Life Memories of
Marian Knudson Barnes

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This photo of Marian with her brother, Clifford Knudson, was taken at a family reunion in July of 2000 called "Rumble on the Red" in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

About This Page

Think about "memory," how important it is for us human beings. When a person dies the memory of the person goes away, unless they have written something for the rest of us. Marion Knudson Barnes, the last child of Edward and Julia Knudson, has given the rest of the family a big gift by writing her memories which you can read on this page. Her daughter, Linda Barnes Goldstein, has edited this piece of writing by her mother.

Marian Edna Knudson was born May 12, 1921, and died August 6, 2008. She was raised on the farm near Manvel, North Dakota, along with her many siblings discussed here. None of those siblings now remain alive.

A personal note: I lived in Chicago, Illinois, in 1965-1967, far away from most family members. Leading up to Christmas, 1966, I called Marian to ask if I could spend the Christmas holiday with them. They lived in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, where Marian's husband, Gordon, worked for the Chrysler Corporation. So they were the closest family. Marian graciously invited me to be with them and I enjoyed it very much. It was my chance to get to know Marian and Gordon better, along with their two children, Linda and Jane.

Let me add a couple other memories of my own. As a child in Grand Forks I remember my mother telling me that Marian and Gordy lived in New York City, one of the largest cities in the world. That created a sense of wonder in my young mind; what would such a place be like. It is therefore especially fun to read what Marian was doing in New York City at the time. Also, I remember the day my father drove out of the Pontiac dealership with a brand new 1952 Pontiac. It had a straight-eight engine, was blue in color, and was quite a car. He must have bought it through Gordy, though I am not sure Gordy was in Grand Forks at the time.

Thanks to Linda for making this amazing document available to the rest of the family.

Ed Knudson - 2/22/2013

By Marian Barnes Knudson

In the beginning my Mother and Father met at a barn dance in Minnesota and married soon after. They moved to Grand Forks and bought a house and started raising a family. My Father was manager of the Mercantile Warehouse where goods were stored when they came in town on the railroad.

They lived here for about five years when they bought some farm land near the small town of Manvel. My Father’s brother, Andrew, helped him grub the trees and build a house, barn, garage and numerous other outbuildings. The house had a kitchen, living room, one bedroom for my parents, pantry and entry which they called a shed; the upstairs had two bedrooms: one big room for the boys and a smaller one for the girls. The furniture in their bedroom was a big bureau which had a mirror and two small drawers by the side and two large drawers underneath the long mirror. The two little drawers were for the handkerchiefs--one for the girls and one for the men’s!! The two big drawers were for linens. Then they had a bigger dresser for their clothes and a rocking chair.

Once on the farm they continued to raise a family and added till they had ten children. I am the youngest. One of my first memories is about being driven to school in town by my father. Two sisters and three brothers attended at the same time. They were Helen, and Jo, Joel, Clifford, and Julian. I loved school and had two best friends who both lived in town. They went home for lunch but came back in time to play on the playground. Since I was the new kid at school they both wanted to play with me so whenever I chose one the other one would go tattle to my sister Jo and she took me to task and tried to keep the trio together. I can’t remember seeing my brothers and sisters during school, we were in different classrooms and they were the “big kids”.

Every year the school had what they called “Play Day” which was held in another small town. They had little skits and one was called “The Days of the Week”. The kids that were chosen each represented a day of the week. I was Tuesday so had to have a toy ironing board and iron and sing a song which went--”This is the Way we Iron Our Clothes so Early in the Morning” This was a fun trip and we were there all day. To this day I love to iron.

Clarence, Ellen and Jo all went to Mayville Teachers College and when they came home for vacation they had a lot of new things to teach us. One thing I remember was they taught me to do “The Highland Fling” a dance which I had to perform every so often for guests or relatives. They also taught me and I guess I had to sing this for them too. I still remember it but don’t know what it means.

One really bad thing happened to a boy in my class, he was hit in the head by a swing during recess and had to have a silver plate put in the wound. He was quite a hero after that.

Speaking of swings, when we got home from school we took turns on our swing which was on a big oak tree right by the house. We tried to see who could go high enough to touch the house. I guess then he was declared the winner. When we tired of that we played house. There was a huge grape vine growing over some bushes and made a great place to set up housekeeping! My sister Helen, Brother Joel, and I played here for hours. We told Joel he had to have a doll to make it authentic so we rigged up a doll for him with the head of one whose name was Mabel and the body of one named Jenny so he named her Mabel Jenny!! He threatened bodily harm if we told any of his friends.

In the winter we had snow and ice for recreation. We lived near the Red River of the North and the river bank was a splendid hill for sliding down. My Father made sleds for us out of tin squares about five feet square. He tied a rope in the front of it so we could steer somewhat that way. These tins were so slick we went down the bank and right across the river and up the other side. The river froze over every year and my brothers would clear the snow off a spot for us to skate on and sometimes some of the neighbors would join us. We also had a “slough” to skate on because it froze over earlier since it was so shallow. Our skates were double runners and had to be strapped on over our overshoes and it seems they were off more than they were on. The slough was really slippery so we could also just slide on our boots without skates.

In the winter we had snow ball fights and slid on patches of ice. It was a game with the boys to come up behind us and try to push us down. All in fun and nobody got angry. When there was a snowstorm my Father would pick us up from school in a sleigh which everyone in the whole neighborhood called the “Knudson Bus”. It was just a regular sled but he rigged up sides and top so we were cozy and warm. Also we had the fur robe which was always in one of the sleighs. We also used another kind of sleigh which was a wagon with sides that were about three feet high. They put straw on the floor and we had the fur robe to put over us. I especially remember riding in this sled when we would go to the school Christmas programs. This was a highlight for us at this time and we looked forward to it every year.

My Mother was very religious so every Sunday morning we all had to congregate in the Living Room and listen to a church program on the radio, usually from the United Lutheran Church which was recently built and my Mother loved to also go into town and attend in person. So some Sunday mornings or usually on a special holiday we piled into the old Ford and went in to town to Church. We were usually late so I remember we sometimes had to march up to the front of the church and sit on folding chairs. Even so I enjoyed going there very much.

In the early summer we were sent to pick berries. On our property we had plum trees, choke cherries, June berries and gooseberries. We each had a little pail and as I remember we didn’t do much berry picking. The choke cherries made our mouths black so they knew why our pails were almost empty. We were sent back if it wasn’t too late to fill our pails. My Mother made jams and jellies and some “sauce” from the plums. She stored them in the root cellar where we kept potatoes for all winter.

Some days we had to go fetch the cows for milking. They were usually deep in the woods near the river. We took Scraps with us and he was a great little “herder”. This was not a very hard job but we didn’t like it very much. We sometimes played in the barn if it was raining. The barn had two rooms--one for the horses and one for the cows. They all had stalls and the cows had “stanchions” for when the boys milked them, the stanchions kept the cows still when milking them.

