Sunday, May 3, 2009
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UPDATE -- Beau Birkholz sends greetings from Iraq
Beau sent an e-mail to let us know he arrived safely in Iraq. I'm copying and pasting his letter and attaching a picture of him and his wife, Stephanie.
I'm here in Basra, Iraq. This place looks like a scene from a 1980's Apocalypse movie. There's broken concrete, razor wire and garbage everywhere, and everything is protected by huge concrete barriers and walls. That being what it is, I have a room that I share with a friend and I even have an air conditioner. The food is really good and there are a lot of choices. I haven't been to the gym yet and I look forward to having enough time to get back to my workout routine.
I'm making sure to take lots of pictures and even some video and I'll try my best to get some pictures out to everyone when I have the chance. I apologize it's taken so long to contact you guys; you've been in my thoughts but I've had limited time and resources to contact everyone.
UPDATE -- Tyler and Aunika in National Science Bowl
Tyler and Aunika are in Washington, DC, this week for the National Science Bowl. The Dickinson High School team won the state science bowl this winter, beating Red River High School (Grand Forks) in an exciting competition. Our team consists of two senior boys, their two sophomore sisters and a third senior boy. They've been practicing two mornings a week before school and at least one day a week during their lunch break for several months. Aunika was at a tennis meet the day the TV station came to watch them practice.
Here's a link to the competition which started Friday:
UPDATE -- visiting Kyra, Ken and the grandkitties
Spring breakup in Anchorage, when winter snow melts into muddy puddles, is my least favorite time of year, so when Kyra suggested a long weekend in California, where spring had already arrived, I booked a flight. It had been a while since my last visit. I hadn't seen their recently remodeled house or their new landscaping projects and I had never met the three grandkitties.
We chose to have a leisurely visit, with no agenda. We took time to enjoy their home in the treetops and and their terraced garden with new "living wall" fence, incorporating copper sculptures installed but not quite done. A dogwood tree in full flower shaded orchids swaying in long racemes and cascading from the living walls, nourished by water borne nutrients.
Greenhouse visits for plants and supplies and a walk along the waterfront a few miles away added variety. We stopped at a pet store to find a brush for the grandkitties, who provided lots of entertainment and even posed for a picture or two. Shopping at Whole Foods was a new experience for me, but the best part of that was the delectable meals Kyra prepared from fresh ingredients.
Kyra declared an early Mother's Day observance and made it happen in the kitchen ... and I got to watch. Though she gave up cooking as a career years ago, she hasn't forgotten how to make difficult culinary feats look effortless. We feasted for three days. (Ken flips the pancakes on Sunday.) I felt like visiting royalty and can't imagine how a Mother's Day could be any better.
FAMILY UPDATE -- introducing Kelly McCalla
It was nice to hear from you [Gert] and get an update. Pat had sent me the link for The Bulletin a few months ago, and I have visited the web site a few times. Life is so busy, but I'm going to take a few minutes to give you some of the data I have.
First, I have been an English Instructor at Central Lakes College in Brainerd for the past 20 years, but as of last June I was appointed the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Central Lakes College. I have an AA Degree from Brainerd Community College, a BA in English from Bemidji State University, an MA in English, also from Bemidji State University, and I am a Doctoral Candidate in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of St. Thomas. (Oh yeah, I was also elected to the local school board in the fall -- Crosby-Ironton District 182. Apparently, I didn't think I was busy enough. Silly me.)
However, much more important is an introduction to my wife, Celeste (married in 1991), my daughter, Payton Athena McCalla (born March 16, 2002), and son Brennan Ares McCalla (born May 29, 2004). Celeste is the former Chief of Police from Gaylord, Minnesota, but is raising kids at the moment; Payton is finishing first grade, and Brennan will be entering kindergarten in the fall.
We live on Serpent Lake in Deerwood -- and as to the first letter you sent me, I am sorry it did not arrive as you did not know about the address change.
We had a house fire the summer of 2007 and are still not back in the house, but soon we hope to be. Then, we might actually get all of our mail. The house was destroyed, but we did not lose too much personal stuff. (It is a long, winding story.)
I will try to scan in a picture of the kids and send it in a few days. Also, Pat and I were discussing finding a Sunday to drive down and visit with the kids when we both have an open day. Take care, Gert, and tell everyone "hello."
The Matriarch Speaks W
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.
How many can you identify? What's going on?
Editors' Note: Correct guesses appear in bold face type and incorrect guesses in normal type ... generally in the order we receive them, so the first guess received is on top.
Well I haven't finished the rest of The Bulletin yet but, lest I forget, I know those dear folks (the Pfingsten family) in the Guess picture.
Henry, Anita (my sister-in-law), Arlin, and Lenore. Walter is in the middle with Robert and Alvin in the front.
