by Donna Johnson

Thanks for making my birthday lovely!

I'd like to "publish" my thanks to all involved in helping me celebrate my birthday! To my sweet husband and our super terrific children and grandchildren...thanks for a very fun time! Thank you for the awesome gifts and helping me celebrate my larger number. It means a great deal to me!

A huge thank you to my special friend, "Sis" Donna R, for her tremendous gift! Also, to my friend, Barb, for the lovely presents she gave me. To the rest of you that remembered my birthday, thanks so much! Snail mail cards from DeLoris, Elaine and Muriel. E-cards and letters from many, including Mom and Dad and even from a couple old schoolmates. Lovely phone calls from my former roommate, Lyla and my sweet friend, Patricia from the cities.

On Friday our family all met us at Speedway in Fergus for a very good meal. So much fun to have all together for a visit, I truly appreciate them all making their schedules work to fit me in! Thanks guys!

Peggy and Eddie made a quick appearance at the restaurant to say "howdy." They'd been over a couple nights earlier, surprising me a with a fun gift and a short visit. Thanks guys!

As we were just finishing our meal (being it was my birthday, mine was 1/2 off), Becky pointed my attention to the door and there was Muriel and Merle! What a nice surprise! After they'd almost finished their meal, we joined them and visited for a couple hours. Thanks to both for visit and gift. We enjoyed our time spent with them and said we need to meet them more often! (so now to remember to do so :-)

Wyatt, Jolene, Rylie and Chris headed back home, as the adults all had to work the next day. Lori, Aaron and Weston spent the rest of the week-end with us. In spite of the cooler temps, we enjoyed some outdoor activities. Caity had a great time trying to make baskets, accomplished 11, which is no small feat as the hoop is for the big guys! Jayce worked on throwing the baseball and trying to catch it, not always that successfully, but he enjoyed the process anyway!

Thanks to all, once again, for making my birthday a lovely time!


by our St. Cloud Correspondent

An Interview with Tami Anderson

Our intrepid Tami has returned from far away El Salvador, enlightened, enriched and with a few stories to tell her grand kids. Her "red-eye" flight returned on March 30th to round out a trip which was a mission of mercy and learning for this Pacific U student of Optometry.

Tami's central duties as part of the aptly named AMIGOS included performing retinoscopies on underprivileged native people and then matching their prescriptions with donated eyeglasses. The work Tami did at the clinic in Suchitoto was entirely donated, done for the experience and the satisfaction of helping people to have better vision.

Tami's accommodations were quite modest in the nearby village of Ciudadela, where she was shuttled by school bus to and from the clinic. Farm animals roam the streets freely, Tami said, and the sewer and garbage removal systems are not very advanced. Despite some "eye-opening" (No pun intended) living standards, Tami said the people were friendly to outsiders and quick to pitch in on manual tasks.

Tami met a few challenges, including incessant rooster-crowing and fashion-minded locals. Apparently, in Ciudadela, everyone owns a rooster and their cacophonous songs can be heard day and night, which can be somewhat unnerving, according to Tami.

Sometimes when a match was made between the patient and eyeglasses, the patient would be unhappy with the style of frames they were paired with. The language barrier would then add to the challenge of trying to explain to the patient that it was a "one-shot deal."

There were other challenges as well. Her first supper in Ciudadela was eaten entirely in the dark in a dining room that wasn't well-equipped for the unseasonal rainfall. An electricity outage made for a water shortage as well, since the water is regulated by electric pumps. This was not quite what Tami had in mind when she thought of "dinner by candlelight."

Tami said the language barrier also became a problem when trying to explain bifocals to non-English speaking people. Such simple concepts as "far" and "near" can become pretty abstract to people of two different languages, she said.

All in all, the experience was a success for everyone involved, both students and patients, and we are all very proud of Tami.

By Beaver

February 4th, we slept in, and then checked out the visitor center near our hotel. We drove up Highway 90, stopping to look the Biloxi Lighthouse and to walk on the beach. We went looking for the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum near the bridge to Ocean Springs. As we entered the parking lot, we saw a farmers’ market nearby. Farmers were selling live chickens and ducks, as well as fresh fruit, nuts, canned goods and craft junk. We bought some wonderful pecans and a few tangerines, and then went to see the museum.

