Friday, March 23, 2018

My Family Part 2

Melvan was my father. I really do not know much about his childhood. I know that they moved several times. They always lived in the same part of Nebraska.

Daddy was born in a little bitty town named Winnetoon. I have visited there a number of times since I moved back to this part of the country. It is almost a ghost town much like where I live now.

I have heard stories of floods when they lived in Niobrara. It seems that losing belongings due to catastrophies was a constant in his life.

My grandfather was a drinker which apparently caused a lot of pain to the family. My father went home one day to see that his father was drunk again. Daddy told Grandpa that he was through fighting because of Grandpa being a drunk and embarrassing the family.

Daddy went out again, lied about his age, and joined the Navy. It was the 1940's and World War II was in full swing.

Grandma was a cold woman. Maybe life had given her more than she could deal with and still be happy. Most of her children moved as far away from her as they could. There were few visits of aunts and uncles in my life.

But Daddy loved her. We have a picture of him in his uniform taken in one of the California port towns before he shipped out to engage the enemy. On the back he wrote "To the best Mother in the world".

One day Grandpa came home from work. Grandma said he walked through the door and fell to the floor. He had a heart attack and died instantly.

Daddy's ship was under radio silence at the time. He did not learn of his father's death until too late to go home for the funeral. I believe he always regretted that the last time he saw his father they had an arguement.

When Daddy went home after the war he was sort of at loose ends. He had no girl left behind. Most of the girls he knew were married and starting families.

His younger brother was dating a nice girl who had an older sister. My uncle arranged a blind date and both couples went out together.

Daddy's date was a pretty young woman. They hit it off right away. Her name was Evelyn who became my mother.

Mom had been raised as a farmer's child. Her father put great store in education. His children attended schools in the country. Then in high school they rode their horses to town every day.

Mom had a happy childhood. There were lots of brothers and sisters. There were the animals, especially horses. And plenty of work to do.

The girls learned to cook from Grandma who was the absolute best cook ever. They kept a garden and canned  or pickled what they did not use for meals. Mom could make jelly, jam, or butter from any fruit.

Evelyn was the valedictorian of her graduating class. She was the most intelligent person I have ever known.

Mom was also artistic .Her first love was literature. It was probabloy because of her that my whole family reads. She even passed it on to Daddy. (He made her a sports nut so they were even.)

Mom had short stories published in women's magazines when I was a child. As a matter of fact the first meal I cooked by myself was because she had a meeting with publishers in another town and did not get home on time. Bacon and scrambled eggs were the fare of the day. I was either 6 ot 7.

She also sketched. When she began working with charcoals she drew portraits of out eachers for us to give them as Christmas gifts.

She painted too. I wonder what happened to all those things.

Because her parents used to play for barn dances (Grandpa played guitar, banjo, and fiddle; Grandma played piano.) Mom decided to learn to play the piano. She read a few books and practiced a lot. She would not have been able to play Carnegie Hall but you could tell what she was playiing.

So Melvan and Evelyn married. I think Daddy liked being part of a loving family. They spent their honeymoon at my grandparents' farm.

One of those days they decided to go hunting. When they came back Daddy was carrying Mom. She had shot herself in the foot. For years an occasional ball from the shotgun shot would work its way toward the surface of her foot and she would have to remove it.

to be continued......

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Weather Report

By the time you read this it will be old news. I just had to jot it down because it has been interesting to see.

Last week I complained about the snow and the river rising. Then I told you in another post about the snow still on the ground but melting. The weather had turned warmer.

Today has been different. When I awoke I saw on the weather report that a winter weather advisory had been issued. Oh joy!

I got up and had breakfast as I checked the news on my computer. The sky was overcast but we were still dry.

My neighbor was busy cutting wood for his wood stove. He was raised in a much warmer climate and suffers in the winter. Cold weather bothers him long after the rest of us are wearing lighter clothes.

It began to sprinkle a bit. My neighbor wheeled his wood inside. I watched the occasional drop of rain on the window.

Soon I saw more and more drops. Then it rained as if it meant business.

I watched the wooden railing on my back porch as the rain formed a thin film of ice. It looked slippery.

Later I heard a harder sound as the rain was mixed with sleet. The cutting sound of sleet made me check the wooden railing again. The ice on it was thicker.

Now comes the interesting part. The wind was blowing a little and I would hear a tinklng noise every now and again.

Of course I had to run checkthe porch.

The wind was picking up now. It was blowing the layers of ice off the tree branches.

The wooden railing looks like someone broke a bunch of light bulbs all over it. In fact the whole yard looks that way. It is very pretty.