I don't know the year but it must have been within a few years before Anita became Mrs. Harold Weiland.
Just a quick scan of The Bulletin this morning -- and I see one family I KNOW! I haven't been able to guess for a long time -- but that is the dear Henry and Lenore Pfingsten family with their children. OH! the memories that brings up, it would take a while to list them. THANK YOU for sharing that -- maybe sis-in-law Anita did? I didn't know them at that age.
Thanks for The Bulletin again!
Ruth and Ken Kitto
Editor's comment: I believe the picture came from LeRoy Dake's collection and was supplied by his daughter, Ginny McCorkell.
The mystery family is Uncle Henry and Aunt Lenore Pfingsten and their five children: Anita (Weiland), Arlin, Walt, Rob and Al (Alvin). My family had many wonderful times with them. Anita was gone before I was a teen, so I had to hold my own with four boy cousins and three brothers. My sisters weren't born yet. Both Uncle Henry and Aunt Lenore are now deceased. As most of you would know, Anita lives in South Dakota, Arlin in Iowa and the other three in Minnesota.
I have fond memories of times with those cousins, especially New Year's Eve. Aunt Lenore made oyster stew, as well as another kind of soup (I always took the other kind), but my dad loved her oyster stew. She was such a dear, so caring towards all.
I want to identify the photo before I get busy and forget! Nice to see a young version of Uncle Henry and Aunt Lenore and family; Anita and Arlin in back, Walt in the center and Rob and Alvin in front. Alvin looks to be 4 or 5 years old so that would have the picture taken about 1954 or '55. The photo was taken on the front lawn to the west of their house on the farm about four miles south and west of our home place at Grove City. We went to meeting there until they retired from farming and moved to Litchfield in the early 1970's.
That is a picture of my sister and her family ... better known as the Henry G. Pfingsten family. Henry, Anita, Arlin, and Lenore and in front is Walter, Alvin and Robert standing in back of the other two boys. Good picture! and I think it was taken at the Dake home.
There is no doubt this time who the GUESS picture is. The Pfingsten family, one and all. Henry, Anita (my sister-in-law), Arlin, Lenore, Walt, Robert and Alvin. Lenore was one of the most intuitive, energetic, enthusiastic, cheerful, hard-working ladies I have ever met. Anita has picked up or inherited a lot of her ways.
Betty Weiland Droel
A series of recollections, of the five years when Bill and Lois Dake and their family lived in Minnesota, began with the episode in Bulletin 343. It's too soon to tell just how many parts there will be in this series, just after World War II. In Bulletin 349, I told more about polio (once called Infantile Paralysis) via two links, Polio and Sister Kenny, to minimize disruption of the narrative flow about Lois and Bill Dake. Both documents are posted as a series of scanned images. We can't edit them or correct typos and they will not respond to font changes or printer settings as regular Bulletin pages do.
Getting Ready For School
At the Miller farm, we are right now busy with preparation for the year. The upstairs of Jim and Blanche's house is divided into three rooms. There is a storage entry way that we walk through on the way to our rooms. My room is the west half of the rest of the upstairs. Our cousin Les Benson (I guess we are second cousins, as his mom is first cousin to my dad) has the east room. (I do think we have talked about him before.) He is staying here and helping with the farm work and will attend the Dassel High School.
[To find out who Les Benson is, connect to Bulletin #144 -- there is a story and a picture, then scroll down the page for more recent news and photos of Les Benson.]
One lesson I have learned does not have any connection to school. We have been putting in lots of hours on work to pretty up the house and then doing some garden work, and then the laundry, and then school preparation -- and whatever fun things we do. I have also faithfully exercised five days out of each week. I have not been taking any naps ... maybe a few rest breaks, but eight hours of sleep should be enough, is what I figured.
I have a new single bed with a nice, comfortable mattress. OOPS! That was a mistake. The first night I slept in it, I awoke in the middle of the night and I could not feel my arms, hands, legs, or feet. Was I scared? Well, I guess! I heaved my body a couple times, and managed to sit up and swing the appendages ... until I felt the tingling of nerves waking up. I hardly dared go back to sleep for fear it would happen again.
The next day, we took care of that. I now have a board under the mattress. Some expressions of sympathy have come my way, but I don't accept them, as a good, hard surface makes turning over in my sleep possible while too much softness and too much tiredness combined results in my body parts going to sleep. No, thank you -- I prefer a HARD surface.
I talked to Mom on the phone today... Sometimes the connection isn't too dependable, but today we had a nice visit. She had lots of family news. One item that I find exciting: LeRoy is writing to a girl (Mom knows her mom). I think I may have met her, too. She is really pretty and is training to be a nurse. We will probably hear more about this?