At the museum, watched a film about Hurricane Camille, which brought back some memories of the terrible destruction that I had witnessed in 1969. There were several stories about people who refused to be evacuated and were never seen again, stories I heard first in 1969, but didn’t know that they were true until now.

Leaving the museum, we drove along the Back Bay of Biloxi until we found Boomtown Casino again, where we had another wonderful meal. Fish, strawberry shortcake, pecan pie…didn’t think D was going to want to leave Biloxi! We drove past Keesler AFB; had no desire to go on base even if I could have, which wasn’t going to happen in these times.

Driving west, we found Beauvoir, the mansion where Jefferson Davis, the only President of the Confederate States, lived out his life after the Civil War. The beautiful mansion stands on a 51-acre estate facing the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the estate was used for the Mississippi Confederate Soldiers’ Home, where hundreds of veterans received care. Most of the outbuildings were lost during Hurricane Camille, but the mansion survived in spite of the 8-foot storm surge that brought water up to the level of the first floor.

We learned a lot about Jefferson Davis, ended up feeling a little sorry for him. He seemed really not to have wanted to be President of the Confederate States, and the generals he had were so independent that running the war had have been like trying to herd cats. Our guide at Beauvoir was a friendly, talkative chap, and he recommended going to Natchez, Mississippi, if we wanted to see antebellum mansions, because that’s the only place where they weren’t mostly destroyed during the Civil War. Luckily, it was closing time at Beauvoir, so we headed up the road toward Hattiesburg.

At times we felt like we could be in northern Minnesota, driving through hilly country covered by tall pines. We rolled out of Hattiesburg as darkness was falling, getting into Natchez at 8:30. We found a room at a little motel for $30 and ate supper at Wendy’s -- quite a change from our accommodations and food in Biloxi!

We awakened February 5th to a forecast of 3-6 inches of snow for the area north of us, so got in gear fast, found the tourist center, and chose which mansions we would tour. We toured Rosalie, the site of Fort Rosalie long before the mansion was built. The fort was abandoned when the Natchez Indians massacred the French inhabitants.

The mansion was built on a bluff above the Mississippi, overlooking Natchez-under-the-hill. Rosalie was used as Union Headquarters during the Civil War. The owners were allowed to put their possessions on the third floor during this time, to be brought out after the Union leaders left. The same family owned Rosalie from the time it was built, about 1820, until it was sold to the DAR ladies who now own and run the mansion. Pretty fancy; can’t imagine living in such a house.

We found our way to Stanton Hall, a BIG mansion, five levels, high on a hill, lavishly decorated, containing many Natchez antiques and many original furnishings. According the guidebook, Stanton Hall is “a classic example of Greek Revival architecture with Victorian ornamental elaborations, some showing the Italianate influence.” Yup, just what I guessed as soon as I saw it.

The Pilgrimage Garden Club owns Stanton Hall. Must be a pretty ambitious garden club. A few more excerpts from the guidebook: “immense Corinthian columns, topped with iron capitals ... door knobs and hinges plated with Sheffield silver ... Italian marble mantels ... massive gold-leaf mirrors ... grand, bronze finished chandeliers.”

Oh, and the ceilings are 17 feet high. Doors between rooms are big and tall, like giants lived there. Supposedly, this is to make the rooms cooler during the hot summers, not for the purpose of impressing the neighbors. Luckily, we were hurrying to get on the road to get ahead of the stormy weather, so we headed north, having agreed to find one more mansion on our way north from Natchez.

The Family Cookbook
Culinary Heirlooms
by Doug Anderson

       This week's recipe is what I like to call "Couch Potato Chic," and it comes to us from an expert in that field. Intrigued? Frightened? Then ready yourself for:

Eric's Monday Night Tuna Melts

       The author tells us: "I invented these after getting bored with regular tuna sandwiches. I make them on the George Foreman grill, but I'm sure they would be just as good prepared traditionally."

       Feeds two or three, depending on how many people are watching you eat.