As I look at some of the leafless branches a couple of yards over I can see they are covered with a thin layer of ice. Again so pretty.

Now I am waiting for the snow that is supposed to follow. We are only supposed to get about 2 inches of snow. Cross your fingers.


It is the next day now. I am listening to the sounds of rain falling on my roof.

Except it is not rain. The ice and snow are melting from the trees. Most of the snow has emlted and is gone. The ice is now raining down.

Looking out the window I can see what looks like a strange rain or snow coming down.

I keep thinking it will stop soon.  There are a lot of trees so I do understand that they all need to shed the ice. What astounds me is that they have been at it for close to an hour and a half. There must have been more ice than I thought.


A couple more days have passed. I see no snow on the ground. The temperature is about what it should be for this time of year.

But wait! There is more. It is supposed to snow tomorrow. Sigh...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Looking Out My Back Door

I am not like Creedence Clearwater Revival. When I look out my back door I do not see a giant doing cartwheels or a statue wearing high heels. But today I have happy creatures dancing on my lawn.

My computer sits near my back door which has a beautiful full length glass panel. I love to look out and see what the weather is like. Today it is sunny. I know... last time I was complaining about a blizzard and flooding. But today the weather is nice.

There is still a lot of snow on the ground. It is in patches. Way toward the back the garden plot is completely covered with snow. There is no sign of green anything yet. Although I do see the evergreen trees perking up just a little.

The bonus I get when looking out is the animals that scamper though here.

Right now I am watching a rabbit. It occasionally changes the spot it sits in. It is staying close to the old tractor in my neighbor's back yard. I am wondering why it sits in shady areas instead of being out in the sun. It has been there for more than half an hour now.

There have been several birds today. Some landed on the porch. Some flew by. They probably had a better spot in mind. I watched a robin sitting for the longest time on a baby tree. There are three baby trees in a spot where the neighbor had a pile of chopped wood. They will have to be cut away this spring.

A few feral cats have strolled through. Each must have had a different place to go. Each one went in a different direction.

One surprise for me was the dog I saw. It was from across the street. He is not often let out so he was having a great time. He bounced around only stopping to sniff at an interesting smell.

The squirrels had a good time earlier. They were chasing each other around and up and down a tree trunk. Finally only one stayed to forage on the ground for a little something to nibble on.

I just looked up and saw that the little rabbit has disappeared. I think that is a hint for me to leave too.

Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band. I am going to take a ride on the flying spoon. Wheeeee!

Monday, March 12, 2018


After a very cold and snowy winter we finally warmed up. It took close to a week but finally most of the snow and ice melted. The snowman the little boy who visits his father across the street melted to a short post of snow.

I am ready to be done with the snow and ice. As I am getting older I worry about slipping and falling. It seems that older bones break more easily.

I am ready to be able to sit in the yard. I can watch the birds and squirrels. I can see the gras and trees turn green. I can look at the lovely colors of the flowers all around. Yes. I am ready.

Before I fell asleep last night I heard a few raindrops. I like rain.

This morning I woke up to snow. Lots of snow.

And wind. About 20 miles per hour. Not a terrible wind but respectable. The snow is blowing around.

I look out my window and can see on the back porch that there is about a three to four inch accumulation so far. They are predicting up to eight inches by tomorrow.

So spring is not here yet. Winter is not giving up without a fight.


We were notified this afternoon that we are once again having a blizzard. The Interstate Highway is closed until sometime tomorrow.


Now we are dealing with flood warnings. The Big Sioux River is over the banks about 20 miles from here. Unless we get more precipitation it should be okay in our immediate area but the river is right up to the edge of the banks. What a winter!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Family Part1

I am following my sister-in-law Mary's idea of a little family history. I cannot write everything and that is the purpose of this blog. However this will give an overview.

My paternal grandfather was named George Melvan. He was of German descent born in 1880. From what I understand in his youth he was a bit of a wanderer. He even worked for a time in Montana as a cowboy. I know he had a sister and perhaps a brother. I know little about him.

I do know that when he returned to Nebraska he met Minnie. Minnie was the first child born in the United States to her parents. They were from Denmark. She had brothers Nels, Luther, and Christian. Her sister was Christina who was known as Steenie. There may have been others but again I know little about her family.

After they married Grandpa went to work as a brakeman for the railroad. Grandma stayed home as was the norm. Then came the family. Rolan was first. I am not certain of the exact order of some of the reast. There was a stillborn child. Walter lived only 9 months. Willis, George Melvan, J. Earl, Gerald, Berniece, and Ruby Garnet. Then came 2 change of life babies. My father Melvan Louis was first and then Norman. Melvan was my father.

