The Bulletin
April 21, 2003
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by Eric Anderson

Hi Grandma,

This is Eric. I'm doing very well in school right now. I'm getting three A's and one B, although we have a month left of school, so hopefully I get to push that B up to an A.

In my music class, we're learning the basics of piano. For our final we have to compose a piece and play it on the piano for the class. It sounds worse than it really will be. The song only has to be 8 measures or longer. I plan to put mine in some oddball key and bang on the keys as hard as I can ... nah, I'm just messin' around. It's a fun class. It really puts into context many of the things I learned from playing cello, which I would someday like to take up again, if only they weren't so very expensive.

In my psychology course we're studying mental disorders and their treatment. It's a very interesting subject. I think this semester that psych course is my favorite. You really start to gain a better understanding of the behavior of yourself and the people around you. It's almost scary sometimes.

My business class has finally gotten around to marketing, which is what I plan to study over at Metro State. Another fascinating subject. My time at Metro should be enjoyable.

Well I'm off. I have to practice my piano (on our little Casio) and write a paper for my psychology class.


UPDATE -- Working Girl
by Lori

Hi Grandma,

I just thought I would touch base and let you know that I plan on taking another exciting insurance exam! Whoo-hoo!! I set the exam date for Friday, May 23rd, so please wish me luck. I may need it! Its topic is regarding the exhilarating world of reinsurance! The course and test are for ARe 142. I've already successfully completed ARe 141, so this is the second in a series of four to complete my ARe designation. The other two I need to complete are called CPCU exams.

For anyone who may be interested (and those not ... please skip ahead!), reinsurance means "insuring the insurance company." It's used for catastrophes or similar events that a single insurance company could not handle all the risk for ... so they transfer some or all of that risk to another insurance company, called a reinsurance company.

My job is working with a specific insurance company, as their mediator, of sorts. I handle their reinsurance claims (large losses which can be interesting to read and a lot of times sad) and billing the reinsurance company for them. So, in fact, I'm outsourcing for the actual insurance company to get money from the reinsurer.

Well, that's my "student" news and a little bit about my work! Again ... as said by many and many times before ... LOVE The Bulletin and THANK YOU for providing such a wonderful thing for all of us to share!

Love always,


by Whitney Johnson

Hi Grandma,

In school we have a new classmate. His name is Santiago. (Spanish!) He speaks very little English and is kinda short. He is nice (as far as I know) but it is hard to understand him. (He is also a new neighbor!) School is good, but all of the 5th grade (except the 16 that stayed back) went to Wolfridge (a little camp ... every year the 5th grade goes).

When I stayed back, I got to meet a cool teacher. Her name is Mrs. Rouk. We have had no homework the whole time we have been with her. We have made travel brochures and had loads of fun! She is a very cool teacher (I bet you were, too!) So that is that!

We have this Friday off and Monday, too! Ahhhh a four day weekend! We are doing nothing, as far as I know, this weekend. I will sleep in and have a sunny weekend.

We have had tons of rain. It rained all night a couple nights ago and all that day! It is still a bit moist around here lately.

Your bulletin is very interesting these days. I love Doug's stories! Tell him he should write a book! The whole Johnson family thinks they are wonderful!

Mark has decided to play the trumpet, too, so that is cool. (I can teach him the notes.) Kim is doing good, too. Heidi is content with the color of her room and is also doing fine. Dad is painting furniture and Mom is dropping off kids and picking them up again! And just doing errands around the house and that sort of thing.

Memory Lane

by Lori

I was working as a nanny in the cities. My first job since I moved from Bemidji and let's just say it was quite the experience (but I won't get into that here). It was June 18th, 1996, when I got a phone call from Mom. "Becky's in labor!" and the rest I don't remember word for word, but recall her telling me to drive here carefully!

Mom has always had the knack for getting to the point quickly in phone conversations (sometimes not even saying "hi" or "this is Mom" but just jumping right into what she has to say) and is always quick to drill us about safety. These are both very commendable traits, by the way, because who really likes to dilly dally on the phone and who shouldn't drive safely! That day I may have upped the speed limit just a little to get there, but still drove really safe. Really Mom, I did.

I arrived at the hospital just in time to take over for Mom. I think she was happy to have me there, not liking the stress of the situation. So here I am -- never had a child or probably at that point never even seen one of those TV shows or videos showing some lady in labor, helping my sister breathe and get through contractions, getting only a "crash course" in panting and focusing from the nurse on call. Oh, boy.