And then we spent time talking about Lois and Bill's trip to Texas. Sounds like it went great. I think about all of those nice people again. Mom says they have some interesting pictures of some of my friends from there, as they all had to meet our little princess. (Well, that isn't what Mom said, but that is what I think!)
I hope we get a visit in soon as I want to ask Lois a bunch of questions about their visit to Valley Mills, Texas, to visit everyone. And then there is the visit to Waco, too, as she was anxious to introduce Carol to Charlene's new son. I need to know all about him (and his grandpa, Charlie Russo). I really wish I could have gone along again. This time Lois, Bill, and Carol drove down with their new car. I sent greetings to all my friends down there and I am sure they sent back some messages, too -- and that I want to hear!
I have to be sure and find out how the trip with a baby in hand went. Lois had decided to try some of the disposable paper diapers. Lois was thinking that they would be really great for the trip. (My, what they won't think of next!) This way, all you need to wash is the rubber (or plastic) diaper cover that protects against dampness, or so they say!
Larry McCorkell sent us a manuscript he transcribed from his father's tape recorded memories and made it available to The Bulletin for a series of excerpts. These stories were originally tape recorded by Bruce McCorkell of his growing up days on the homestead near Effie in northern Minnesota. They were recorded from a period of the mid 1980's until the early 2000's. These are Bruce's words of happy, sad, funny, good, and hard times.
When I was growing up, we lived out there on the homestead and my old Uncle Amos Randall had a sawmill that was run by a steam engine. He lived over on Highway One about three miles south of our place. Every spring they'd saw for a while, maybe a month or so.
People that wanted some lumber sawed would bring their logs in during the winter and he'd saw them. I used to go over there and sometimes he'd be sawing on our mud vacations when we didn't go to school. It was always fun to go over there and see the mill work. My dad used to go over there and help him.
My dad had a mill and my Uncle Walter McCorkell had a mill, so I had quite a bit of experience around sawmills, at least when I was young. Uncle Walt had a tie mill. Uncle Walt and I cut jackpine into eight-foot sticks.
Uncle Walt used to shoot mice at night in his shack with a .45. When I stayed in the shack when we sawed lumber, we made sourdough pancakes. I also helped my dad cut pulpwood in the wintertime on Saturdays and vacations. I learned how to cut pulpwood in the woods. That's in the days when they cut it by hand. They didn't have chain saws.
Later that day, I passed hours and hours strolling the streets and simply watching. To give you a better sense of the place, I'll describe some of the images I had recorded in my journal that day.
A lively group of men is playing a board game in the shade of a mango tree near the plaza. Several women are gathered in the doorways of houses, twisting each other's hair into lovely braids while they chatter. A small girl is chasing goats out of a garden. A pair of elderly ladies are gathering firewood into bundles and carrying it the usual way, perfectly balanced on their heads.
An old woman is crouching on a doorstep, sorting beans and discarding the stones. A barefoot boy is carrying a stringer of sparkling fish.
It's quiet. No modern noise, just the rustle of a strong sea breeze in the banana trees and a rooster crowing in the distance.
To be continued...
Celebrations & Observances
This Week's Special Days
This Week's Birthdays
More May Birthdays
May Special Days
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:
Dear Miss Hetty,
Thanks for the birthday e-card. Pretty funny card. When I was young, I would always see in the Wahpeton Daily News birthday wishes to people turning 40. There would always be pics of them when they were young and the infamous phrase "Lordy Lordy, Look who's 40!" Now, that's me ... uff da!
Thank you, Miss Hetty, for the e-card with the kitty for our birthday. We enjoyed it! We got cards and presents right on time, but our party was postponed for a week because Miss Jerrianne jetted off to visit Kyra and Ken and the grandkitties on our birthday. We decided that would be fine because we knew she really wanted to meet the grandkitties. Miss Barbara came over every day while she was gone and served our supper, so we were well taken care of, but we're glad she's back. We had a swell party with lots of presents.
Miss Kitty >^..^< and Mai Tai
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?
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITORS?
Dear hard-working editor and staff,
Thanks again for sharing spring -- the adventures and color of the world here at our computers on a chilly Minnesota morning.
Thanks to Frans de Been for showing us the flowers of the Keukenhof Gardens -- hope I get to see in person someday! Congratulations on the new car!
Donna going to the Cities because of Weston and the spring Twins game -- more fun. :-)
And the world adventures of the Swenson family -- always a DELIGHT!
Love, love, love The Bulletin. Thanks to all for sharing.
I am back on the island. I have spent most days in the garden and today was no exception. They had a particularly bad winter here, much colder than normal, and I lost lots of plants. Of course, that can be considered an opportunity to make some changes and additions, and that is how I am viewing it.