My maternal grandfather was Howard Landerking. Is that the coolest middle name you ever heard? He was of mostly German descent. He had 3 brothers. Leonard died and was buried in France during WWI then a year later he was reburied in Nebraska. Homer raised his family in Montana. Howard and Harold lived in Nebraska. There is a sister whose name I do not know who also lived in Montana.

Grandpa was a real-life cowboy. He rode the range with the cattle and other cowboys. They only went to town for supplies when needed and it was at least a three day ride by hoese. They slept in the open when they went to town or sometimes would stop at an Indian village where they were made welcome.

When he moved back to Nebraska he met and married Anna Maria. She is of Austrian, Moravian, and Bohemian descent. She had a sister Helen and a brother Victor.

Grandma's mother died when she was young. She was relegated to taking care of the house and cooking while her sister worked the farm with their father. She was not a fancy cook but was the best cook ever. She made homemade bread every day.

Grandma's father is the only great-grandparent I knew. His father died when he was a baby. His mother was burned a few months later when a lantern exploded. He and a slightly older brother were sent to America to raised by an uncle. There were at least 2 other brothers but the family lost touch with them.

Great-grandpa's name was Victor. When I was little I thought he was a leprechaun. He was a big man with a huge chest but for some reason he looked small to me. He was bald on top with a fringe of hair aroind the sides and back of his head. His voice was rather high pitched and he spoke with an accent. To me that meant leprechaun.

Grandma and Grandpa's children were Frances, Florence, Evelyn, Louella, Raymond, Donald, Michael, and twins Keith and Carol. There were also 2 baies who were stillborn. Evelyn was my mother.

to be continued......

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Family Part8

Mary has more

All of us girls were afraid of our own shadow. Here's what happed to Shirley and myself. Mom and Dad had to go somewhere. We were home with the boys and Robbie. A car pulled in across the road, sat there for awhile then they would get in and out of the car, and mess around. Shirley said you holler to them if they don't leave immediately I would send my Dad out. That's what I told them. Here's what they said "why don't you just send him out." Hey, brave us hurried and loaded up Robbie and my brothers and took off in Shirley's car. We went for a long ride, when we returned our parents were home and of course the trouble makers were gone

Mom was very brave, this episode happened in the Spring before she died. It was 2:00 am in the morning. She heard someone knocking at her front door got up and went to the kitchen, where she always left the light on, turned it off and as she looked up (2) guys were looking in the window at her. She said you leave immediately, or I'll shoot you. She then went to the front room to her chair and phone to get her composure. Called Chuck & I, I then called Darwin Solomon and made a beeline out there. Darwin & Emaline were there said they saw no one. We hollered Mom at the door. She was sitting in the chair with her gun. It was fake pistol she got from Aunt Tony but did not sound like one. We called the Sheriff from Akron, they came down to check it out. They were amazed at Mom and her age and still being calm. Here's what she said "If this was a real gun and they opened the door I'd shot the Sons of Bitches. The Sheriff took a drive down the road towards town. He saw (2) high school boys and picked them up, they admitted they were there, just wanted to use the phone. They didn't get any punishment, and that's a crock. I spent the rest of the night with her. As I write this I wonder who got the pistol and hope they still have it. We talked about this so many times and laughed While Shirley was in the hospital, it was a hot day, Mom and I were own our way home. She needed a few groceries, so I just left the window down and said to her if someone puts a hand on this car, shoot em in the head. She said I will!!! We laughed some more.

Dad had to go to a nursing home before he died, became hard to handle, and doing things to hurt himself. He was there for (6) months, broke his hip and went to the hospital where he passed away (St. Luke.

Mom was doing pretty good, but missing Shirley& Pat. Stayed quite strong. Until I lost Chuck (4) days after Pat. Connie & her family were back as they were settling up there Mom's estate. When Connie told her about Chuck, she said Grandma got up from her chair and went to the bedroom for awhile, when she came back she was shocked like all, could hardly talk.