Canned Tuna (One can)
Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
potato bread (Nice touch, Eric!)
American cheese

Drain excess oil from tuna and scoop into medium size mixing bowl.
Add pinch of garlic powder, a "couple of shakes" of parmesan cheese, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, one dollop mayo. Here the author cautions: "Be careful! Too much mayo will make the mixture slide out of the bread during cooking!" Chop pickles and onions and add to mixture, stir vigorously. Set mixture aside and butter one side of four slices of potato bread, turn over and slather mixture evenly. Then assemble sandwich (sandwiches) and grill until golden brown. Garnish with steak fries and bleu cheese dressing, and Voilà! You have a meal fit for Tom Arnold!

       Thank you, Eric, I had to get one jab in there, but it sounds delicious, it really does. I might substitute raw minced garlic for the powder and boursin cheese for the American, but I'm just a snob like that. Either way, this recipe is a ripe slice of Americana and I'm sure all of our readers will enjoy this family specialty for years to come!

       Next week: Closely-guarded secrets from North Dakota.


Q. I live in a three-bedroom apartment with four other guys so two of us end up sharing a room. At the beginning of the year I had my own room, so not thinking I got a good-sized desk, which fit, nicely in my room. At semester time, however, we decided to switch places so I had to try and fit my desk in another room, which would not happen. I ended up parking my desk in the living room, which happened to be right outside one of my roommate's rooms.

This is all fine and dandy except for the fact that my roommate has this problem with expelling "stuff" and making crude noises. I am wondering what kind of ideas you might have to help me out?

Student from up nort'

Joe: Rule # 1: don't try this at home!

Pete: You could try moving the desk into the hall, this would solve both problems; the first, nobody could ever get close enough to you to expel anything, and secondly, your second man would move out of your room because it would be too hard to negotiate this living arrangement.

Sam: Or… sell your bed frame, then there would be enough room, in your own room, to put your mattress on top of your desk, or vice versa. Then your mentor could be the Mr. Kinko guy. (For all those people who are not exposed to the early days of Kinko's, his first print shop was so small that he had to push the only copier he had onto the sidewalk to print copies with it.)

Joe: Is it a wonder ... that the said roommate who has an "expulsion" problem has his own room? It's a good thing that this is a non-smoking area! Of course maybe this problem requires a mop and bucket; he didn't say, did he?

Pete: For what he probably paid for this "good sized desk" he could have had his own pad without the distractions.

Joe: Ya, that does sound like one Hummer of a desk! Ya wonder if he set the parking brake on the thing when he "parked it in the living room"; maybe if things gets so bad there, he could drive his "desk" back outside where it belongs, and sleep in it, in the parking lot.

Sam: Sir, do you mind cats, as in two male cats and a thirty-something bachelor that chases them in the night? Have you ever considered transferring to St. Cloud State?? We have an inside track on a third floor apartment there. No expulsions included, only expositions.

Enough for now ... 'till next time!

Memory Lane

Grandma Dake
by Patty Dee

I never quite understood as a kid why grandma would never let us go into the hen house to help gather the eggs. I've become a lot more "wise" regarding her decision since I've had my own kids!! I can remember going out to the "little red" hen house in the pasture. She'd open the top door and let us "peek" through the top, but never go in. I can't believe she'd even let us do that; I know it took twice as long, but oh well, that's grandma for you.

Grandpa Dake
by Doug

One very vivid memory that I have is of Grandpa Dake eating onions. He would sit and eat them whole, like anybody else might eat an apple, occasionally pausing to season with a little salt. I guess that really made an impression on my little 3 or 4 year-old mind, because in a haystack of memories, that one sticks out like a pin.

Grandma Cleo
by Donna Johnson

One enjoyable memory I have is riding in the backseat, holding onto a gigantic, plush feeling seat, while standing on the "hump" to see where we were going, as we bounced along on the field road. Grandma and I would be delivering lunch to the men, so they didn't have to stop their fieldwork for very long.

I remember dusting the piano, numerous times, for Grandma; when I finished she would gave me ample praise for the good job I'd done. I also remember being shushed, when she was "rubbering" on the party line. (To you younger ones, that means many neighbors on one phone line and you could listen to their conversations -- each home had a special ring.)

Of course, when I was older, there were many games of Scrabble played. Loved that challenge! And the number one thing I think about when I think of Grandma Cleo, is how she loved to garage sale. It makes me chuckle to myself to see how she's passed on that love of the hunt to so many of her relatives, including myself!