Needless to say, I was a little scared, but at times like this I like to think that I can pull through in a pinch. My worst fear was that I wouldn't be of any help to her. Being sisters and always having differences ... ya know, little sister not much interested in big sister's advice ... I wasn't sure I was the best one for the job. But then a contraction hit and bam! Becky was squeezing my hand like a pro-wrestler and listening to every word I said. It was amazing. Her strength was amazing.

Meanwhile, Mom was keeping a close watch out for Marlene, who was soon to arrive (an excuse to keep her out of the labor room), and I stayed with Becky, vowing never wanting to go through this in my entire life! Marlene arrived right before the grand event. There must have been about 20 people in that room, or it seemed like it. There were a few nurses, a young doctor learning the ropes, the doctor overseeing him, me, Mom, Marlene, maybe the janitor ... I can't be too sure.

And so it began -- the delivery and arrival of my first niece. I'm sure this part seemed to last longer for Becky, but for me it happened in mere seconds. They gave her to Becky for a few seconds and then gave her to me. Wow. There are no words to describe how I felt. I actually started thinking maybe the whole pain and suffering thing might be worth it.

They cleaned her up and she was passed around, each one of us amazed at how she looked right at us and wasn't afraid to share her opinions on the whole experience. Little Miss Caitlynn Mae Chap. Just a peanut, but that girl had lungs.

Memories of Dad
by Donna

Dad taught me to drive, starting when I was only able to see out by sitting in his lap. I thought it was so much fun! All the years of his letting me practice in the fields, driveways, etc. made my driving test a breeze, when I got that far. His warning to me not to use the brakes so much as I approached a stop sign (going to wear them out!) still hangs with me to this day, when I ride with someone that does that ... makes me think what he'd have to say!

Then, after getting the longed for driver's license, I got to do the bill collecting and parts running for him. (Much to Mom's happiness, I'd guess) Mainly trips to Buffalo, (we lived by Highland Store at that time) which had such pretty views on the way. I loved the newly found freedom.

by Mavis

When I was about 10 years old, I found an 1890 dime northwest of the old granary/ machine shed and west of the trees on the farm I grew up on and where Dwight and Janie live now. I told grandpa H. C. Anderson about it and he told me that Grandma Inger Anderson at one time had a garden there.

Today, I still have that old 1890 dime. Call me a packrat, but it doesn't take a lot of room and I am never broke. I do have one thing from my grandma's garden and I would like to believe it was her precious coin. She died in 1904.

Desperately Seeking

Chapter Four
by Doug

     The next morning, Aunt Lollie gave us the tour of her orchards, where I tasted the first orange of my life. All oranges up until that point had merely been prologue to the real thing, which was, at that moment, rolling down my grinning chin.

     We spent a sun-soaked day with my newfound cousin and her parents, but the call of the road beckoned. Soon we were back in the landshark like the intrepid Argonauts we were, tourist trappings in tow. This part of the trip got a little hairy, and we spent a night or two in dubious, but definitely interesting, lodgings. One motel room had only a veil of wooden beads where the door would usually be. To me it was delightful and exotic, to my parents, not so much.

     Then there was another night in Flagstaff ... or wait, was it ... Albuquerque?

     Something was burning. A blue and gray haze filled my kitchen and I realized that I had daydreamed myself out of the reheated salmon loaf I was planning on enjoying for supper. To make matters worse, I was losing train of thought on a very delicious memory I had recently drudged up from the murky tar pits of what used to be my brain. What happened after New Mexico? I knew the big facts; we went on to Los Angeles to have Thanksgiving with Junior and Doris ... then everything gets kind of hazy. Memory enhancer or not, I was losing steam. Torgo peered out of the sock drawer, as if to mock me.

     I set a new plan into motion and shot off an e-mail to the coast, an appeal to my Aunt Doris to help me out with any details about that trip she could remember. In an afternoon came an answer, and it was a startling revelation, indeed.

     According to Junior, you didn't want any ice cream, because all we had was vanilla.

     I was stunned. Was I really such a rude little brat? Was this the whole point of my memory? Then I started considering the central symbol in the story. Hadn't I been chasing a gargantuan penny across the Western United States, almost missing all the natural beauty all around me because of its blinding influence? A person really didn't need to be Joseph Campbell to understand the symbolic significance of that.