She lost so many in such a short time. September through December she & I became closer and stronger, did a lot of talking. I noticed she was not sleeping in her bed but in the reclining chair. She said her stomach hurt when she laid down. She was retaining water and it would come out in small pin hole openings in her legs of course I took her to the Dr. Different test were ordered at St. Lukes and I noticed how hard it was for her to lay on a table for her test. We made it through that but a few weeks later she needed to go the Jones Eye clinic, she was checked routinely for the progress of glaucoma and was medicated for it for a lot of years, but it was taking her eye sight slowly, but she held right in. It was a snowy day. I got her to the car with a walker, she always sat in the back seat, she made it into the back seat but her coat was nylon as she sat on the seat, started slipping. I held & guided her and said just sit down gently in the snow. Her foot was under her and she sat on it breaking the ankle. I called Rick Solomon and his Mom. We called an ambulance and to the hospital she went. She had to have surgery, it was painful. She lived (2) days. She was tired and wanted to die, she mentioned before she was ready anytime and she was. She died very peaceful.

I need to mention after my lo\osing my sisters, we needed someone to live in Shirley's trailer to be with Mom. I was so thankful Sandy, wanted to help. She moved into the trailer and gave Mom the best of care, doing meals and visiting. Between her and I Mom was happy again.

In January 2004 Sandy wanted to get her life back to normal, it just so happened David and Coeta decided to come back to S.C. and moved in Mom's house. Sandy moved to an apartment in Elk Point. David lived there till the acreage was sold which was in September of 2005. He bought a home in Westfield, Ia. The acreage sold for one hundred thousand dollars, all fees had to be paid out of that. It was divided between, Paul, Mary, Mike, David, & Tim. The five of us were blessed to get the inheritance, our parents worked hard to provide for us. Always remember some children get no inheritance, parents just don't have a thing left

March of 2008 the new owner tore the house down. Shirley's trailer is still there and her beautiful weeping willow tree, she and Pat both loved Willow trees. It will make a nice home someday. At this point, I'm not remembering anymore stories. If any of you think of something to add just let me know.

With all you kids spending time with them something will come to your mind.

Even though I am not gettmg into in-laws I need to mention Bud, after moving up the hill from them, pleased Mom in everyway he could, attending to all her needs. He's a very kind person. As a couple Bud and Pat took wonderful care of Mom and Dad. Bud moved back to Idaho to take care of his mother. Pat, Shirley, Mary & Chuck and Sandy, did all they could to make her life comfortable. She was well cared for and happy. We all remember her for her contentment in life.

This is health information you should know. Mom & Dad both developed high blood pressure. Mom was in her late 40's - Dad late 50's. Mom had some heart problems controlled by meds, also developed asthma in later years. She had breast cancer and had a breast removed when about 65. She had glaucoma(disease of the eye) was medicated for that. Dale had it to. - Dad developed hardening of the arties in late 70's. Actually both of them did very well. Dad's family died from heart problems - Mom's also. - as far as I know. She had arthritis

Dad - Cause of death - body wore out - age 92 - Nov. 19, 1997
Mom breast cancer - 65 yrs. old - cause of death-body wore out - age 95 Dec. 19, 2003
Shirley pancreatic cancer - 72 - cause of death - July 1.2002
Pat brain tumor - 75 - cause of death - Aug. 8, 2003
Mary breast cancer - 69
Dale massive heart attack - cause of dead -65 - June 4,1992
Paul- Alzheimer's - complications - cause of death - kidneys failed - 74 June - 20:06
David- 63 - cause of death- cancer October, 2011

TO SUM THIS UP, we were born to parents who had high morals, a Christian background, stuck behind us no matter what, and provided for our needs. We ALL have a Iot to be proud of.

Mary wrote this in 2008. I read it from time to time for the stories of my children's family. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Family Part7

Mary writes on

Tim didn't like school very much nor the rest of them either. Mom would have them ready for the bus, Tim would sneak outside and wave the bus on. Mom could of killed them. They got kicked off the bus a lot, especially Mike he loved to fight, he was the bully of the school, no doubt about it he was tough. The boys quit school at an early age. I'm sure the teachers were not to unhappy about losing the trouble makers, (_____________ boys). They did make a lot of friends and made it a habit to always protect the younger kids and kids that were not fighters. They just worked on the other bullies. Kids they grew up with will reminisce about the boys, said they were good, but just loved to fight. Mike the leader and Dick Bruneau next in line.

Mom made appointments for them to see the dentist. No one wanted to go in first. The rest of them talked David in to be first. He was not impressed with anything, Mom was told to leave the room, the dentist said he would settle him down and not let him be afraid. OH SURE - It wasn't to long and David came out, the dentist also. He said - he bit me and wouldn't let go, broke the skin. You'll have to find another dentist for all of them. David became the hero!!!!!!!

Mom would get cleaned up for the grocery store, the boys always wanted to go, she said NO you won't clean up - I'm ashamed of you. They would beg and say we will sit in the car, I promise. Well OK - She would be shopping and one at a time they would find her in the store, embarrass her, go back to the car. When she came out they asked her what did you get me? How about a slap across the face.