Our garden was huge and had apple and crabapple trees, raspberry bushes along with the usual vegetables of all kinds. The garden had a row of willow trees at the edge and when we had snow storms big drifts would form in front of them and we loved to go play on them. Sometimes we would fall through way past our boots up to our hips. These times we came home pretty wet and cold but my Mother had the tub of hot water waiting back of the stove so we all had our Saturday Night baths. We had a lot of fun during bath time because Helen and I tried to sneak a peak at Joel because he had a birthmark on his leg. My Mother put a stop to this and then Joel would try to get revenge!!

Summer also brought the State Fair. My Mother packed a huge lunch and we all piled into the Model T for the day. We hit the rides and games in the morning then met at the car for lunch. After lunch we went to the Grand Stand where there were various acts of mostly singers and dancers. That was about an hours’ entertainment. We kids loved the “Side Shows” but they were off limits to us. They were just gruesome and deformed people and were just depressing anyway. My Father always said we had to get home before dark so we headed home with great tales to tell our friends. When we got older we wanted to go to the Fair with friends but were not allowed to. The Fair sometimes brought questionable characters to work on the rides etc.

The only birthday party I remember was when I was about 10 years old. My two best friends and all my brothers and sisters were there. We had cake and cocoa. I would have preferred coffee since I was addicted very young when I sat on my Mothers lap and dunked toast in her coffee cup.

My oldest sister Agnes got a job selling pictures “on the road” but would come home every summer. We always looked forward to her coming. One day my best friend and I walked up town after lunch at school and saw a doll in the window of the General Store. We both vowed to have that doll by the next school day. When I told Aggie she sent the boys to town to get the doll for me that night. I had the doll to take to school the next day. The doll had long red hair so I called her Russet. I don’t think I gloated but my friend was surprised and hurt.

The next year I went to the country school instead of the school in town. I liked this school too. We walked to school and home again, most of the time we would meet the Nagles and the Devines down by the “stump”. This was where a tree had been cut down and we used it for our meeting place where we had some “Rumbles”!! Mostly we just met for social and game times. Sometimes the Avons would join us; they were a new family that moved there that summer. One of the boys, Clarence, was a bully and I had to contend with him as we walked to school. His favorite thing was to throw mud balls at us making our walk quite miserable. Try as we might we couldn’t lose him.

At lunch time and recess we played Kitten Ball, they call it soft ball now. We played some other games too: Hide and Seek, Rover Red Rover and all the other games popular at that time. Even though I feel bad now we sometimes picked on one kid and often would lock him in the “out house” so he was late getting back to class. But he didn’t get into trouble because the teacher could guess what happened. We felt it was even because his two older brothers used to chase us on the way home and frighten us with noises and sometimes with sheets over their heads at Halloween time.

Sometimes we had box socials at the country school. The girls brought lunches in a decorated box and the boys had to bid on them. My sisters were always fearful the wrong boy would buy their box because you had to eat with whoever bought your box. There was a lot of teasing among the girls, each hoping the other would get a certain boy no one liked.

I remember one afternoon Joel and I were sitting up in a plum tree and saw my sisters walking on the road when the Donohue boys came by in a car after they had been swimming in the river by our house. They knew my sisters didn’t like them so they swung their wet swim suits around and sprayed them with water. Joel and I teased them about this and held it over their heads for some time. We told the girls that the boys had asked us if they were mad we said “no” so when we told the girls this they got mad at us because they were very mad and didn’t even speak to these guys again.

The middle of summer brought wheat and other grain harvest. I must tell you that my Dad had crop circles back then and didn’t think there was anything strange about them. He said that he had such a good crop of wheat that this is why the wheat stalks would be pulled down and make the circles or another answer was a stray dog or other animal would come by and lie down to rest. When it was our turn the threshing machine would come rumbling down the road and turn into our “gate”. This was so exciting because they were heard for miles around and all the other neighbors were awaiting their turn. The threshing machine was owned by someone else and we all paid him to come. When they were at our place my Mother made lunches and Joel, Helen and I would bring them out to where the men were working. We enjoyed doing our part at this exciting time. I would drink coffee and have a sandwich with my father. After the harvest the summer was nearing an end and the harvest work was done for the year. After the wheat harvest they had to dig the potatoes and sugar beets. We all picked potatoes and I always fell behind and someone had to go help me catch up. For a long time it didn’t occur to me how much they resented the extra work for them! I just knew they were always there to help me. Later I realized I wasn’t too popular during the potato picking!! At the end of the day we got to sit on top of the wagon load of potatoes and ride home. That was the highlight of the day. Sometimes we would see our neighbors still working and would wave to them and I guess gloat--see we are done for the day! Sometimes, though, it was the neighbors that finished first and they got to wave at us and gloat!! The grain was stored in a granary at our farm but the sugar beets were taken to town, weighed and sold. I can’t remember what they did with the potatoes but I do know they filled our cellar for home use and they lasted almost all winter. When the harvest was done school started again.

Before this though, on nice summer nights friends would come over and we played games until the boys scared us into believing bats would come out and get tangled in our hair. The games at these times were Mother May I, (an old version of Simon Says) Ante I Over, Red Rover and others plus of course always a game of kitten ball. This ball was a little bigger than a baseball and covered with a soft fabric or maybe with some type of leather. These are the same friends that we would meet at the Stump for fights!! Another game the boys played in the summer was a game of “catch” by throwing the ball to each other back and forth. They also played at boxing and wrestling just for fun not really to “win”. In the summer we went swimming in the river. Most of the time the boys wouldn’t take us with them but sometimes my Mother coerced them into letting us go along.

I recall one day when I came home from school my Father had a surprise for me, a small white dog! I named her “Pal”. Our family dog “Scraps” had been with us forever and I think was so jealous we had to give Pal away. We gave her to the Avons, the new neighbor, and so I saw her a lot. This was a sad time for me. We also had two black kittens and since my father liked to listen to “Amos and Andy” on the radio he named them Amos and Andy.!!

Before I went to school, the older kids went to school in town and my father drove them in the car. Sometimes he would take me with him and we would walk around town and he would visit with all his friends: the postmaster, the blacksmith, the General store owner and Barber who also had an ice cream shop in back of his place. The times when I didn’t go with him my Mother and brother Ted and I sometimes played cards. My Mom would have “store bought cookies” stashed so we would have them as a real treat!! I remember the store bought cookies were the ones with Marshmallow and coconut topping. After the card game Ted would have to water the horses. So he let me go with him and sometimes he would let me ride one into the barn which wasn’t usually allowed, and especially not without saddles or at least a horse blanket.