It was fun seeing the picture of me and my dad's boys in the last issue of The Bulletin and reading about Patrick's life. I didn't stay in touch with him after my dad's funeral, so I had no idea that he had an extended family. Are the other boys going to write introductions as well? I look forward to hearing how they are doing.
I continue to enjoy and look forward to your weekly saga of life in the 1940's. As I mentioned before, it makes one realize that a shortage of money and "things" doesn't have to mean you are deprived. It sounds like a happy, peaceful time.
Editor's comment: Yes, Gert tells us they have all promised to write and send pictures ... and Patrick and Kelly already have. Isn't that great!
Searching an airport bookstore for something to read on a long flight, I saw lots of books. None of them seemed like my cup of tea ... until I spotted a book Mitzi wrote about last week in The Bulletin. Three Cups Of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School At A Time.
Three Cups Of Tea turned out to be a riveting read -- a harrowing adventure story by a mountain climber with Minnesota roots, a huge heart, a wonderful spirit and incredible stamina. His quixotic quest to build a school for one impoverished village in a forgotten corner of Pakistan mushroomed into 78 village schools (so far) in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a bridge, some clean water projects, and much more. I highly recommend the book ... and a better web site than we linked to last week: www.threecupsoftea.com
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
I didn't realize just how fast the high speed Internet was until we had to change our server ... and use the dial up until Qwest came to service our Internet. I saved e-mails to open until the high speed was up and running again as it took forever to download otherwise. Plus, we couldn't use the telephone if the computer was running.
Anyway, that doesn't stop me from telling you how much I loved this issue of The Bulletin with that cute, blue-eyed, pink-bonneted beauty on the first page. That bright-eyed little girl was just a baby in a blanket only a few Bulletins ago. How can time pass so quickly, and babies grow up so fast?
I was very glad to see the memorial for Bob Morgan. Knowing some of the family made it very interesting. I did recognize some family names.
The view from the top of the Slot Canyon hike was breathtaking. How all those spires formed silently and over time is beyond human imagination. Only by pictures will we ever see such wonders -- thanks to Kjirsten, again.
For some reason, when I saw the picture of Mitzi, the thought came to me, "she looks so normal," and yet so many Bulletin stories include her in some unfathomable hikes and projects and now this outing as a school board member. At our dinner table yesterday, one subject was the Three Cups of Tea book she mentioned. So, I was glad for what she mentioned about having heard the author of that book speak. My friend was impressed with that book.
I am dating myself, but her friend Shari Schraw Hwang and her daughter's picture was exciting for me to see as I knew her mother when she was still single. It is so easy to lose track of friends, and such a thrill to hear about them through the years.
Judy McCalla having found our Editor as part of her family has enlarged our Bulletin borders to include her own family. I am glad Patrick would write up the Update for us, and look forward to the others in future issues.
Day to Day with Donna Mae was right in tune with updates about the grandchildren she adores. It would have been wonderful to have had them stop by, being we are right near where they had traveled through the Twin Cities, but side trips with children usually do not work out very well -- I tell myself.
The cardio conversion sounds tempting as I dislike having to take the medicine they prescribe for the irregular heart rhythm. I wonder how long it lasts back in rhythm?
The photo with the cow and calf and lone tree in the rolling hills could win a prize for Donna Mae if just the right people got to see it. A person could meditate a long time on that picture. It is actually calming.
I am always so glad to see the Memory Lane chapter with each Bulletin, and this time we get to see the real life experience of our Editor in her after polio days and the adjustment to a whole new way of life with the after effects. Trying to go on with life as normally as possible, teaching and supporting herself and being so helpful, which is just part of her nature. Good picture of LeRoy at graduation. Can't you just imagine Carol getting such an enjoyment reading about her baby days?
We needed that story Bruce told us about the Logging Days. I wonder who all would have known that was how a sawmill was run? That sleepwalking daughter story was hardly believable, but we know it was true.
The Travelogue by Kjirsten in Mozambique with the colorful, sharp pictures was very educational to us who will never make it over to that shore.
Thanks to Frans de Been for such a beautiful and interesting article about the flowers in Holland at Easter time. Such lovely pictures of Rian, who added something special to flower pictures by being in them. She has her scarf tied just like everyone here is doing now. Kim Johnson had hers that way last time I saw her.
What a dream car Frans got to drive -- thanks to Marloes! I have never seen one like it.
Hunter Holman is pretty busy, it looks like. Susie always gets such cute poses, and Bitzi knows just how to make the perfect CHUCKLES out of them.
Well, next month all things will seem possible, the Quotation for the day says.
I hope Miss Jerrianne will give us lots of details from her time visiting that little 10 year old hiker who has grown up into a wife for Ken, and has those famous three grandkittens.
Thanks again, and let's take advantage of the Minnesota spring. We have waited many months for it.
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: Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. --Zen Proverb
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.