This instance happened at one of the rental farms. Mom & Marguerite decided to wallpaper the living room, ceiling & sidewalls. Gee they were pleased when done looked great. The next day mom went into the living room, this is what she found? mice had eaten holes in the ceiling and sidewalls, the paste was made of flour and water, the mice loved it, yum, yum. What a shame, I'm sure she cried about it

Talking about moves most of the houses had bed bugs they get into the walls, and as soon as warm bodies moved in, they came to feast on our blood They are small flat red bugs, nest in corners of the mattress, waiting for us at night. In order to get rid of them, the springs of the bed (made of iron) would be taken out side and burnt on a wood pile. The mattress's were taken outside and sprayed with kerosene, lay in the sunshine till night, springs and all were brought back in. We slept peacefully. This had to be done often so we never thought anything of it.

After Robbie passed away, Mom got in to the hobby of making plaques for hanging on the wall. Bought molds, used plaster of Paris for her mixture and painted them. Some of them were pheasants, kitchen prayer, dogs, antique looking wall hangings, etc. She did a good job and sold many. Trudy has the cats mom made in her family room.

Her Dr. Jamison had the Jamison clinic. He needed a cleaning lady, so hired her. She did this for many years enjoyed every bit of it. Shirley would take her on Saturdays and pick her up in the evening when she finished. She made lots of friends and as we know a very good worker.

We had outhouses for ever, got used to that too. Our neighbors were all the same, runmng to the outhouse, night time a bucket in the kitchen. Ours was not to comfortable lots of time it sat on a slant. This takes the cake, a new hole had to be dug, the outhouse had to be moved over the hole. Dad was not thinking and set the outhouse with the door facing towards the road, wouldn't of been so bad but it had no door. Mom's bomb went off, course Dad didn't think this was so bad, it still took him at least a week to build the door. Hey - What does a women have to put up with?

Bath time at our house was done in the kitchen in a very large tub. Water had to be heated on the stove in buckets, then dumped in the tub. Girls were first then the boys. We were very modest, so the boys stayed away till Mom told them it was their turn. We never had a shower while growing up. Mom did not get that until many years down the rode. Mary & Paul came back one summer, built another bedroom and put indoor plumbing & a shower. Mom was delighted!!!!!!!!!

When all the relatives came back for dad's funeral, of course we had a get together at Mom's. Mike caught the horse and gave all the grandkids rides. Everyone had a good time. We all had sadness for losing dad but joy came with good times and reminiscing.

Dad used to tell stories about hunting Jack rabbits in Minnesota, when he was just a child with his family. The boys would go hunting, he said the rabbits were as tall as a small cow and made more than one meal.

Moving day was not fun. All farmers that rented ground had to move March 1. It was usually cold and deep snow. Our cattle had to be herded to the next farm along side the road. The boys rode horses to keep them in line. The rest of the animals were put in wagons & hayracks and moved that way. Our furniture was also loaded the same way. Mom & Dad were so relieved when that was finished, but guess what, Mom still had to get something to eat for all of us. I'm sure she was beat by the end of the day.

For fun when we went to Whiteads house we would lay on a bed spring tied between two trees. The girls were first, we would lay on our stomach and hang on to the springs for dear life. The boys would get us going so high that the spring would actually jump and bounce, just what the boys wanted. We never got threw off, what a wonder. We girls couldn't get it going so high for the boys, but they would still scream slow down. What we girls liked was to be pushed gently, it was easy to fall asleep. We would use a blanket to lay on. When it rained gently we were protected by the leaves on the tree. Doesn't that sound soothing.

Shirley saved our lives on January 4, 1947. Pat was expecting Connie, all the guys were at work. We did not have a phone and Pat needed a ride to the hospital. Mom said go out on the road and hitch a ride to Solomons, they'll get Pat to the hospital. Shirley waved a car down This old gent was alone, Shirley told him the problem and slid in beside him, I was by the window, as we were getting close to Solomons Shirley said we want off at the next farm. He seemed to speed up, so Shirley reached in front of me opened the door and pushed me out, she jumped out right behind me. All I remember was sitting along side of the road, Shirley close beside me. We were a little scratched up on the legs, nothing big. The old gent did not stop, just kept on going, he must have been up to no good. Solomon's got Pat to the hospital on time. Connie was Dad & Moms first grandchild. She was cute, small, chubby, and a lot of dark hair. Everyone's pride and joy.

to be continued...