Sunday, March 11, 2007

WILD RICE NEWS - March/April 2007 - Happy St. Patrick's Day & Happy Easter

Editor's Note: (8/3/07) I heard from John N. Powers from the WWII North China Marines group regarding Sgt. Morris Haugo. He writes "Morris was part of the embassy guard unit in Peking and Tientsin prior to the war. They were to have left China on 10 December 1941. The were surrounded and captured on the morning of 8 December, which was 7 December in the States. (Pearl Harbor attack) They spent from 8 Dec 1941 until mid September 1945 as prisoners of war. It took that long for US forces to get to the camps all over Japan. The prisoners were used as slave labor in China and Japan. One of the group was killed in an American bombing raid in Japan, others died from starvation, disease, and beatings. Thanks again for your help"

Happy 97th Birthday to Joe Merhiy (March 12), and Happy 91st Birthday to Florence Mortensen Glover (April 9th).

Pictures on our cover include: Sgt. Morris Haugo, who was stationed in China during World War II. He was captured by the Japanese, and became a prisoner of war, until the United States forces freed him. At the end of the war, he returned to Shelly, Minnesota, where he met his wife, Georgia. They had three children. Morris decided to stay in the Marines, and was stationed in Korea. He and his wife settled in North Carolina, where he remained in the military until he died. (Morris was about 2, when his mother died, and he and his sisters went to Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home in about 1916).

We also have a picture of Carl Narveson with Ma Skauge (Skauges ran the home), taken at one of the Wild Rice reunions. The last picture is of Morris Haugo's sisters, Margaret, Ruth and Hazel Haugo, and their friend, Esther Nordquist.

FlorenceMortensen Glover says there is about 2 feet of snow on the ground in Austin, Minnesota, and "wishes" that everybody with health problems "gets well an stays well." She reports that her husband, Russell Gover's cousin, Dayton Hansen, is living in the same apartment building as Joe Merhiy, and they are able to have lunch together.

Joe Merhiy has moved to an apartment with assisted living for the winter, his new address is: Joe Merhiy, Lincoln Terrace, 205 Third St. N.W. #202, Twin Valley, MN 56584-4024. Phone number is the same.

Memories of Selmer Hilstad, Casper, Wy., Dec. 23, 1986: "I was born on March 20, 1915 at Hillsboro, North Dakota. My father, Simon Hilstad, came from Norway. My mother, Emma Jacobson, was born in Gardner, North Dakota. Her father was Hans Brerman, and he came from Norway.

"My father died when I was eight years old, and I stayed with the Skogans in Hillsboro for one year, then I was sent to the Twin Valley, Minnesota Orphans' Home. I stayed there until I was 15 years old. Then I was sent to Fargo, North Dakota to stay with Mrs. Vail. I stayed there until I was sent to a farm at Durban, North Dakota. I worked on the Wm. Erdmann farm until I was 18 years old.

"When I turned 18, I moved to Hawley, Minnesota where my sister, Minnie, lived. She was married to a man named Ellingson, and they lived 10 miles south of Hawley. I lived with them about a year, and then started to work all over the county. I did anything to make money. Things were very bad! (It was the Depression). The best I could get was $1 a day, and board and room. The food was very good.

"But in the winter, there was no work, and we had to 'rough it out.' There was no welfare, and we had to make out the best we could. One man had room in Ida Carlson's hotel in Fargo, and we all stayed in it. The room was 9x10, and there were eight of us living in it. My brother, Conrad, and I lived on one meal a day, all we could eat for about 40 cents a day. This was in 1934, and 1935.

"After that, Hansel, and I went to the Twin Cities to sell wood tables for a truck farmer at Fargo. We got back to Fargo in the spring of 1936, and caught a freight train to Hardin, Montana. There we had two uncles, Albert Brerman and Ellis Jacobson. I got a job on a big wheat farm, and worked for Cambeles Corp. and Ed. Hopoc.

"In August of 1941, I was called for the Army, and sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. I spent 14 weeks there, and then was sent to Vancouver, Washington.

"On December 7, 1941, the Japs hit Pearl Harbor, and we were sent to Canada to build the road from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks, Alaska. I was in the 18th Eng. Reg. We spent one year building the road, and then they sent us up to the Aleutian Islands. We landed on Shemya, and built roads and an airport.

"I was there 39 months, then I came back to the states. I was being sent to Florida. I got a 30-day leave and got married to Barbara Gress at Hardin, Montana. She came with me to Florida, where we spent the winter.

"That spring, they sent me to Texas. This was my fourth year of service, and that fall, September 26, 1945, I got my discharge. We went back to Hardin, and our first daugther was born November 20, 1945. We had two more girls, Sonja and Jean.

"We had three fine girls and 12 grandchildren. In Hardin I worked at anything I could find. I worked as a plumber and a carpenter, and in a garage. After this, I started to build houses on my own, and I built hourses on the Crow Reservation.

"In 1965, I bought a service station at Casper Wyoming, which I ran for ten years. I worked on houses for Sonja and Jean. They live west of Midwest Heights, here in Casper, Wyoming.

"Right now, we live in Casper. We have had good times and bad times, but I can't complain. We have had good health through the years. I'm 71-years-old, and still in pretty good shape. And if the Good Lord will permit, I will be here for some time yet. May God Bless You." -- Selmer 'Sam' Hilstad (Selmer died in January 1989).

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