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Sunday, January 6, 2008
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Winter Beauty
Photo illustration © Rich Weiland
Winter has arrived.

Updates -

Family Update -- Wes and JoAnne Sigman family
by Lucinda Farrell
Duluth, MN

Happy New Year to all!

Well let's see where I can start. Alexis is now 3 years old. She is getting so big. I have moved to Duluth to get a job and get back on my feet once again. Wes and JoAnne still have custody of Lexi. They will, until I get on my feet for a while. It is not Wes and JoAnne's fault that I don't get her back. It is just that I have lost my job (but I don't want to get into that).

Alexis went to go see Santa the week before Christmas. She was so cute about it. I am so glad this year was better because she got to see Santa and she was so excited to see him and she understood it more this year about how he comes on one day but now she wants him to come every day so she can get lots of presents. I guess that is how all kids are!

Wes and JoAnne still live in Fairhaven. Wes works for Charter. It is an OK job. He gets through it. Like always. They are still the happiest couple I know. They make me want to have a life like theirs. Happy and loved in a marriage. I know every marriage has its ups and downs, but not them so much. It is nice to know I found such a loving family to raise my child with. The whole family is great to us.

Jessie and Dave got married, Danny is working and has a little boy, Nadaniel. Nadaniel is 2 years old now and he is getting so big. I am so proud of how everyone has turned out since all the kids grew up.

Ryan, Gin, and all the girls are doing great. Ryan is working for Wal-Mart. Gin is a paralegal now. Maggie is 3 years old. (The reason I remember Maggie is because she is the same age as Lexi.) I think Manda is 12 and Katie is 10.

I am so glad to have this family. I thank God every day for putting this family in my life. Love to all for the new year.


Lexie, 3, meets Santa Claus.

Photo © Virginia McCorkell
Frosty Minnesota morning.

Update -- frosty weather in Luverne
by Ginny Dake McCorkell
Blaine, MN

We arrived at Luverne in the fog Sunday evening ... and this is what we woke up to in the morning. It was absolutely beautiful. I spent 40 minutes shooting one picture after another! By the time the 40 minutes were up, the wind had come up and was blowing the frost off the trees. I am SO glad I took time right away in the morning, because it was a very short photo opportunity. Such a thrill ... and I never left the warmth of the car. I just rolled down whichever window I needed to see out of ... just think of the photos I could have gotten had I been dressed for the weather.

Photo © Virginia McCorkell
Frosty berries.

Photos © Ken Carson
Tabasco perches on scratching post, left; joins the scratch fest, right.

Update -- Grandkittens get presents for Christmas
by Miss Kitty
Anchorage, AK

We got an e-mail letter from Kyra with new pictures of the three grandkittens. She said:

"Christmas was all about the cats this year. They got a new scratching post and a toy called Mr. Squid. You can see for yourself how everything was received...."

Photos © Ken Carson
Cheerio, left, & Oreo, right, LOVE Mr. Squid.

Photos © Ken Carson
Cheerio & Oreo chase Mr. Squid while Tabasco looks on.

Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Photo © Donna Johnson
Lone swan hasn't flown south for the winter yet.

Our Winter Wonderland ... got to admit it's pretty.

If you look carefully, there is a lone swan and also a lone mallard (along with three others, not sure what they were). Assume they were not able to fly south.

Beaver and I went to Duane and Ingrid Miller's for an overnight visit, while Shari, Kelly, Nathan and Devan were there. Rosanna and Aaron stopped by with their little Ava for a visit, so was fun to see them.

We enjoyed all the antics of Ingrid's 6 month old, Tweety Too. Such a tame, personable bird! Tweety Too sampled my caramel corn. I'd made some of my puffed caramel corn, to bring along, which proved to be a much bigger hit with some of the humans than with Tweety.

We played the game "pigs," with even Ashlee and Ava joining us on rolling the pigs. Little Ava would throw them and say, "Nothing!" every time. (In pigs, "nothing" is not such a great score.)

