her son. They all appear to live in the same household. Today, the grandfather was telling his grand son that when he rode with his grand father, he always asked how far the destination was.

I would wonder if Grandpa Ranum's older brothers asked how far it was from Fillmore County, MN to the north, destination, unknown. Did the children ask where are we going? How far is it? When they got as far as Minneapolis and one horse died and they couldn't buy another for less than $600, and sold the living one for that amount, did the children wonder? Or were children, even then, protected from concerns.

Did Daddy actually walk two miles to and from school each day or did it seem like a perfect amount to make his children's eyes grow big? I knew how far two miles was, it was from the farm to the railroad tracks; another mile to the school. Yet the idea of walking down the highway was forbidden for me.

We lived in the 900 block of Arnold Avenue. The Washington grade school was in the 2oo block of South Knight. As a third grader, I walked that to school each day.

Yet, put me in a car to drive anywhere out of town and four things happened:

1. I asked what time it was
2. I asked how much longer
3. I always had to go to the bathroom
4. I slide off and on the hump in the back seat and blocked the mirror.

It was only twenty eight miles to Warren. It was a long ride with only a few guide posts. Plummer was seventeen from Thief River Falls. We could go to Minneapolis--I could fall asleep in Anoka and sleep only until Plummer. The ride is shorter when you are the driver!

And there are guide posts:

There was a farmer who had ponies, he was too far from Warren or Thief River to have a telephone. That still is the half way point.

There is Carpenter's Corner.

There is the place I corralled the ponies, which is right across from Shorty's where the car races happened on Sunday afternoons.

There is the turn to go to Rosewood

There is the Sande Farm

The Rockin' R

When my kids were little, there was a clock which ran in the car, the kids could see it. When they asked how long it would be on the way home from Kansas City, they always seemed to ask about the same time. I would tell them and when the clock said a certain time, we would be pulling in the drive way. It is still unknown if they knew that I knew from a certain place in the road, it was X many minutes to home.

My children weren't strapped in, they were all hump standers. And much as Jaeme disliked her car seat, her parents did not give in and let her out. I am proud of them for that.

Now every weekend from Mother's Day weekend until after Labor Day, we are out of Fargo by 5:50 PM on Friday, and recently Thursday for a two hour and 40 minute drive to the lake. The first summer I had a map so I knew what was coming next.

I named the half way point "Green Acres", it is just before the orange mail box which says, Dales Sales. The place where people go tubing on the Ottertail River is exactly one hour from the driveway and you can be certain I look at the clock. Before we get to Park Rapids, I look for the buffalo herd. We should be passing the bank clock at 7:35 and the Walker bank at 8:05. Huddles Resort is ten minutes from the trailer. We take a short cut around Walker now, found with the GPS a few summers ago.

Fargo, Moorhead, Dilworth, Glyndon, Hawley--time to eat Detroit Lakes--finish supper, Snelling, Lake Park, Audubon, Osage, Park Rapids, Nevis, Akeley, Walker or part of it, at least.

What does change is the farm land as it begins the quick summer cycle from plant to plow down. The flowers in the ditch. The farm surrounded by lilac bushes leaf out, bloom, and remain a beautiful green border.

And the questions were:

1. I asked what time it was No, we have a clock
2. I asked how much longer No, I have my 'way points'
3. I always had to go to the bathroom scheduled
4. I slide off and on the hump in the back seat and blocked the mirror. I get to sit in the front seat!

What did you do on a ride to somewhere?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Shirley and I were talking on email about potatoes recently. We talked about a man who grew up in Sabin, MN and now had 100,000 acres in potatoes in several states. He sells his potatoes for French fries. That means he has big potatoes!

Old Trunks remembered reading something about when a group of farmers got together to talk about growing spuds back in 1908. The Rosewood News announced an emergency meeting of the potato growers in 1920; was it blight?

In 1924 Rosebank had an eight month school year with one week off for potato picking in the fall. Obviously, it was all done by hand with child labor.

Let's look at the history of the potato: After being introduced to Europe from South America, the potato continued its journey, carried by European settlers to North American colonies.

In 1613, the British sent potatoes as supplies to colonists in Bermuda. Nine years later, the Governor of Bermuda sent a shipment of potatoes to his counterpart in Virginia and potatoes completed their round-trip journey from the New World (South America) to the Old World (Europe) and back (North America).

