Sunday, August 27, 2006

WILD RICE NEWS - February 2005 - Selma & Alma Maudal

Photos: Alma and Selma Maudal on Foss Farm (Crosby, N.D.); Wild Rice teachers, C.A. Wood, Lela Jacobson and Marlys Estrem (1930); teachers from Lake Park Ella Olson, Miss Fredrickson, Miss Houglum (1932), new barn April 1, 1930, and view of the Home.

Selma Maudal Hamilton remembers both her parents emigrated from Norway to Iowa, where they met and married (1912) at the Lutheran parsonage at Osage. May 6, 1923 the six Maudal children went to Wild Rice Children's Home. Emma, Thomas, Melvin, Selma, Rudi, and Alma.

Her best memory is "the ice cream socials, when the Ladies Aide came. They made home made ice cream, cake, pies and plates of food."

"My brother, Thomas, would skate down the icy hill, how he did it, I'll never know!" she said. After the 1931 fire, the sisters (Alma and Selma) stayed at the Beloit Orphanage, Beloit, Iowa; until the Lutheran Church sent them to stay on the Foss farm near Grenora, N.D. Sally stayed with a family near Hanks, N.D., where she took care of their son, and went to school. She said they "had a lot of fun, playing baseball and other games." The next year, Alma moved to Hanks, and the sisters shared a bedroom, went to school, and worked odd jobs sewing and babysitting.

In 1936, Selma was 18, and the sisters were sent to Minneapolis to look for work and stay with a married sister, Emma. Selma said it was the Depression, and jobs were hard to get. Alma and she were able to get jobs living in with different families taking care of the children. On week-ends they visited Emma. After a year, they were able to save enough money to get an apartment together. Some of the girls from the Beloit Orphanage moved to Minneapolis, so they had friends. "Alma and I had a lot of fun," said Sally, "we would rent bikes and ride around Calhoun Lake. We would go dancing at the Marigold ballroom with the other girls."

One day they were waiting for jobs at a Minneapolis Employment Agency, when in walked a divorced, Irish-Catholic lawyer (Dad) from St. Paul. After interviewing them, he hired both girls to clean and cook at his White Bear Lake house. He spent the winters in Los Angeles, and would send for Selma, marry her, and send her to the Westwood Business College. She loved swimming in the ocean, playing badminton with her husband, and traveling to Mexico and Monterey! They would have three children, Mike, Patricia and Bruce.

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