We had four horses. Their names were Fred and Nance, they were a team, Fred was a dark brown color and Nance was white. Then Queenie was a beautiful bronze color and was the feisty one. Blanch was a dark brown and very sweet and gentle and my Mothers favorite. When horses became too old or lame they were sold to the Fox Farm outside of town. So finally they had to take Blanch there and my Mom was very sad. We would drive by the Fox Farm on the way to town and my Mother would imagine that she saw Blanch out in the pasture grazing for hay. Soon though we had to accept the fact that Blanch must have gone to the “glue factory” and so we replaced her with another horse. This was a Dapple Grey and my Mother named her Trixie. Trixie was quite feisty too but filled the bill. We also named our cows! One was named Blossom because she had a white face, one was Blackie and you can guess why, but the boys called all the other ones “Dumb Dora” because they said they were considered not very bright!!

We baked cookies and bread twice a week. My father would come in every day at 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon for coffee. She would usually be baking cookies so she would give him the “scrubs” as she called the ones that were the broken, burnt and misshapen. He didn’t mind at all. But my father had a problem with my Mothers rolling pin--before they were married an old boyfriend of hers made her a rolling pin for a present. It was quite large and had fancy grooves in it. She loved it and it was great for rolling out cookies. Anyway my father was forever trying to get rid of it and he promised to make one for her himself. This never happened and she continued to enjoy her rolling pin!!

My Mother also did the laundry every Monday which was a huge job, what with the old fashioned machine which was operated by hand. My father made her a “clothes stick” which had sort of a knob on one end. She called it her “Toorrooo”, you have to roll your r‘s to say it I think she made up that word! She used it to remove clothes from the boiler where she boiled the towels. Her towels were very white.

Every spring an old Jewish man came out to the farm to collect scrap iron. We had a huge pile of it back of the barn which came from some of his old machinery that wore out so he always gave some to this old guy which he called the “Sheenie”. He really enjoyed seeing this old guy and always tried to get him to come in for coffee but he never did. He would have been very surprised to see a spotless kitchen and get a good cup of coffee with some kind of cookie or maybe even lefse or fresh baked bread. He would have enjoyed this if he had only come in!!

My father played the violin and when he was blue and worried about the crops or whether it would rain he would go into his room and play. Actually at some point he made violins. He did this in the kitchen. He would go in to town and buy old violins for used parts and one day he came home all excited and showed my Mother the back of one of them with the name “Stradivarius” printed on it and we all speculated whether this was real or just a fake!!! I guess we felt somehow fame had touched our lives. Who knew?

One night my sister Helen and I noticed that the wick of our kerosene lamp which we had in our room was starting to go down into the glass bowl where the kerosene was and this would have been a disaster and sure it would have started a fire. But Mom managed to pull the wick back up how she did it I just can’t imagine. It was a scary night but taught us a valuable lesson to keep an eye on the wick when we lit them for the night. We had two other kerosene lamps but they were fancier than the others. They had a “mantle” over the flame and this mantle was made out of some very fine and delicate mesh webbing and if you touched it, it would fall apart into ashes. These lamps were prettier than the others and they had frosted and flowered shades over the mantels which gave off a warm glow to the room and also give off more light.

The Fourth of July was last week and brought to mind how we celebrated it on the farm. We had a shelf in the living room where we put the clock, the Bible, the flag and a cuckoo weather vane. When it was going to rain an old witch would come out but when it was going to be sunny a cute little girl and boy would come out. On the morning of the Fourth my father would get the flag from the shelf and hang it on a tree in front of the house. There was a special handling just for the flag and none of us kids were allowed to handle the flag and we always brought it in when it rained. The day was really exciting because we knew Clarence would come out to the farm with a freezer full of ice cream in the afternoon. He also brought firecrackers and sparklers. One year on the Fourth Clarence had a new straw hat with a brim. He knew we were curious about it and he didn’t want us to touch it so he told us if we did the brim would fall off! This excited us no end we thought the hat must be bewitched. We were afraid of it and stayed as far away as we could.

Another thing I remember about Clarence is that he brought records home for us to play on the big phonograph which we had in the living room. Some of the records he brought were “Two Black Crows”, “Betty Coed”, and “Sweetheart of Sigma Phi” and my personal favorite “The Little Rosewood Casket”, which made me sad and I always imagined myself and Joel to be the characters in the song. We played these few records over and over but soon we got different ones. The phonograph had to be cranked by hand but even so it was a great form of entertainment for us till we got radio. The cabinet was made of a dark wood and stood about five feet from the floor. It probably would be considered an antique now.

On rainy days we would play board games, Cards and Checkers were the favorites. Getting to play cards was a treat because my Mom thought it a sin unless we didn’t fight but if we did we had to put the game board away. The game board was about three feet square and had two sides one for cards and one for checkers and other games. Even though my Mom was so strict we loved and respected her very much. She was a great and loving Mother and we always had clean clothes and good wholesome food to eat. No one went hungry at her house even if you were a drop in guest. One thing that the boys teased her about was her cheese that she made out of milk which simmered on the back of the stove for hours. It turned out a lot like Bleu Cheese so was quite strong. She kept it hidden in a mason jar with a tight lid and when she brought it to the table everyone held their noses or just left the table. The boys really teased her about her “rotten cheese“. She was very good natured about it and just went ahead and enjoyed her delicacy. I don’t think even my dad could eat it and he liked almost everything sour like buttermilk! She called this cheese “Gummel Ust” a Norwegian word for old cheese. This cheese was not rotten as you would also call spoiled but just seasoned. That other definition is reserved for some people I have known.

After a long summer, we couldn’t wait for school to start again. We never got a lot of new clothes but my father would go to town and bring us each a box of crayons, pencil box, and tablet of paper. We loved these things and looked forward to the day he would bring them home to us. He also brought a striped bag of candy which I would run into the garage to retrieve when we saw him drive in.

One day my Mother’s friend came over for coffee. She had eight kids and they were friends of ours too, but very poor. My Mother told me to bring my doll buggy over to her so she could pick out one to give to her friend for her daughter, June, also a school mate of mine. I hung around to see which one she chose and hoped it wasn’t my favorite one. I had no choice in the matter though because it was a good thing to do and I wouldn’t have thought to protest. My Mother made all our dresses and I suppose everything else. She didn’t even have a pattern. But they were clean and starched every day and complaining didn’t even enter our heads.

Every summer a group of people came out from town to show movies on an outdoor screen and we were sometimes allowed to go see them. Also an Evangelist brought a tent and set it up on a vacant lot and had a service. My father really liked to go there and almost always attended. My Mother went to some but not all. But I do remember that they invited the preachers out to our house to dinner.