With a huge influx of Scots-Irish settlers to Londonderry, New Hampshire, in 1719, the popularity of the potato soared in the colonies. The Irish had already established the potato as a staple crop in their homeland and found that it grew well in their new settlements. The success of these early potato crops prompted other colonists to cultivate potatoes. The spread of potatoes through the American colonies was swift.

By 1720, the tide of potatoes had reached Connecticut. Fifteen years later potatoes were introduced to Rhode Island and by 1745 had become so popular in the colony that they were able to export potatoes for profit.

Even with its quick spread, Americans didn't appreciate potatoes as a delicacy as the Spanish had done. However, with Thomas Jefferson's support in 1789, the potato was better accepted. As the American Minister to France, Jefferson had gained an appreciation for French cooking and, in particular, their potato dishes. Jefferson can be given credit for introducing pomme-frites--the French word for french fries--to American cuisine.

Later, as President, he had potatoes served in various forms at White House dinners. Through this support, the potato gained popularity in North America as a fine food and a popular crop.

Gotta love that spud!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Thief River Falls Football in 1908.

Old Trunks lost a bet with a friend from Wisconsin on a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. It cost 47 cents to send him $1.00. Take a minute to look at those uniforms used for professionals. I wonder how much it costs to suit up one player. Any one have any ideas?

It looks like some of the 1908 team were tall but there is no one in the picture that weighs close to 350 pounds as some of the Vikings do now! Is Johnathan Ogden for the Baltimore Ravens the biggest player? He is 6'9 345.
As we know, the sport started in almost 150 years ago. Do you wonder if the rules of the game have changed much since the beginning? We do know that back in 1911, rules were changed because the sport was too brutal. Maybe 100 years later, the guys are dressed and the 'be brutal' has been reincarnated!
Another friend from Wisconsin is a dyed green and yellow Packer's fan. As much as she loves to fish, she insists on being off the water at the beginning of the game. She did not mention her favorite player late this summer when I saw her. Farve was part of her language longer than I have known her.
A good friend, now deceased, was a Denver Bronco fan, he was fascinated with John Elway!
My son Bud cheered for the Dallas Cowboys. His favorite player was quarterback Roger Staubach. Dallas played Pittsburgh in 1978 and lost and Bud was not happy.
Perhaps you do not like football. Everyone seems to follow some sport. NASCAR? Baseball? Basketball? Name it-- as we creep closer to October and the baseball play offs.

Monday, September 15, 2008


George Roberts owned and operated the stage run from Stephen to Roseau during the full tide of movement of the pioneers from the Red River Valley into the valley of the Roseau River. By the time he took over the stage line in 1906 it had already changed from semi-okay to a tri-weekly to a daily service. The stage was operated by Mr. Roberts, from this time until the building of the railroad to Roseau into the day of the stagecoaches end.

There is nothing reminiscent of the old stagecoach days of the West in the run from Stephen to Roseau.

There is no combat with Indians and no attempted robberies. Money for the Roseau Banks was commonly carried as part of the baggage and amounts up to $3000. Although there were plenty of "toughs" in the country in those day, the mail and money both went through without interruption.

Several types of conveyances were used during the period, from a 16 passengers Studebaker wagons to coaches once by the Deadwood line by a Marquis De Mores which were a last use by Mr. Roberts.

Ordinarily four head of horses were used to pull the stage although at times the poor conditions of the trails made it necessary to add an extra team. Teams were changed every 16 miles and a stable of approximately 100 horses which were spotted at intervals along the route, was necessary to operate the line.

When a blizzard interrupted the mail service by train in the area, mention was made of the fact that during the time of the stage line operations, mail service was never interrupted. This furnishes a good commentary on the pioneer spirit of those who carried the mail in the early days. Mail was delivered once daily except Sunday and there were no exceptions for any of the holidays. Whether it matters or not, it is interesting to know that even before the turn of the century, when this country was almost complete wilderness, mail service was more regular than it is today, with all our modern means of transportation and distribution.

The route from Stephen to Roseau was 75 miles long. The stage left Stephen at noon and stopped off at the Halfway House, over night ed then and continued on the next morning to reach Roseau at noon. The actual running time was about 12 hours. The fair was twelve dollars from Stephen to Roseau which included meals and lodging at the Halfway House. From Stephen to Badger the fair was eight dollars. The Half Way House, written in the annuals in early Roseau County history, was built and operated by John Erickson, Charles Oaks, Tom McKibben, Andrew Olsen, and George Roberts.