We even spotted mountain goats in the living room. Ingrid mentioned she makes sure Duane does a good job of hanging the mounts, as she'd hate to have one fall on someone. I'm guessing Beaver appreciated that fact.

Photos © Donna Johnson
Beaver in Duane & Ingrid's living room, left; Rosanna & Ava, right.

Photos © Donna Johnson
Tweety Too, dancing, left; Ashlee with cockatoo, Tweety Too, right.

The Matriarch Speaks W
by Dorothy (Dake) Anderson
Alexandria, MN

Who Is This?

Let's Play a Guessing Game: Whenever it is handy to do so, we will run a picture of someone of the subscribers or staff members of our e-magazine. Tell us who you think it is -- we will let you know who was the first to guess it right -- and the correct guess -- in the following week's Bulletin.

(Send us some to run; we will line them up in our staging area to take their turn. The photo editor supplied last week's mystery pictures.

How many can you identify? Click here for enlargement.

Answers to last week's mystery pictures (click here to review them):

Editors' Note: Correct guesses appear in bold face type and incorrect guesses in normal type.

The first mystery photo is Beaver, holding his birthday cake, with me [Mitzi] on his lap. He often got an angel food cake, since his birthday was Christmas Eve. The second photo is also me [Mitzi] on one of my birthdays. I always got a cake made from the Baker's Coconut Cut-up Cakes recipe book, which I still have.

After we had kids, I got an updated version of that book and let the kids choose their birthday cakes from it. Those cakes were always made with seven minute frosting and decorated with candies and coconut.

Mitzi Johnson Swenson
Dickinson, ND

Well I definitely know one! We watched lots of Grandpa Donald's old slides when we were kids, so I recognize the handsome young man in the rocking chair as my dad, Beaver Johnson! I don't know who the girl in his lap is, though. It looks like Auntie Kathy, but I'm pretty sure she's older than dad, so I don't think it's her. The face is a dead ringer for Grandma Twila, but I suppose it couldn't be her, either! It must be Auntie Mitzi?

Since most of the pictures tend to have some sort of common theme, I'm guessing the other picture is Donna?

Wyatt Johnson
Moorhead, MN

That would be my big brother, Beaver, and little sister, Mitzi, of course. Looks like 12 candles, so Mitzi must be almost four in the first one, and five in the other.

Richard Johnson
Lowell, OR

That's my Beaver brother and my Mitzi sister! Their birthdays are close together and made the holidays extra special in our family. These photos bring lots of fun memories of making and decorating cakes and roasting hot dogs in the fireplace and playing games.

Kathlyn Johnson Anderson
Anchorage, AK

I'm going to try the GUESS pictures this time. I think that is Beaver with Kathy on his lap with the birthday cake. Then the next one is Jerrianne. Now, I'll be watching to see how right or wrong I was.

Betty Weiland Droel
MoundsView, MN

Photo Editor's Note: Beaver and Mitzi had birthdays five days (and a few years) apart; they always celebrated their joint birthdays for about a week between Christmas and New Year's Day. I came across these photos while sorting some old pictures and thought they were fun. I didn't live at home anymore when these birthdays arrived, but I remember the original ones!

LTD Storybrooke

Editor's Note: Larry Dake is taking a break to organize the next section of his story series about sheep herding. Find all the LTD stories via the Stories link.

Photo © Virginia McCorkell
Frosty farm scene.

By Beaver
Part 1 of 2

There was a junkyard a few miles down the road that we patronized regularly when we had all the old Dodge dump trucks and pickups. It was a spectacular place, a farm place where the farmer got into the salvage business. The owner, known as Scrap, was legendary for knowing where everything was. A trip to the junkyard for parts was always an adventure.