My mother got ovarian cancer around the time when I was about to graduate from eighth grade. She was unable to attend the graduation ceremonies. This was the beginning of a very sad time for us all. She became increasingly worse and by November 10th, 1934 she died, at home with all her kids around her except my sister Jo. Jo had been home all summer to care for her and said her good byes before she left. My Mothers last word was “Ed”. He was not a very sentimental man but during the summer he got her a set of bath towels with pink flowers appliquéd on the ends. She was able to have sponge baths. And she loved the towels and we knew the gift and sentiment pleased her. My father also seemed pleased with this special gift that he had picked out all by himself with no input from anyone. After the funeral friends and relatives came over to the house and they sang hymns and had sandwiches and coffee. I did not like that they did this without my mother but it was a ritual everyone did after a funeral.

Christmas on the farm was so exciting we were almost sick with anticipation. On Christmas Eve my father would take me out to the “shed” which was the entrance to the house and where we kept overshoes and coats like a mud room. Also Scraps, our family dog, slept there. Anyway my dad asked me if I could hear the bells on Santa’s sleigh going over the roof tops. Of course I thought I could. We then went back into the kitchen and they had arranged chairs all around the kitchen and we all sat down to wait for Santa Clause to come in. Soon we heard a Ho Ho and with a big bang Clarence dressed in a full Santa suit would burst into the house with a big gunny sack on his back. He handed out the gifts and with a handshake to all and a 'ho ho ho', out he went. And very soon after that Clarence came home. I didn’t have a clue. My most favorite gift one year was a Shirley Temple doll. I think Helen , Joel and I didn’t catch on until one day we were up in the attic and we saw a Santa Claus suit , mask, and all but I remember we were very upset not knowing what to think. This was before they knew who he really was! The attic was not finished but just a place under the eves so it was pretty scary there anyway. I guess soon after that I found out who it was wearing the red suit. I can’t remember taking it too badly because I suppose I was quite old and probably had an inkling for some time what with all the teasing me about knowing something that I didn’t.

Christmas Eve dinner consisted of Lutefisk and Velling a very bland and tasteless soup made with rice and milk, and of course lefse which was the only thing I could eat. But this was standard for the night before Christmas. So we had it every year. Christmas Eve Day my father went to town and got extra supplies and he always brought a bushel of apples and a huge bag of candy and another of peanuts in the shell. These were very special treats and we really enjoyed them.

I should say here that Clarence was the family’s pride and joy. My Mother and Dad were so proud of him and as you remember in another paragraph he always came home for the holidays and brought something when he did. One year he brought me two goldfish in a bowl and another time a little gold watch which I cherished and wore for many years until I lost it while picking plums.

After Mother’s death in the fall of 1934, I went to town to live with my sister Agnes to attend South Junior High School and later Central High. I loved school even though I didn’t do as well as I had in grade school in the country school. The very nicest thing that happened when I moved to town was when I met a girl who was to be my best friend all through high school. She also had lost her mother and as a wonderful coincidence also lived with her sister and lived on the same block. We would meet at the bus stop every morning or when it was nice we would walk to school together. One morning we were pretty late getting to the bus stop and it was raining hard--the bus was stopped at our corner but suddenly started to go. He saw us running to get there but he took off and stopped in the middle of the next block and waited for us. He did this to teach us a lesson on tardiness. We called him “Crabby Johnson.”

There were about ten girls that lived in the South End, which was what they called our section of the city. We formed a club and had weekly meetings taking turns to host them in our family’s homes. Ina Mae the mother hen decided that we should all have nicknames so she chose one for each of us. I was Punky, Anice, my best friend, was Pee Wee, and Ina Mae was Mopsy. Doie also nicknamed me “Knut” but none of the others called me that at least not as much as Doie did. I can’t remember any of the others. Sometimes the meetings were sleepovers. I can’t remember what we did except talk, eat and listen to the radio. TV hadn’t been invented yet. One time one of the girls brought a pack of cigarettes and we all tried smoking for the first time. No one got hooked on them!

Kay Kaiser was everybody’s favorite band. The school had Sunlight dances about once a month. They took place right after school in the gym. For music they had a record player and once again played our favorite band. The dances were just for girls so we danced together. When we got to Central High they had sock hops that were for everybody. Unfortunately, we were mostly spectators because nobody asked us to dance, only the most popular girls danced with boys. One of the girls in my group, Dizzy Deezee would dance with a boy none of us liked but he was nice just not very well liked. At Central we had dances for special holidays such as Christmas, Prom etc.

Even back then I had a chewing gum habit and even did it in class and some of the teachers saw me so I had to treat the entire class the next day. Central basket ball games were a highlight of my high school days. We had season tickets every year so we would meet on the bus and sit together at the games. One year we joined the Pep Club so we helped the cheerleaders out at halftime. I still have a copy of the cheers that we used.

The Central High School Prom came and went and I wasn’t invited, but a good friend (Frank) from the country asked me to his. He went to Manvel High and was president of his football team. It was a great and exciting evening and after the dance we went to Doc's Shack for hamburgers, it was a favorite hangout for kids. I borrowed a dress from my friend Carol because I didn’t like the one I was going to borrow from my sister. Anyway, the dress was pink and sort of frilly typical prom dress at that time. Carol was so excited she rode over on her bike to see me off. Well I got home on time and the next day I had to give a full report to the gang about my night at the Manvel High Prom.

Carol was one of the gang and her father was so strict she had a bad time dating, however, he liked me and she was allowed to date this certain boy if I double dated with her. He was another admirer and trusting of Norwegians like my father, and he knew Aggie and my family. So I was the fifth wheel on some of her questionable dates. One boy in particular was from the “East Side” not the best place to live. His name was Hank and she was forbidden to see him but one night he brought one of his friends for me this kid was so fat Aggie and I had to hide in the kitchen to have a good laugh. I went anyway and I can’t remember where we went or anything about it.

One summer before school started we had a picnic and my dad came into town and took me shopping for a pant suit which was pretty surprising because he thought girls should not wear slacks. We took pictures of him with two of the girls and he was very proud to be a part of it which was special because he wasn’t a very sentimental guy, but he really liked all the ones that he met. He used to come into town some Fridays and wait for us in the Woolworth Store because he knew we would go there for a coke before walking home. He would give me some money and we got candy and ate it on the way home. This particular friend was Anice and my best friend since the day I arrived in town and was my father’s favorite of all my friends. Every summer after school was out; my father came to Grand Forks and took me out to the farm for the summer so that I could spend time with the rest of the family. I would spend most days in the house with my sister-in-law, Adeline (Clifford’s Wife). Adeline and I would have coffee and pie and sometimes had to use cream pitchers as a cup because all the others were being used by the men who helped my family harvest the fields.