Charles Pelan, the man who gave his name to the once flourishing town on Two Rivers, was one of the outstanding characters of early days. A "remittance man" from England, his greatest fame lay in the prodigal dispensing of a considerable patrimony in all the saloons from Winnipeg to Crookston. After having taken a spin at merchandising hardware at Hallock, Pelan decided to start a cattle ranch for pleasure and for sport. He purchased a large number of high grade cattle the like of which had not been seen in this new territory, and started off down the road until he came to the Two Rivers ford. This spot pleased him so much that he camped on the spot and began to set up fences and buildings. Pelan tired of cattle ranching as quickly as he did the hardware store but stayed long enough to leave his name permanently upon the map of Minnesota.

Pelan was at one time of very flourishing village with a population of 250. Lofgren's store, a three-story building, did a tremendous amount of trade, and there was a creamery , besides a number of saloons and other business establishments. The death blow was struck by the officials of the Soo Line railway when they decided to route to Winnipeg around the west side of Twin Lakes. Mr. Roberts states that this was done to shorten the distance to Winnipeg and aid them in securing valuable mail contracts.

Sometime before the completion of the railroad lines in the end of the stagecoach era, Mr. Roberts, to meet the growing competition, purchased two stagecoaches of the finest make. One coach he fitted up with a steam turbine engine. These coaches have an interesting history. They were as earlier stated originally purchased for Marquis De Mores at a cost of around $1500 apiece and were used on the line he established through Dakota territory to Deadwood, South Dakota.

The Deadwood lines subsequently made history and have been the subject of a movie. Sixteen of these coaches were used on the Deadwood line and it is probable that the two purchased by Mr. Roberts were those which first broke the trail to Deadwood as they bore the name Katie and Medora, the maiden and nickname of Marquis De More's wife. Mr. Roberts relates that even over the rough trails of the early days, the steam engine had an advantage, as it could travel 10 miles an hour were the horses could only make six. When this team coach was used to was coupled with another coach.

In spite of the increased advantages of speed as the mission was not very successful. It made only one complete trip from Stephen to Roseau and three trips from Stephen to Pelan. This was then replaced by a gasoline propelled car, a more efficient piece of machinery.

When the stage business came to an end, coaches were donated to be displayed at a museum.

But just where was or is Pelan? What type of country did these coaches run through? Twin Lakes can be seen south of State Highway 11. Pelan is an abandon townsite now, So let's look at Kittson County and see if can figure out where is was in comparison to Karlstad, Stephen, and Roseau. If we look at Karlstad, we know that Pelan, was a village to the east, we also learn that Pelan's moved its buildings to Karlstad. This gives us a feel for the route which may have followed. It is known the body of water at Pelan was good fishing.

Imagine... the cradle like ride.. the sound of the horses trotting... the romance!!!


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Grandmother's pocket book held face powder in a paper box with a puff to put it on. It had a handkerchief, the 'dress up kind', and a small amount of change in a little coin purse with a see through window. She never had a lot of cash in her purse, nor did she have keys to the house or the car. Two reasons: She didn't drive nor did they ever lock their house. In the summer months she carried a white purse, in the winter; a black one. My favorite picture of her is of she, my Grandfather, and myself standing on a dock at a lake. She was holding her white pocket book to match her white summer sandals. She is 64 in the picture.

Mother's purse was more 'loaded', although I was never allowed to rummage through it, I liked to peek. Mother's purse had tissue instead of a hanker chief. She had something called a bill fold, not so much for money but for the checks she wrote for groceries, clothing, and 'other'. She always had red lipstick, (yes, Soozi), and Beeman's gum, of which you only got half a stick at a time. My favorite purse was a white one, made out of white nylon. It had a draw string for closure. My favorite story about it was when we went to the cities to watch the Prowler's baseball team in finals and she set her purse down in a melted grape slush. Oh my, it was so grape! She took it back home and washed it and all the grape came out!

All of us who have had children have had baby stuff and toys and 'silencers' in our purse. My favorite was a glop of keys I found and put together for Rachel to play with and a jar of peanut butter I seemed to carry for years for Bud. There was a billfold and check book and a pen I bought when Bud was in kindergarten and gave to Rachel when she graduated. It was a red ball point and Rachel used it to do her special papers. What is the brand with the two hearts on it? Is it Paper Mate?