Rows of junked cars and trucks flowed up and down the green hills, for as far as the eye could see. Cattle grazed in the green strips between the rows. The farmyard was full of vehicles, most of them having been dropped off and not yet parked in their final resting place. Piles of scrap iron and parts sprouted randomly from the ground, leaving narrow trails to sheds, themselves full of scrap iron and parts. A few pigs moseyed about.

The house with its green lawn was an oasis in the midst of chaos, with a low fence surrounding a small yard, keeping the cars, iron piles, and pigs at bay.

It was sometimes hard to find a place to park, and one was always nervous if driving an older vehicle, worrying that the forklift might come along and put it in a row of junkers while it was unattended.

It was a place where almost anything could happen. A friend of mine told of a trip he made to the junkyard. As he got out of his car, a skill saw came flying over the barn roof and shattered on a rock when it hit the ground. He walked over to the barn, keeping an eye on the sky. Scrap and his boys were shingling the barn and one of the boys had hollered to his brother to "throw me the skill saw."

"Throw me" was a commonly used local phrase, often substituted for "please hand me." The nuance was lost on the brother who had the saw, and he threw a bit too hard from the other side of the roof peak, clearing the entire opposite side of the roof. Scrap groused that they had gone through three skill saws in as many days.

On one of my many trips to the junkyard, I was having a cup of coffee at the kitchen table while Scrap finished supper before going out to help me look for the part I needed. It was a Saturday evening, and as we sat visiting, a stunningly well put-together girl, in an outfit that I can only describe as tight, purple and shiny, haughtily descended the stairs. She glided through the kitchen, said goodbye to Scrap and his wife, and went out the door as I gaped in astonishment.

I supposed she was Scrap's daughter. Was she on her way to perform in a circus somewhere? Or maybe with a rock band? I could not have been more discombobulated if Scrap had appeared, crescent wrench in hand, wearing a tuxedo.

I had a 570 Cockshutt tractor that had a bad power steering pump. Cockshutts were orphans, the company long defunct and having no dealers in the U.S. I had tried many places to find a power steering pump, but it was an unusual one, so no luck. So I decided to get a pump from the junkyard and make new mounting brackets.

I stopped by the junkyard one day to see what I could find. I had the old pump along, hoping I could get one that would be fairly simple to adapt. When I showed the pump to Scrap, he got a thoughtful look on his face. "Well, let's see now, I think the '62 and '63 Fords with the big block V-8 used a pump like that. They didn't make many of them, but I've got a few. Why don't you go look at some?"

Pointing off into the distance, at a far-off hilltop, he said, "There's one in that row, about half way down, and another two rows over, almost to the other end. No, I think the pump is gone off that one." He gave me detailed directions to three or four cars, and handed me a few tools so I could remove a pump if I found one.

I traipsed off through the acres of cars, sure I was on a wild goose chase. Right where he said it would be, I found a car with an identical pump. I took it off, then looked at the second car he had told me about. Nope, the pump was gone. Several rows over, I found the next one. Bingo! Same pump; this one looked to be in better shape. So I took that off, too, and went back to the farmyard.

Scrap looked at the pumps and said, "Take 'em both for $15; if the first one works, bring me back the other one. If the first one don't work, throw it away and use the other one."

After wrestling that Cockshutt around field ends with no power steering, I would have given him a hundred dollars, happily. I was so impressed that, much to his surprise, I actually did bring the second pump back when the first one worked.

To be continued...

Cartoon © "Capt." Jack Adair
Army cartoon from about 1957 or 1958.

When I Was In The Army...
by Capt. Jack Adair (non-military title)
Coon Rapids, MN

Last time I wrote, I mentioned being a cartoonist in the Army. {In the old days, I was a pilot, in the Cavalry.} A pilot in the Cavalry? {Yep. Sometimes I'd pile it over here, sometimes I'd pile it over there...} Ha Ha, Rufus. But this is my story.