There were weekly dances in the Manvel Town Hall and I went with Clifford and Adeline. I would meet my friends and Frank there. We also went to a few dances at an outdoor pavilion in Oslo, Minnesota about 10miles away. On the way home from the dances we sometimes stopped at a little café for coffee.

Summer went by pretty fast and in September I went back to town for my last year of high school. I was so glad to be back in town and worried that the gang had left me behind but that never happened they were glad to have me back too. Senior year was less exciting than the others but I did manage to graduate in four years even though I flunked history and English during my junior year and had to retake them during my senior year.

Graduation was upon us and my father came into town to take me shopping for my graduation dress. Montgomery Ward was his favorite store so we went there. The dress I got was navy blue with a square neck which was trimmed with ecru lace and sleeves. I really liked it. My dad, Agnes, Helen, Joyce attended the graduation ceremony. Afterwards we all had lunch at Aggie’s house. After lunch Doie came by and she drove us to Arvilla Park a popular place to drive to after you got your license and if you could get the car. Doie’s father worked the night shift so she was lucky because that meant she could usually get the car. I still don’t know what the fascination was with this park, although it was a nice little country park and had a really cool waterfall.

That was the end of high school and in the fall I enrolled in Aakers Business College. Some of the old gang also attended so we hung around together and I also made some new friends. I didn’t like the college very much, none of us did. I did pretty well in my classes and passed my shorthand 80 words per minute and 120 words per minute typing test. Our gang turned out to be the popular ones at Aakers. Doie could always get the car so we just tooled around town and went to The Palace for chocolate marshmallow and peanut Sundaes. I didn’t ever have a driver’s license because in the country you didn’t need one. Sometimes Ted would reluctantly let me borrow his car and I would go pick up Eva and we’d go over to Frank’s farm and visit there.

Aakers held a Christmas dance at the end of the fall semester. I was scheduled to take a commercial law class the next semester. I didn’t know it because the class hadn’t started yet but the class lecturer was a lawyer. The lawyer happened to have been the paper boy at Aggie’s house so he kind of knew me so he asked me to dance. While we were dancing he asked me how I liked Commercial Law and since I didn’t know he was the speaker I said I liked it but heard we had a boring speaker. He didn’t say anything but when he showed up in class he gave me a knowing look and began by saying he hoped he wouldn’t be too boring. He was really just amused but I felt terrible. I told my friends and they said they sort of agreed. But I really did like Commercial Law.

After a year at Aakers we all took civil service exams, some of my friends passed the exam and went to Washington, D.C. and got jobs there. I flunked the test and the civil service in D.C. wrote me a letter and encouraged me to take it again or just come. The jobs were easy to come by this time since the war was in full swing. The hardest thing was to find apartments. But I stayed in Grand Forks with Aggie and continued to take classes at Aakers. At one point I had a job in a hardware store but really hated it and didn’t stay too long. Doie invited me to come to Washington for Christmas so I took a train and was met at the station by Doie and Dee. When they saw me they waved wildly and yelled “Knute! Knute!” and at the same time were in the middle of a huge crowd of people!! We hugged and kissed and then went to Doie’s apartment. We got settled and then we went to a bar and she ordered Daiquiris which I am sure I didn’t even drink or at least not all of it. Doie adapted to this life very quickly but she didn’t go “wild”!!

By this time it was October and I met Gordy at a reception given by my church the United Lutheran Church in Grand Forks. He was a cadet at the University of N.D. I went by my self but knew I would meet some friends there. Gordy came in late, my friends and I were already talking to a group of cadets and he joined in the conversation. We all sat down together and incidentally I sat next to Gordy. We talked and he eventually walked me home. On one of our dates he took me to dinner at the Belmont lounge, a nice bar and restaurant where Peggy Lee was singing before she became famous. We dated about a month and then he was sent for more training.

From there we went to Frederick, Oklahoma, which was the driest and hottest place I had ever lived. We rented a room above a drug store and had no air conditioning. Our landlady was really nice and invited us down because they had air conditioning of sorts. They took me to church and a church picnic. We had nice friends there was one couple who used to holler up to our window (we didn’t have a phone) and we would go down and meet them. We were not there very long because Gordy was transferred to Waco, Texas.

In Waco we met Nancy and Lloyd. Nancy and I shared a real nice apartment that was in the upstairs of our landlord’s house, Mrs. Roddy. The guys couldn’t stay off base here either, so if Lloyd could sleep off the base then I would sleep downstairs in Mrs. Roddy’s dining room. And Nancy would sleep in the dining room when Gordy could go off base. She didn’t charge us extra for this convenience. Mrs. Roddy had a big house and rented other rooms in her house to servicemen.

Before we got the apartment I had to go meet Mrs. Roddy for an interview. Anyway we got the apartment. When she found out I was from North Dakota she got me a job with a friend of hers who also was from North Dakota and owned a lumber company. The job I got was bookkeeping and not too complicated. I had no previous experience, but I managed to muddle through. I think we only stayed in Waco for about 6 months or less, I had the job the entire time we were there. People in Texas were very nice to servicemen and their wives, often having them over for Sunday dinner and Church.

From here we went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In our first apartment there the man we rented from had a wooden leg and we would always hear him make a lot of noise when he threw it on the floor. We couldn’t stand living next to him so we found another room and bath. Because we didn’t have a kitchen we always ate uptown. The couple that rented the apartment to us had all their kids in the service including a daughter. They really appreciated the problems we all had being away from home. Even so, they overcharged us for the apartment. I got a job at Western Material Company; they made big machines used for highway construction. My boss was Janice Welby. She asked me where we were living and how much our rent was and when I told her she was outraged that we were overcharged and reported them to the government agency in charge of fair rentals. Then our landlady had to return the money that was judged unfair. She was still nice to us and would some days have me down to her kitchen for coffee and toast before I walked to my job. They didn’t hold a grudge because I guess they realized it was wrong although they were just doing what everyone else did: They charged as much as they could get a way with.

Soon Gordy was sent down to Arizona so that he could learn Morse code. I stayed in Sioux Falls because I had a good job and expected to meet him in New York soon. I was in Sioux Falls about two months before he sent for me to go to Brownsville, Texas and meet him there. I took a bus down, even though I had never been out of the Dakotas at least not by myself. I took a bus to Dallas got a motel room and freshened up and got on another bus that went to Brownsville. I met him just as he was coming off the big truck with a whole bunch of other cadets right in front of a little café where the juke box was playing Frank Sinatra songs, we could hear the music out on the street, and it was so exciting! Gordy couldn’t stay off the base every day so he got me a room at Browns Boarding House. Mrs. Brown was a real nice character and every night she served a big dinner at a huge table and all the wives sat at the table and ate together. We stayed at the boarding house through Christmas with very little money. Even so Gordy bought me a lot of presents. I had seen a chain with a heart on it and he got that for me. He also gave me a mirror, comb and brush set. We spent the day together just the two of us and then Mrs. Brown invited all the husbands and wives for Christmas Dinner.