Purse contents change over the years. I always wanted a camera small enough to carry in a purse. A wallet/card/picture holder with a few checks and a list of Tom's medication take up part of the purse. An address book which as phone numbers, birthday/anniversary dates, and emails, of course. A pen. A tape measure, (left over from the days of rummage sales--I graduated from measuring everything with a dollar bill which is 6 1/4 inches--four dollar bills and the waist measurement was Rachel's!) Lipstick, not red, (sorry Soozi). A mini brush for my mini hair. Glasses cleaner. A cell phone, rarely on, most often low battery. Real money. A piece of typing paper folded in sixths, turned and turned and notes written until the paper is full. Sunglasses. And on a good day, receipts line the bottom as if it were a robin's nest.

There was a lady who became an office manager at the DME company where I worked. I was hired before her by the owner. The new office manager stated she never who have hired me because my purse was messy. Well, reader's she came and went and I was still there until the serendipitous phone call.

Shake that purse--find those keys!


Saturday, September 13, 2008


Odd, isn't it, that the 'science' of observation brings us to believe that others are spending their time deciding on who we are by:

1. The clothes, style, and colors we wear

2. The kind of glasses frames we select. Sarah Palin's frames cost about $400, if you are interested.

3. and now handbags.

Great grandmothers bought flour in the same kind of sacks and made dresses and matching aprons. So, what did people say, "Oh, I see you buy X brand flour?"

Mother's bought clothes off the rack or bought fabric from bolts and saved the extra's for splash on children's clothes or quilt tops. In a small town, dress shops were limited and so was fabric.

My generation started out in home designed clothes, bought clothes at stores that were altered at the store so they fit--as an adult I learned the value of second hand stores for everything but shoes and underwear. It stretched the budget so the kids would have new or more. Fabric was cheap and sewing became something I liked to do.

My daughter sold doughnuts on Saturdays to buy designer jeans and other clothes, only to learn we could make 4 dresses to one purchased at a store.

When Tom's grand daughter was here at Christmas, she did not have a piece of apparel that did not have signature of some television or movie show. Bet no child will have a Hannah Montana shirt with her artistic photo stamped on it.

As for color, most people have been colorize by the age of fifty. We are told what to wear, what sort of fabrics to wear, even hair cuts. It talks about proportion, cut of garment, and to be dressed professionally in the best possible clothes to make a statement of who we are before we open our mouths.

Some of us have been there done that. Some of us had a closet full of suits and shoes that may have hurt our feet, but we wore them because that was what was available off the rack.

We know too, that sometimes if we look in the mirror, we don't look like we have a lot of sizzle to give. There is, after all, something to be said about color and how it helps our faces glow.

For people in the infant stages of the "coloration", I shutter when I think about your best friends with totally different coloring helping you shop. There is a great deal of information in books about looking your best; how about feeling your best~~that needs to be the ultimate goal, don't you think?

I am okay with the ideas available to all of us if we are looking for solutions. This essay would not have come to be published on the blog unless I had read an article about hand bags and how we know what others ARE by the purse they carry.

1. Brief case purse combo--ability to multi task
2. Photo bag--family oriented
3. Confidence
4. Monogrammed--Proud of who you are
5. Eco friendly--care about your surroundings
6. Back pack--casual
7. Oversized--Stylish with your six pound purse
8. Shoulder bag--Sensible
9. Bejeweled--like being noticed
10. Wrist bag--no nonsense
11. Brand bag--like the finer things

They don't list a diaper bag~~an era most of us have enjoyed in our life time.

When I worked at the nursing home, I carried a tote bag. Inside the tote was a zip lock bag, that was my 'purse'. I got my first purse when I was in junior high. It was a bucket purse. I wanted black but they didn't have any black so I settled for turquoise. It was my first leather purse and I carried it for years. I suppose--thinking about it now--I could have had it dyed--. Then, I bought a leather purse at a second hand store that I had for years and years. When that finally was discarded I went through a series of styles. I found what I think is the best for me a few years ago. I don't know what it says. A lady at the market this morning 'wanted one just like it'.

What do you call that thing you carry your valuables in? Is it a pocketbook like Grandma, a hand bag like Mother, or a purse?

Tomorrow: What is in YOUR wallet. I almost said Walleye, we are off to fish!


Friday, September 12, 2008


Last year, on September 12, Old Trunks gave 37 reasons she loves Bud. Most of them were memories of his child hood.