I've been cartooning all my life, nearly, and love it almost as much as playing guitar. In third grade, I was selling full-color copies of Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons for a dime. In high school, I was on the staff of the school paper and the senior class annual. When I went in the service, I did a few cartoons to stick on the bulletin board (No relation to THE Bulletin), making fun of the Army's ways. (NOTE: Beetle Baily was still in college then; I didn't know about him.)

When I got overseas -- Japan -- I was invited to be on our camp paper's staff as their official cartoonist. Enclosed is one of the cartoons I did from that period. I just came across it in a batch of old pictures from that era, and couldn't clean it up better than that.

We were at the range. I don't know if they still use this type of target at the ranges, but they were built in a pit, well below ground level. There were two targets, sort of counter-weighted. One would be up above ground level and being shot at. When the line was cleared, we would pull the top one down, and mark where the hits were, cover the holes, then push it up and, with an emblem on a tall stick, indicate to the shooter where he had hit.

Well, I was working the pit. I had just drawn a cartoon like this, featuring a favorite Sergeant. My fellow target pullers stopped laughing and I turned around, and there was a Major, the range officer. He took the cartoon, and recognized my work. The conversation went something like this:

"So, you're Adair?"

"Yes, Sir!"

"Don't you like officers? You never put officers in your cartoons. Don't you think officers have a sense of humor? I'd like to see more officers featured in your cartoons!"


I later found his regular job was in charge of the camp newspaper. So I changed the Sergeant to a Major, the cartoon was published, and any complainers I just told I was ordered to do it.

An interesting sequel to this. Although it only took a few minutes to actually do a cartoon -- after a long creative process of thinking, sometimes -- I'd usually take off an afternoon from work, go to the paper's office and chat with the regular staff.

One Saturday morning, because of a rule violation by one person, the whole barracks was to be punished by white-washing our building. I told the Sergeant I had to leave to draw my cartoon. Permission denied. In about 15 minutes he returned and gruffly told me to go do my cartoon. Later I found out that one of the staff had mentioned my predicament at the office, and -- get this -- the Major himself called the barracks, spoke to the Sergeant and told the Sergeant to get me to the office ... NOW!

After that, the Sergeant and I got along quite well, as it seems I had some unrealized "pull" in the higher ranks.

{That's it?}

That's it.

{No guitars?}

No guitars.

{Man, how dull!}

Cartoon © "Capt." Jack Adair
Doctor cartoon from 2007.
Click here for another doctor cartoon from 2006.

Home Cookin' H

Lefse: everything you ever wanted to know

By the way, Richard said, when he sent in his guess for the mystery pictures, there’s an excellent Lefse recipe on And so there is, thanks to Mia Nelson, who did the research and posted the recipe, the method and the reasons behind the method. Yum! And thank you!

It's clear that the state of the art is considerably advanced from when Richard and I arrived in Anchorage in 1975 and bought a 100 lb. sack of "number 2" potatoes -- the ones that got hit by the digger during harvesting. We sorted the sackful and made lefse of everything we couldn't eat right away and couldn't otherwise keep from spoiling. We froze the lefse and enjoyed it all winter. --Jerrianne

This and That
by Elaine Wold
Wahpeton, ND

New Year's Memories

One of my remembrances of New Year's Eve when I was young was to go skating on the creek bank with the village kids. The blazing bonfire kept us warm. It was simpler times. The older boys made hockey sticks from tree limbs, with a piece of coal for a puck. When we heard the church bells peal at midnight, we knew it was time to go home!

Many New Year's Day dinners were observed at a relative's home, where we went with team and sled, with bells jingling on the way. Ruby would have two big spiders* of herring frying on the old black range for us. Eating herring is a Scandinavian tradition thought to bring good luck for the new year.

One year, after the Christmas vacation, we returned to school ... but with a NEW school house to move into. It was a two room stucco building, complete with washrooms and running water. What a treat! It was built as a PA project during the Great Depression.