Some Mormons lived here too and we used to hang around a bit. We had to use rations and didn’t buy real ice cream, so we would walk uptown and get ice milk. This was not very tasty and we were so happy when rationing was over and we could get the real thing again!

I stayed behind in Sioux Falls for two months. After his class, we had planned to meet at the Chicago train station’s USO Information Booth and then take the train to New York together. When we made these plans we didn’t know there were three or four train stations in Chicago!! As luck would have it we were waiting for each other in different stations. When I told the lady attending the USO booth in my station, she said she would find him for me. Sure enough, not too long after she found him at another station and brought him to where I was. The USO was amazing and did a lot of good things for the soldiers. That afternoon we took another train to New York. We were only together in New York for a few days before he had to go to Massachusetts and then a few days later he was sent overseas.

After he went overseas I stayed with my Father-in-Law who was living with family friends. Pop and I wanted a place of our own so got an apartment on 184th Street. We lived there for just a few months when my old friend from Waco days came to New York to work and take singing lessons. While I was living with Gordy’s dad I received a telegram from the War Department saying Gordy was missing in action. Since all the young men were in the army, they sent an old guy to deliver the telegram. He seemed kind of crazy because he stood down on the street and yelled up to my window “Barnes, come to the door!” He came up to the apartment and brought me the wire. I guess he was yelling from the street because he didn’t want to walk up the five flights of stairs if I wasn’t home. People in the office were really nice to me at this time when I got word that Gordy was MIA. I went to work and tried to do my job but couldn’t stop crying so, they told me to go home. It was about a week before I received another telegram saying that Gordy was back at home base in Italy.

Nancy and I had to find another place to live since Pop was leaving. We got an apartment on West 94th Street right across from Central Park. We called a cab to move us but, when he saw our steamer trunk he said he couldn’t take it in his cab. I guess there is a limit to what they can haul in a cab. So he took our suitcases down the stairs and we stayed upstairs a minute. Then we carried the steamer trunk down the five flights of stairs and plopped it into his cab. He was speechless and motionless – I don’t’ think he moved for several minutes, all the while we kept wondering what we would do if he refused to take us. He finally agreed to move us however; he said if he got a ticket we would have to pay for it. We agreed and we weren’t stopped which was very lucky since we didn’t have much money.

We made it to our new place and we were ecstatic. We loved our new pace and the landlady was very nice. I think it cost twelve dollars a week but it was just right for us. There was a living room which had the twin beds, a bathroom and a kitchenette. We both got jobs and met every night for dinner. We had breakfast in the apartment and lunch with friends at work. At one point while we were living in New York we saw them put up a replica of the raising the flag in Times Square. About this time I called Ruth, a friend I met in Frederick, and arranged to meet at the skating rink in Rockefeller Center for lunch in the restaurant where you could sit and eat and watch the skaters.

One day while Nancy and I were home in our new apartment someone knocked on our door and slipped an envelope under our door. We saw it was a telegram and we were terrified. Neither of us would go pick it up. Finally we picked it up and it was only from her parents.

Before we got this apartment we had one on Broadway and Times Square. It was just one big room and bath and some type of kitchen. The funny thing about this one was it didn’t have any doors. Nancy said she thought it must belong to the Nazis because they weren’t allowed to have secrets. We didn’t stay there too long.

I went to an employment office to get a job; they sent me to Stein Hall, an import/export company in a Madison Avenue building many stories high with exciting elevators that went so fast you didn’t know you were moving. When I went to the floor where the receptionist was I gave her the application and asked to see Mr. Stein or Mr. Hall. She was speechless and looking back it seems to me she was considering calling Security. It didn’t take her too long to figure it out, and then she sent me to see Miss O’Neil who placed me in an office where I did statistical typing. I didn’t last too long there and that’s when they sent me to work in Lucille’s office which is where I stayed until I left the company. Our job was to keep track of the salesmen in the field who sold our products. People called us from all over the world and I remember I was really impressed when we got a call from China and the man spoke to me in Chinese!! This was my last job in New York. Although I do remember that one day Miss O’Neil called me into her office to ask me if I would like to taka e a refresher course in shorthand so they could give me a better job. I tried to do this but the school was way downtown in a really old building and really difficult to get to at night and I guess I just didn’t have enough interest to put forth the effort.

One Sunday we were invited to my boss’ house in Pelham Manor. Lucille was my boss and she was a wonderful person. She took me to lunch one day and after lunch she took me over to Chase Manhattan Bank and insisted that I open a savings account, which I did. She was sort of looking for a husband, there weren’t too many left, they were all in the army. So when my Brother Clifford’s brother-in-law, Art came to New York, I introduced them. Art brought a friend so we all went to Roseland, a nice, huge dance hall. Lucille didn’t want to date him even though he was a very nice guy. Art might not have been sophisticated enough for her. I hope she found someone good enough for her. At work she treated us girls the same. She was kind and considerate and fair with us all. She was a good Catholic. It was a wonderful work experience. One of the engineers at work took three of us over to Bryant Park where he took pictures of us sitting on a big stone wall. At Christmas we had a party at the Sherry Netherlands Hotel, a swanky place with fancy chandeliers. It was a pretty fancy party. I had never been to such a party. I tasted caviar for the first time. I didn’t know what it was so took a big bite and didn’t like it. It looked like chopped black olives.

Some time when I worked in Stein Hall, a plane flew into the Empire State Building. We could see it from our window. Mr. Stein called us into his office to listen to it on the radio.

Another job I had in New York, was with the Gibbs Office Furniture Company. This company was owned by Mrs. Gibbs and run by her son. He was an alcoholic and hardly ever came back from lunch. When he did he was usually drunk and the receptionist had to make excuses for him when his Mother came in to check on things. But soon I left the company to move back to North Dakota so I don’t know how this turned out. The girl at the switchboard taught me how to work the switchboard but I don’t think I ever really operated it.

We attended some parades in New York, I loved it that they threw confetti down from the office windows and literally covered the streets. We tried to get the confetti on us.

Nancy and I did a lot of sightseeing. We went to the Empire State Building, the Little Church Around the Corner, and St. John the Divine Cathedral, the Staten Island Ferry, and the Museum of Modern Art. Miss Bloom, Nancy’s voice teacher was dating Mr. Johnson, the manager of the Metropolitan Opera House. They encouraged us to go to a ballet there. We decided to try to get tickets on the spur of the moment and as luck would have it we got tickets in the last row in the last balcony! After the usher seated us he offered to let us sit on the stairway for fifty cents, and we did. We also went to Town Hall to see Ole Bill’s daughter sing; she was terrible. She wore a white dress with a fake rose at the neckline. Ole Bill was a Norwegian hero of sorts so I sent the playbill to my father who admired anyone who was Norwegian. We also saw Giselle with a famous Russian ballerina Tamara Toumanova performing.