     I started to grow my hair back and stopped taking the memory enhancer. Who cares about what happened in the past? I convinced myself. After all I had a life to lead, hair to grow back. I set about my old lifestyle and forgot about the whole thing for awhile.

     (To be continued)

The following article is taken from the Waverly section of the Howard Lake Herald ------
A Hundred Years Ago

The year was 1903.
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years. Now it is 77 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three minute call from Denver to New York cost $11
There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in the most cities was 10 mph.
There were only 1.4 million residents in California and it was then only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
More than 95% of all births took place at home.
90% of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and in the government as "substandard."
Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were 14 cents a dozen. Coffee cost 15 cents a pound.
Most women washed their hair once a month.
The five leading causes of death in the US were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza.
2. Tuberculosis (a.k.a. consumption)
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30.
Crossword puzzles and iced tea hadn't been invented.
One in 10 US adults couldn't read or write.
Only six per cent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist: "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

"The Good Old Days" were not always to be preferred!!

(This information was given to the columnist of the Waverly News by Commissioner Richard Mattson of Wright County.)


Q. I'm still looking for someone to figure out or make a wagon wheel shaped device, held high enough off the ground for children's swings to attach to the outside. (I've collected several already.) I could load children into the swings and they can go around in merry-go-round fashion, while I get some exercise pushing them around, with a pole coming out beyond the width of the "wheel." I have too many little ones that want to swing, to keep them all swinging otherwise. Any great ideas for that, Mr. In a Jam or Dad?

Joe: let's just sketch something on the back of these napkins; we will try to paste them into, The only, "The Bulletin" at the end of the text. See here this is the post, and here is the way that the post stays in the ground. Then here are the arms that would hold the chains, and finally, this is the swing that would hold each child.

Pete: that post needs to be straighter than that for this thingamajig to operate smoothly.

Sam: Yes and the arm can't be that long if you want this to not to tip over when the momentum picks up.

Joe: OK, you draw while I laugh.

Sam: My, aren't we touchy today!

Pete: I don't know why we have to re-invent the wagon wheel!! Just find some dead cowboys and you're apt to find some wagon wheels floating around. And really, couldn't you have the post in the center of the wheel?

Sam: Let's just design the New and Improved power mechanism for this "Child's Swing Centrifuge," because as I know, the poor chap that will be pushing this
apparatus will not be able to keep up with 12 screaming children!

'till next time! Mriaj(b) (please watch this space (( ))for picture addendum)


Today was a quiet day ... not much mail, and not much of interest to send tonight; maybe so many were out making snowmen this morning that they had no time to e-mail either.

I don't think I have ever seen 3 to 5 inches of the beautiful fluff from Heaven melt so fast!!!!! Even the several snowmen (or fat snowladies) in the neighborhood really lost weight in a hurry. The grass is so fresh and green. Ole Sol and Mother Nature really worked hard at it today.

However, the Bulletin came through, and what interesting news in it. The editor is doing a great job ... and the correspondents are really on top also. Beaver's little red wagon story sounds just like little boys just having fun!!!!! I enjoyed the stroller story also. What better way to entertain kids than to teach them about nature ... know my kids still talk about finding pretty stones on the railroad, picking Queen Anne's Lace and milkweed pods (and releasing the weed seeds) sighting birds and quail, and even a snake ... finding art in the cloud formations, listening to noises and voices of the outdoors when they were quiet and listening... What better times to talk with kids!!!!

The story from Ardis brought tears to my eyes ... and we all know what a cook Blanche was ... hustling around the kitchen all the time! Glad I got suggestions to repair the driveway also ... should make it more A-peal-ing...

Did a few errands, took in the Hospital Auxiliary Book Fair, and kinda caught up on some little odd jobs... My days go by and I don't overwork. Hope all are doing well and that teachers and students are enjoying a break over the weekend.


Lori mentioned to me that she thought the last bulletin was wonderful, and she said something like, "They just keep getting better and better." I agree, although it would be tough to pick a favorite, as each one is very good. She also commented on Ardis's letter. I agreed, that was very moving; in fact it brought tears to my eyes. Another issue to be proud of, each one a new challenge, that you do well pulling together.

Thanks! Donna

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