After marriage, my husband and girls usually stayed up till midnight putting puzzles together while waiting to listen to the radio announcing the ball dropping in New York City!

We lived in quieter, gentler times back then. And if I had a wish for the New Year, it would be to have peace in the world, which starts by having peace in our own lives. We don't have peace with material things, but we need to resolve to be more thankful for the good things we have in life. I know I appreciate what health I have yet, and that I am still able to live in my own home and tend my flowers. If there is any resolution to make, it would be to have a quieter, gentler, more peaceful life.

Photo Editor's Note: "Spider" is another word for frying pan, originally one with feet for cooking over an open fire. I don't recall hearing the term since my grandmother Amelia died in 1958, but seeing it in print brought back a flood of memories ... for which I thank you, Elaine.

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

This Week's Birthdays
January 8---Rosanna Miller
January 11---Brandon Harvey Lehtola (5 years old)

Happy Birthday!

More January Birthdays
January 3---Brandon Hellevang
January 3---Virginia (Dake) McCorkell
January 4---Harry "Junior" Anderson
January 4---Nathan Hill
January 5---Jayce Michael Chap (9 years old)
January 5---Krista Rae Weiland (8 years old)

January 15---Shea Ashley Birkholz
January 19---Trevor Jayce Roberson (7 years old)
January 20---Lois Dake
January 22---Timothy Thomas Mellon
January 24--- Marloes de Been
January 30---Whitney Anne Johnson
January 30---Madilyn Mae Larson (1 year old)
January 31---Larry McCorkell

January Anniversaries
January 24---David "Beaver" and Donna Anderson Johnson (14 years)

January Special Days
January 1---New Year's Day
January 21---Martin Luther King Day

Miss Hetty's Mailbox:

Dear Miss Hetty,

Today I spent my birthday home alone! All the kids are gone and Sheldon is working. It was fun to read a book and have a relaxing day. Thanks for the cute card.

Mitzi Swenson
Dickinson, ND

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo by Marci Weiland
When Hunter Holman was just a tad...

Keep Us Posted!

Please drop Miss Hetty a line and tell us who, and what, we've missed. And how about a report (photos welcome) of YOUR special celebration?

'Many Thankse

Miss Hetty


Click here to review last week's Bulletin

So happy for you in your new home -- it is great to see your setting in The Bulletin. Thanks for all you do to produce it (with the help of the staff).

Judy Riesenberg
Great Falls, MT

Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
by Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

I thought I heard a gunshot, so I opened one eye. The clock said 12:01, so I didn't sleep through the new year arriving after all. I knew it would come if I was awake or not, so we decided to celebrate with popcorn and then took our old bones to bed. Roy said he looked at the clock at 12:15.

For several years now, it's like a ceremony to tear off the last page of my "Close to Home" box calendar December 31. I always have the new one ready to replace it. I love the feeling of it being like a "clean sheet" as we begin a new year. It's about 1-1/2 inch thick to start with, ending up with one last page at the end of the year. The year passes so silently and so steadily and all too soon it is gone.

Bitzi created a special first picture for us again in our Happy New Year Bulletin, and when I saw the pink and purple I didn't have to wonder who had submitted that one. We are enjoying a quiet New Year's Day here at the Droels' with bright sunshine on pure white snow, but nearly zero weather.

I want to thank the Editors for making such a nice update about Edith Anderson. She is having a couple better days right now, but we know it can't be long.

Mitzi's story about Tyler could have really been serious, but boys are tough and he came through fine, ready for more of the same. Can't play without the puck. Thanks for including that experience with words and pictures, Mitzi.

Sue was mentioning carpal tunnel in the right hand. What a pain, as they say, to want to use the computer and you hurt too much. I looked up Bulletin #190 in 2006 to read the introduction to Sue Wright, which was interesting; now she is mentioning the same ones, two years later.