On one of our trips downtown we took a tour of the RCA Building and saw what was possibly the first television ever. Instructions were to stand in front of a light and your image would appear on the screen. Nancy did this but I thought it was pretty spooky so I didn’t do it. Who knew??? We saw the Rockettes and Frank Sinatra. . While we were at RCA we went to Johnny Johnson’s radio show. He wasn’t a very big star but we enjoyed watching the show. In some of the stores on Times Square there were displays of the first television sets in the windows. The pictures on them were very fuzzy and so we rarely paid much attention to them -- thinking this will never go anywhere!!

One day we were at a vegetable market where we were trying to choose tomatoes when the owner, a little Italian guy saw us and chased us with admonitions never to come back to his market. He didn’t want us squeezing the tomatoes. We had favorite eating places and one was Child’s, another was Bird in the Hand, a chicken place where they served chicken and fries in a basket. The Automat was the answer to fast food at this time. There was a big clock somewhere by our apartment so after we saw the movie ‘The Clock’ starring Judy Garland, we made this our meeting place. When we lived on 94th Street our landlady was really nice to us. She had a houseboy named Edward, he was actually an old man and we always suspected that he came into our apartment because some or our things seemed to be misplaced or at least we thought they were. We never told her because we actually felt sorry for him even though he looked kind of sneaky, we also thought he was sort of dim witted.

After Gordy went overseas, Mrs. Kahn, the mother of Saul Kahn, a teammate of Gordy’s, had me over for lunch. She lived in the Bronx and I took the subway there. She served matzo ball soup and Chicken. It was very good and I had never had that soup before. She also invited us to Saul’s coming home party at her home after he got back. All his relatives and friends were there. They had food and dancing. It was a nice evening and I think Mrs. Kahn was a very good example of a ‘Christian’ and more so than a lot of ‘real’ ones!

Gordy came home shortly after the war ended. To get out of the service he had to go to Florida to be mustered out of the army. His mustering out pay seemed like a lot of money in those days so we decided to take a belated honeymoon. They suggested the Adirondacks which sounded good to us even though we didn’t know what to expect. They did everything for us: got the train tickets and everything. All the plans were made by this agent and all we had to do was get on the train to this resort. When we got there they had someone there to meet us and took us to a little cabin where we had to spend the night because our room wasn’t ready yet. Anyway, we didn’t get in until about midnight and it was just part of the experience. The next morning bright and early they had someone come and get us to take us to our room in a bigger cottage where several other couples were staying. This place was ideal for relaxing. They had no radio or newspapers. I think they might have had telephones but we didn’t need them. We went swimming and they had great meals where everyone ate together. At night they had dancing and we went with another couple we met there. We had a grand few days.

When we got back to New York, he wanted to show me the big city, so he took me to the Diamond Horseshoe; a very nice restaurant although it was overcrowded with tiny tables that were so close together there was little room between them. The important thing was Tommy Dorsey’s band was there although Tommy never actually showed up.

My brother-in-law, Brock, came to town on business and wanted to do some sightseeing. So we took him to the usual spots. The most exciting thing about his trip was that he got us tickets to ‘Life with Father’, the most popular play on Broadway, which was sold out every night. He just went up to the window and said he was a poor country boy from North Dakota and doesn’t get to New York often. That’s what he told us. This play had the longest run for years

We called home to my sister, Aggie, and she wanted us to come home for a visit. We both had jobs to go back to so after a few days we went back to New York and resumed our lives there.

Soon I got pregnant with Linda and when I wrote Aggie she encouraged us to move back to Grand Forks to live. And by this time I decided I didn’t want to live in New York and raise a family. We had no trouble renting our five room apartment, we went to an agency and they found someone else to rent our apartment. There was a government regulation that the new renters had to buy the existing furniture from us. And paid us $1000 for it. We moved back to North Dakota and got an apartment in my Brother Clarence’s basement. Apartments were almost non-existent after the war so we were lucky to get this one. However Clarence had a nicer and bigger apartment in his upstairs so we moved up there. It was a lot of trouble for him to evict the present renters because there was some sort of regulation about evicting anyone presently living in your building and especially if they were servicemen or relatives of one. Clarence was able to convince them that we had been in the service too and were going to have a baby. Linda was born in the Deaconess Hospital in Grand Forks that August and we lived there for about a year.

When we got back home to North Dakota, Gordy got a job with Pontiac Motors. My doctor lived right next door and so kept track of my progress and would take pictures of me going back and forth from our apartment to Aggie’s house. This was a great time of my life we had some of my old friends and made new ones too. We both learned to play golf and joined Lincoln Park Golf Club. We had potluck dinners every Saturday night and golfed at least once week. The biggest event at the club was when Patty Berg came to town and played with one of our best golfers.

When Linda was about four years old I decided to get a job so applied for one at the Radio Station by writing a poem. It was a huge surprise when I got the job. The day I applied for an interview with the manager I wore a blue and white polka dotted dress and when I went to his office he was wearing a tie of the same fabric!! That caused quite a commotion. My job was secretary to the manager but I did other things too, I typed up the log for the next day and helped choose records for the next day. They had a small room with shelves of records so it wasn’t that easy to find what they asked for. Anyway I liked this job. While I was at KILO we had the dubious job of writing and airing a commercial for a funeral home. This was the very first time a funeral home had advertised anywhere and a very touchy subject back then. The guy from the advertising agency was so worried that he would offend someone he came around and asked everyone for help in choosing the right words. I guess he did O K because from then on it wasn’t such a big deal. Mr. Stone wasn’t too worried about it he was transferred here from Miami and more sophisticated than the rest of us at this time.

When Gordy and I decided we needed a bigger place we found a government project in the area. It was old army barracks which they had made into apartments. Each building was divided into two apartments so we rented one. Most of the young couples who rented these units had been in the service and we all had that in common. We had to decorate them so I borrowed some Home magazines from a friend who was very talented and we got a lot of good ideas from that and also from her unit which we liked and also copied!! We had some unpainted furniture so painted some red and some green. My father made cupboards in the kitchen which was completely bare when we moved in. Gordy had a client at the agency where he worked so got her to come over and measure for drapes!! I think ours was the second best one!! We liked it here. Gordy built a big sand box for Linda and all her friends. And I was happy to see it almost always full of kids!