My Dad
by Kathleen Stahlecker

The memories of Dad that I have are just very simple ones. Looking back on those days when I was growing up we were poor as church mice, but I did not realize it, as I knew we were loved, and Daddy provided for the family and that was all that mattered.

Dad's day began when the sun came up and usually went way past dark. We owned a feed store in Valley Mills which was opened Mon. through Sat. the only day off was Sunday. Every once in a while he might shut down early on a Saturday when some of the friends/relatives from Waco and surrounding areas would come for a wiener roast on Hog Creek and maybe some catfish fishing with cane poles.

Also, in the fall they might come out to pick some pecans. Usually when this would happen we would fix a container of homemade ice-cream with an old hand crank freezer, and I usually was the one who had to sit on the freezer as Dad or Stanley turned; talk about boring!! Sundays were usually spent with company after meeting, visiting and having lunch, or if we were by ourselves, we rested and had a quiet day.

Due to Daddy being gone from sunrise to sunset a lot of the time, he was not able to play ball etc. or other things like town kids' Dads. So a special time with him was to be able to go to the silage pit to get feed for the animals, or ride the tractor or go to do the chores. I remember he loved to whistle as he went about doing things. I would try to keep step with him and chime in with my whistling.

I remember after a long day he would come in and lay on the couch waiting for supper. He loved to have me comb his hair with this special nylon brush he had. So, he would read and I would comb.

I know that Dad was stern when it came to doing what he had told you. And I know that when we would misbehave, all mom would have to do was to threaten us with Daddy and at least on my end, I usually would straighten up. I do not remember a lot of spankings from Daddy because all he would have to do is give me his look and I would melt. I remember him saying quite often to me "to turn off the water works and dry it up."

I do remember one instance of Stanley getting in trouble over not feeding the hogs like he was supposed to. I remember he was sent back out to the hog pen to sit on the hog feeders for quite some time, so that he would remember to feed the hogs next time. At that time I was scared for Stan out there in the dark by himself, sitting on the feeders. Now, of course, when you look back, that was our livelihood and Dad had to make an impression on Stan's mind.

When Daddy got sick with cancer, at first he was still able to go about taking care of the feed store, etc. But a year or so into it, I believe, Grandpa and Grandma Gandy moved to be near us and to help out. There would be days that Daddy would hurt so bad in his head that he would just have to be knocked out with pain medicine. I remember that we had an old record player that on good days he would like to listen to. One of his favorite singers was Jim Reeves. He had an album out entitled WE THANK THEE. Dad would have me stand up there by the record player, and sing with the songs while he laid and rested.

I can remember the greatest times were when we either had company from Minnesota or we got to go up there. As far as us getting to go to Minnesota that did not happen often, maybe every five years, or so. The other time that we so loved was when we all, as a family, got to go to convention in July. He always tried to take off time then.

I wish that Patricia could share in some of the memories, for she was only I believe 13 or 14 months when he passed away. Quite a few years ago we all went to Valley Mills on July 4th and went out by the old home place. As far as I know, she really has no recollection of any of it.

Though the memories are very simple, they help Daddy to still live on in our hearts. There are still times he is missed or you wonder what would he have done in certain circumstances. He has been gone I think 36 or 37 years.

We have a letter written June 3, 1945; I believe it was to Grandpa and Grandma Dake. It was written from Germany in WWII. Reminds me of what the boys are going through right now in Iraq. Daddy's comfort was the Lord's protection. It shows at what a young age what came first in his life.

He was a wonderful dad, and I will always cherish the memories. I hope for those who do not have a lot of memories of him this gives you a little insight as to who he was. Love to all, Kathleen



I've been hearing so many good things about the family newsletter that you write. Would it be possible for us to get a subscription to it?!?! It sounds interesting!


An excerpt from a letter:

You know, I have a philosophy ... every child in the world should have a "farm" in their lives ... what wonderful, and comforting memories they bring! Russ has a farm in his childhood, also, and tells some really funny stories of silly and citified child stunts he did when visiting his family farm. Good, wonderful memories!
Love to all ..... Diana

Our Present Staff:
EDITORS: Mom, Grandma, Dorothy, etc.
Beaver------Ashby Correspondent
Doug -------St. Cloud Correspondent
Rich---------Mr. In-A-Jam(b) &
Kim------and his assistant
Donna------Researcher for Memory Lane, etc.