As I was looking in #190, I saw the cutest picture of Levi in his first snow. (Isn't the Archive priceless? Being able to look back and watch families grow.) Now in this Bulletin #289 there is his sister Kira -- the only one smiling! How cute! It would be hard to lay the camera down with such a photogenic baby as Kira.

We can always depend on a new arrival to spice up The Bulletin. Sounds like it won't be long until Alexander James Indermark will be featured.

Christmas 2007 at the Ashby farm. The pictures had me with my magnifying glass again, trying to recognize even one little thing from that home we spent so much time in many years ago. They have done so much work and remodeling that it's very different. I wonder if that window behind Beaver is where I sat at the table with Kathlyn in a previous picture in The Bulletin? "Where in the world is Weston?" Well, there he is, for that day at least. Looks like the Editor herself even got a huge gift in a very useful basket. Isn't that McKenna just a doll?

Seems to me that Shalana and Krista Weiland mentioned they had a Smartboard in their classroom. They had been collecting to be able to get one. That must be a very coveted tool in a classroom. This generation is fortunate.

The Matriarch Speaks ... and I wonder how many of us heard? I doubt I sent in a sentence or paragraph appropriate for what she was hoping for, but I tried.

Larry, don't forget -- we are still patiently waiting the next series of the sheep.

Wasn't that a thrill to see the pictures taken in the Netherlands? Beautiful white, frosty morning, just like we see here sometimes, but not recently. I always love reading the letters Frans writes, and we extend our sympathy in the loss of your mother-in-law. As you say, life does go on. The biggest Xmas tree you would think would be in Washington, DC, but here it is, across the ocean!

Thanks, Ary, for your letter, too, and sounds like you have problems with both your computer and your car. You will be at your sister's this very evening, having a happy New Year dinner, most likely. Maybe you will have pictures to share.

For some reason, I was just thrilled to see Jerrianne and Bobby and the train their dad had made for them. Very nice you have this picture of Bobby. I just knew you had many treasures to share with The Bulletin, Jerrianne, and this one of the train will be especially nostalgic to your family, I'm sure. Next you could feature the rock like a heart that you have on your hearth, also.

Yes, Don, most people either have a huge van or a little car that wouldn't survive a collision. We have a sturdy Camry that runs perfect for being 1996. Thanks to Roy for keeping it in mint condition, inside and out.

I asked Verlaine if she saw The Bulletin (her Jell-O pictured), and she just shyly passed it off as nothing, but I think that Jell-O deserved a rousing applause, don't you? Imagine setting each individual stripe and getting them so perfect.

I was so surprised to actually see a letter to the editor from Kathlyn! So now you have your subscription taken care of, but you could write lots more if you would tell us about life in Alaska in the wintertime. We think it must be mostly igloos and polar bears.

Another person that we hadn't seen for a long time is Carrie. Looks like she's ready to see the new year come in.

We need to hear from Doug again. We miss the candid comments!

As soon as The Bulletin is sent out on Saturday morning, I wonder how long it is before the next one is already in the works. It must take constant working at it, but we really enjoy it -- and we wish all another good year ahead in 2008.

Roy and Betty Droel


Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo by Renee Martin
Roy & Betty Weiland Droel look forward to Saturday morning.

To search a name in Who's Who or Who's Where: click on the link to open the page, then use CONTROL F on a PC or COMMAND F on a Mac. To search for a second occurrence of the name, use CONTROL G on a PC or COMMAND G on a Mac. (This works on ANY web page with text, unless the text is converted to an image. Chances are, it works in your e-mail, too.) HINT: Search by first name only, as most entries list the family name once but do not repeat the last name for each family member. In Who's Where you can search on state or city names, too.

Quotation for the day: Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory. --Betty Smith

EDITOR'S POLICY: If you wish to subscribe to The Bulletin, simply send me a statement of that fact. If you wish to keep receiving it I hope you will contribute to one of the columns that are running in this family epistle (at least occasionally!). My e-mail address is

This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.

This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.