From there we built a house. Linda was three years old by now. We got a lot in the south end where Aggie lived and Linda could walk over to visit. It was a two bedroom, living room, kitchen and large storage, bath and nice basement where Linda had a Halloween party the first year we were there. The one thing about it was that it had a flat roof which was a fad for young couples at that time. Soon the garage where he worked was sold and he had to look for another job. Somehow he met the owner of another Pontiac Dealership which was located in Minot and they hired him as Manager. So we moved to Minot, we loved Minot and joined the Newcomers club where I met a lot of others and especially a friend from high school. We played bridge every week and had other socials too. They had a baby shower for me because I was expecting Jayne but I had to miss that because it was almost time and I wasn’t feeling well. Jaynie arrived on time and was a beautiful addition to our family. Linda loved school and had lots of friends. The school was right across from our house and they had an ice skating rink on the playground so she would walk over the field to skate there. I couldn’t go with her but I was able to sit and watch her from the living room window. She was so determined even when she fell she would get up and start off again!!

Soon this garage was sold so again we had to relocate. One of the salesmen from Chrysler Corporation who called on Gordy told him of another job opening with the company so he got in touch with them and got the job. His territory had its headquarters in Moorhead, Minnesota so we moved there. We first rented an apartment but after a while we had the opportunity to rent a house near to Linda’s school. I think we lived here only a few months until Chrysler transferred him to Detroit. This was a new experience for me and someone from the company called me and asked if I would mind moving I agreed and so we moved to Detroit.

Some time later we were transferred to Washington, D.C. and found a big old house in Bethesda. We loved this house although it was pretty old and the kitchen was tiny. It had many windows and we put white cottage type curtains on every window downstairs! Anyway the retired Regional Manager and his wife invited us out to dinner to welcome us before he left for his new job. He took us to the Shorham Hotel and was excited to see Ernie Pile there! To get ready for this important dinner I wore a black taffeta skirt I think I got for $10 in Hudson’s basement, and a black cotton pique blouse which was on sale for $3.00 at a boutique before we left Detroit. This store was located on 7th street and I think it was the answer to California’s Rodeo Drive. Everything was designer and very expensive so I was lucky to find this bargain. We hardly ever went there but sometimes just for a lark. The other girl wore a cotton organdy dress and although it was pretty the night was really hot and I don’t think they had air conditioning so her dress was all wrinkled at the end of the evening. My taffeta skirt probably was too but not as bad as organdy! We danced and had Champagne which was a first for me. I can’t remember who the band was. That was my first social in D.C.

While in Washington, D.C. We were transferred back to Detroit after a few months time. Although we were only renting an agency had already started to show the house. We were amused when sometimes a limo would pull up in front of the house and foreign looking people would get out and come in to look at the house. They had tape measures to measure the rooms because I was told that they were usually from Europe and their furniture was larger than the average. And this was the most important thing they required in a house.

I had a friend here whose husband was with the State Department and she invited me over for coffee. I was so amazed to see one wall of her dining room had cupboards with glass doors and I could see that these cupboards were full of wine glasses. When I mentioned this to her she said they had to entertain lots of people from her husband’s office at the State Department and most of the time it was just cocktails and snacks so they had to serve wine and so the glasses were just plastic. She brought out the Silver Service when we had coffee so I was duly impressed! One day I had her over to my house for coffee and our house was up for sale by then. But when I answered the phone to talk to another friend the Real Estate Agency interrupted my call saying she had important client to look at the house and to hang up

My first trip with Chrysler was to Puerto Rico. I had never been on such a trip before so of course I was pretty excited. I had to buy some new things and one was a green organza dress and I wore black patent leather shoes and black gloves not too great for Jamaica. All the other ladies had either white or pastel dresses and everyone had a white sweater for an evening cover up unless they didn’t have a fur cape. We had to wear long dresses for some of the events and I think I had the proper thing for that. This one was also green but a lot more summery but I did wear the same black patent leather shoes with that too.

Many years and several moves later…

When Gordy retired from the Agency we decided to move to St. Louis to be near Linda and her family. So we bought a house on The Lake of the Ozarks. We enjoyed this so much because the kids could all come to visit nearly every holiday and Jayne and her family came at least once a year. The kids loved the dock for swimming and we bought a boat so they could go water skiing. We also bought a Torpedo which they all could ride with no problem. Gordy made a loft in one end of the upstairs above the dining room so the kids could have a place to play and get away from it all!! They loved the loft. Gordy also made a small deck right outside the kitchen door so we had a place to barbecue.

There were numerous places to eat out and we frequented them all. One was on the lake called The Boardwalk, a neat casual place to dine. They had bowls of peanuts in the shell on each table and you just threw the shells on the floor, At first this went against the grain but after a while sort of old “timey” as in the old western movies I think they did that. There were lots of golf courses here too and we went quite often. We went to dinner almost every Saturday night and there was a Cinema in town for rainy days. We went to The Boardwalk by boat and on the way home we would stop for a snow cone. One restaurant was called The Swiss Village way up on a high hill. You had to take a trestle a stairway but had to shut down because someone was taking it up and it broke and this person died.

There was a Christmas party every year at one of the restaurants, and we attended that and our neighborhood association also had one. The association also had a fish fry every summer where we all brought something and the host would fry the fish.

Gordy got sick so we had to move into town so he could get treatment. We bought a great condo in Creve Coeur. The birds were not supposed to make nests on our decks but one year I noticed that they had laid eggs in one of my old flower pots and I just couldn’t destroy them. The Mother sat all day for many weeks and finally there were some peeps from the pot and two baby birds were born!!! They were so cute and the Father showed up at this time and sat while the Mother brought worms to feed the babies. I watched them for many weeks and finally they were big enough to teach to fly. They would stand on the edge of the pot and the Mother would nudge it to go out on its own and finally they did and I saw them both go flying away. It was the most heartwarming experience in this place. They would get off and fall down and keep trying till they had mastered the knack of it and the Mother never left them until they did.

In Creve Coeur I took water aerobics. We met at a pool and the Teacher would come and teach us to walk backwards and sideways in the water. She brought different things to use in the water such as foam noodles and we would have to use them for different games.

When we were in the condos I took Mitzi for a walk on the leash. When the elevator stopped and I got out but Mitzi didn’t and the door shut so Mitzi was in the elevator and the leash and I were in the hall outside. Someone rang for the elevator so it started going up while I was still holding the leash. It so happened that one of our neighbors said her son would know what to do so she called him and he came right over. I don’t know how he got Mitzi out but he came down carrying Mitzi and smiling he said ”Uncle Larry got Mitzi” I was so grateful I couldn’t thank him enough. Mitzi was so scared she was shaking because when you call for help it makes a loud noise so she is skittish about noise after that. This was an unpleasant event and anyone with a precious pet can appreciate that.

We were in the condo only about two years when Gordy had to go to a nursing home and I went to a retirement home nearby.

Written between 2004 – 2006.

Marian Knudson (Babe) Barnes
May 12, 1921 – August 6, 2008

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