Sunday, February 4, 2007

WILD RICE NEWS - January/February 2007 - Happy Valentine's Day

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY -- Pictures on the cover are clockwise: Selmer and Barbara Hilstad, November 1988; Sophie Hilstad at her 90th birthday, October 2006; Ruth Haugo, Rachel Nordquist and Margaret Haugo at a Wild Rice Children's Home Reunion; (in front of Marlon's store, Fossum) Hazel Haugo, Esther Nordquist, Ruth Haugo, Louise Waley, Conrad Berg and Joe Merhiy; and Lloyd Aronson with his sister, Annabell, and brother Rueben.

Also, in this issue, May 30, 1920 confirmation picture with Rev. B.L. Opdahl.. First boy on the left is Olger Theodore Ronnie born November 21, 1905, and who went to the Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home on August 1, 1917, with his brothers, Arnold and Melvin. His grandson, Ritchie, sent the picture after finding our web site: If anyone remembers the Ronnie brothers, he would appreciate hearing from them.

Some of the children in this picture are: Etheline Melberg, Orlean Forsland, Joseph Skafvod, Lars Balken, Edward Bergquist, Cifford Forsland, Edwin Jacobson, Olger Raunie, Genevive Korun.

We spent a quiet Christmas at Palm Springs. Sally had surgery at the Mayo Clinic in mid-January, and is recovering well. My brother, Mike, will retire from 3M at the end of February.

There's quite a bit of news! Joe Merhiy moved to an apartment in Twin Valley for the winter! Jan Ledbury (Ruth Johnson's daughter) has been to visit him twice. She says his place is big and only 4 blocks from his old place. Joe has the same phone number and address. Says he has not been feeling well, with a lot of pain in his hip. Also, he said it's 30 degrees below zero! WISH HIM A HAPPY BIRTHDAY coming up March 12th!

Marian Merihy Shoemaker has moved closer to her brother Joe. She said her new place is larger, and she has room for a double bed. Marian's brother, Joe, came down to visit and have lunch with her last Sunday.

Judy (Sophie Hilstad) Tragethon's niece, Jean Hilstad Harris, wrote to say Sophie has moved to Garden Square assisted living. She just celebrated her 90th birthday. She says Sophie's memory is failing a little, but this is what she remembers about the Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home. "When we were in the Children's Home at Christmas time, the townspeople would bring us gifts and there were so many gifts! We had lots of Norwegian food and it was the best. In the winter time, we would ski on the frozen river and go sledding, and in the summer time we would all go swimming in the river, it was the best time! Not a single child didn't know how to swim, and in the summer, every Sunday, the townspeople would bring lots of food for picnics---it was great!

Jean also writes that her father, Selmer Hilstad, was a carpenter, plumber and electrician. He built homes for the government, and moved to Casper, Wyoming, when Jean was 14. He ran a service station there until he retired. Selmer passed away on January 29, 1989.

Florence Mortensen Glover spent a peaceful Christmas with family. She says she is feeling much better after her surgery, and is so grateful for all the help from her daughter, Floreen.

Mary Mortensen Baty had surgery on her leg in January, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Margaret Haugo Peterson wrote to say she remembers "living in the old house before the new part was built. The gym, dining room, the kitchen, the girls' sleeping rooms were all new. Also, I was there when the old round barn was there, and then the new barn was built. The cows were all shipped out, because of T.B. Skauge went to all the fairs that summer, and bought up the prize winning milk cows (to replace the cows they lost).

"I also remember when lightning struck the church! It was built up again. We walked to church Sundays in our white dresses and patent leather black shoes. We sat in the front pews, and Rev. Opdahl was pastor. He confirmed me, Gerda Larson, and Rachel Nordquist, and others. We were pals. I remember going down the hill in the summer to swim, and Aunt Skauge would go with us. We all learned to swim. Christmas was "Heaven on Earth!" Right now in Minnesota, it is cold, below zero, and the widows are frosted over with white, new snow. Time to to fix dinner for me and my daughter, Roselyn--she gives music lessons and I make the meals."

(Note: Margaret sent the photo of a group in front of Marlon's store. "She said everyone would remember Marlon's store, we used to walk over the bridge across Wild Rice River to get there, we would ask permission to go there and spend the few pennies we had on candy! Sometimes, the river would be so swollen with rushing water that we could not cross it." -- Joe Merhiy thinks the store was probably in Fossum).

Thanks to everyone for the pictures. I will be printing them all in the upcoming issues.