Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wild Rice News - August 2005 - Marjorie Maudal Westmark

Today I was chatting with Marian Merhiy Shoemaker, and I said "hey, we should start a newsletter!" Marian didn't think she would have too much news to share, and I had to do a little selling. Marian and I were talking about the sad, and sudden death of my aunt, Margie (Alma Maudal) Westmark in Minneapolis on July 14, 2005. Sad because I had dreams of her traveling to Norway with her sister (my mother) and seeing their father's old farm. Sudden because she died of a heart attack.

Margie sang in the girl's chorus at Wild Rice directed by J.R. Orvedahl The other girls were, (l-r) Alice Ricklus, Margaret Brazzel, Caroline Ness, Katherine Ness, Lilly Benson, Lillian Benson, Sophie Hilstad, Florence Mortensen Winifred Hammersmith, Ruth Johnson, Arlene Mortensen, Pearl Langthseth, and Dorothy Hammersmith.

One Song: Her komer dine arme (Here come your poor little ones) O Jesu I din stald at gaa (Oh Jesus in your manger to go) Enlys enver I sjael og sind (Enlighten every soul and mind) At finde veien til dig ind (to find the way to you). (Sung in Norweigan)

The girls traveled to three Lutheran League Conventions and many local churches where they sang and raised money for the home. I think traveling to all those Lutheran churches as a girl let her see the "goodness" in people who welcomed them to their hearts and homes. She always looked for the "good" in people. I think her belief in God and the goodness of others taught her to believe in herself.

When Wild Rice Children's Home burned down in 1931, Alma and Selma were sent to the Lutheran Children's Home at Beloit, Iowa. Then to Crosby, North Dakota, where they lived with a family (the Fosses). When they were old enough, they moved to Minneapolis to live with their oldest sister, Emma. Margie met her husband (Elmer Westmark) and became a wartime bride. They had three children, Gary, Scott, and Shari. Elmer begin working as a carpenter, after getting out of the Navy, and he built their home in Bloomington. Margie "taught herself to drive", worked part-time at Dayton's, and later went to beauty school.

She and Elmer bought a trailer in Mesa, Arizona where they spent the winter as "snowbirds." It was fun, with "potlucks," a swimming pool, and lot so friends from Crosby, North Dakota. The Lutheran Church was a big part of her life and she helped with all the church activities and lunches.

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