This year, I am wondering what it is like to be a 38 year old for him.
All of us who have children appreciate these miracles who are part of us. Perhaps we hope to see some of ourselves in our children. Although they are part of their parents, they are still, their very own person; complex ed, complete, and yet not all explored.
Grandpa in his aged wisdom, knew more answers and different answers than Daddy. Daddy in his wisdom knew more and different answers that I did. Old Trunks in her wisdom knows more answers and different answers than Bud.
Life is a wonder
Happy Birthday, Bud

Thursday, September 11, 2008


These five canoes were being pulled by a motor boat to the rice bed, each canoe had two people, one to move the canoe along and the other to glean the grain.
This couple is harvesting rice in a canoe, while he moves the canoe with a long pole, she was using short sticks to bend the stalks into the boat and 'thresh' the grain into the canoe

Wild rice grows in Northern Minnesota lakes, marshes, and streams. The water may be as shallow as six inches or as great as ten feet by early July. It first grows above the water surface where the tapered leaves float on the surface during late spring and early summer. Later, it becomes like a stalk with the rice on the tips. Harvesting this year has been in late August with the process continuing as Old Trunks writes.

Wild rice has a higher protein content than most cereal grains, making it a good food for wildlife and humans. Wild rice attracts many wild birds, especially waterfowl and red-winged blackbirds, and it also provides nesting cover for waterfowl.
Have you ever eaten it?
Would you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


In a paper out of the forties, Old Trunks found this advice. For those of you with arthritis, these old home remedies have some merit.

The fact that there is no specific medicine or operation which will cure arthritis is no reason for arthritis sufferers to resign themselves to pain and disability.

Reassurance as to the effectiveness of the carefully supervised use of rest, heat, and exercise in a patients own home is given in the final bulletin issued today in the March series of bulletins prepared by the Minnesota State Medical Association's Committee on Public Health Education.

Rest is a treatment of first importance the doctor's say. A basic minimum of ten hours in bed at night and one hour of rest morning and afternoon is usually required. Exercise is important too, though it should never be aimless nor repeated until the joints are irritated. Definite exercise should be prescribed and carried out on a physician's orders.

Heat can be applied at home. By means of hot baths in a patients own tub and by simply constructed electric bakes which any tinsmith can make at a trifling cost. Where electricity is not available, warm paraffin heated in a double boiler and applied alternately with bandages on the affected joint will provide heat for an hour or more plus a good splint that can be kept on, if prescribed, for a longer period.

Massage is useful too and can be learned by home attendants but should only be used lightly .

Many deformities develop because the patient is allowed to sit or stand or lie in bed improperly, the doctors say. Knees that have been bent to allow a pillow beneath them do not straighten out after the pain and inflammation are over. Proper splints or supports, if they are needed, good posture, a bed that does not sag, and properly fitted shoes aid in preventing dreaded deformities.

Twenty four hours in a day, according to the article, half need to be in bed. But if you are in bed too long, your legs won't straighten out! Seriously sometimes even in the modern age with modern drugs, rest helps.

I wish you good health.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Melvina, Linda, and Cliff about 1951
Cliff acting as a farm boy
Cliff and Mel's wedding
When I would sit around the Anderson table and listen to the stories of Cliff, I imagined him a unapproachable man. How could he accomplish so much and still be family oriented?
Old Trunks adored this man we called Cliff. He was a terrific business man, worked hard, and had a grin which lit up the room. They were a delightful couple who worked together over time.
Cliff served his country, as you may remember from posts about him previously.
When I met him, the two of them owned and ran a roller skating rink. Later they would move to Osage Beach, Missouri and build a unique house. The vaulted ceiling was made from the boards of an old railroad car. Hanging from the ceiling was a taxidermy mallard, which could be seen from the lake through the tall windows. What was the most Cliff like was they had two mail boxes, one for regular mail and the other, with a higher post for air mail.
He believed in hard work and expected others to do the same. A few words from him was a good kick in the pants for anyone who felt stumped.
This is the anniversary of Cliff's birth
9 September 1923- 7 April 1988

Monday, September 8, 2008


Here we are, a few months away from needing converters if we have those old fashion rabbit ears on televisions. Now we have satellite or cable, or watch our favorite shows on our computers.
Think back about when you got your first television. Most likely it was black and white, (if you are old enough). In a blink you may even remember just where that television sat! Your parents may have bought it at Sjoberg's, or Gambles, or Sears, or Montgomery Wards. Or it may have been a gift, as the featured TV is in the picture above.
The set was given to the Anderson household by their son, Dick. I think the idea of taking pictures was wonderful! Look if you can, at the hair styles and clothing in the photo. See if you can see the draperies, the covers on the arm of the chair.
Let me flash back a moment. Remember me talking about the salt and pepper shakers? I wondered where Ella displayed them. They are on the wall in a shadow box, right above Ella's head! Yes! There are the two mallards! That dates the S&P to at least 50+ years!
Think about it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Today is Grand parents Day. National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade (now age 91), a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia.

Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.

As a former employee of a nursing home's activity department, it was always a thrill to have groups of children interact with the residents. The people in the nursing homes loved to talk to the children about their lives. Here are a few of the suggested questions and thoughts the children learned before their interviews:

An interview is just like talking with someone, but with prepared questions.

Ask questions clearly and slowly, giving the person time to answer. Repeat questions if necessary.

Listen carefully to what the person says; don't interrupt or correct.

Maintain eye contact and show interest by leaning forward and nodding.

If someone is talking about an unhappy or painful experience, show that you understand how they feel (e.g. "That's very sad").

It's okay for there to be moments of silence or emotion. A person's life is important, and emotion is natural. Accept emotions as part of the process.
If the person doesn't want to talk about something, that's okay -- just go to the next question.

A person may have a lot to say in response to a particular question, summarize the key ideas .

An interview shouldn't last more than an hour. People do best when they're not tired.

Don't forget to thank the person you've interviewed. Let them know you value what they've shared.

Some of the children got very close to their new friend and visited them on occasion out side of class. Who wouldn't want to visit a German lady who made hats?

Let's hope grand parents are sharing favorite memories with their grandchildren and the children are asking questions!


Saturday, September 6, 2008


We all know that Ella was a keeper of cherished memories. Perhaps you are also. If someone needed to go through your stuff after you moved to a nursing home or died, what would they find? I would hope there would be special items you remember.

Judy noted she didn't have the heart to throw the note on the napkin away.

The 1967 note says:

Dearest Mom and Shirley,

Elodee says to leave a note.

I'm not quite sure what to say but then, we've only been married five years.

Anytime you need a shoulder let us know and I'll send mine, if you need one, we will ask for yours.

It's a new day enjoy every moment.

God will bless you as long as we have faith and trust in Him.

Love, Bob, Elodee, and Rachel

We always hope when we write notes to others that if they need us, we will be there. Old Trunks is hopeful she does this before someone asks.

I am thinking about a member of the Rye family. She was the daughter of Ella's sister, Alice. I don't know how Irene knew my Mother. When Daddy died, Irene was there bringing paper products to mother; plates, napkins, and silverware. Why? Because Irene, within her own heart, felt this was the most needed thing. And Mother appreciated her thoughtfulness.

The next time you pick up a napkin, flash a mental note to someone you care about. Give them the gift of your thoughts and accept a blessing to yourself.


Friday, September 5, 2008


In the box with the salt and pepper shakers, there was a note written to Ella and Shirley by Ella's son Bob. Along with the note, written on a napkin, were three leaves from Lloyd Anderson's funeral in October, 1967.

One of the leaves had Rachel's name on it, the other two said Linnie. Old Trunks looked at the leaf with Linnie written on it and just could not place it. That happens with genealogy, sometimes a name gets lost within the structure. The beauty of it is, one always seems to know the answer or give you a clue. Communication is the key.

After an email to Judy, another member of the Anderson children, I had my answer. Julia Olson Rye was one of twelve children. Carrie was two years young than her. Carrie married and had Linnie. Linnie is the great aunt of the Anderson children.

We know from reading the Rosewood News that a family reunion was held at the Henry Rye home Sunday when the sister and brothers of Mrs. Rye were together for the first time in 34 years. Those present were Mrs. Carrie Dillion and daughter, Mrs. Ivan (Linnie) Knepp, Mrs. Alfred Olson, Mr. Oscar Olson, Mr. Arthur Olson and daughter, Sara. Mr. And Mrs. Norman Jorgenson and family all of Goodridge. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Steinhauer and family of Holt Mr. Lloyd Anderson and children, Murvin Rye and Selmer Dahl. Dinner was enjoyed together and the afternoon was spent taking pictures and reminiscing of old times. (Summer of 1947).

One of the photos taken during this time was of Julia, Carrie, and Linnie with the two horses hitched to what looks like a rake. A rake looks like boards with nails in it and it smooths out the soil. Linnie Knepp has the reins, Julia is in the apron. Although Carrie is two years younger, her hair is styled so it looks nearly white.
And now we know who Linnie's Leaf belongs to!