Murdo Girl…Testing 1..2..3

Testing, testing, one, two, three. I’m prepping for a colonoscopy.

It started with a lingering cold. I went to the doctor who began to scold.

He said I needed a physical. The last one was two years ago.

Considering all the things he found, I’m surprised I’m even still around.

He said my blood pressure was through the roof. I smiled and asked, “Is this a spoof?”


My cholesterol was way too high…must have been all that Christmas pie.

He sent me to a dermatologist, who sent my skin to a radiologist.

I need dental work on my pearly whites, or I’ll be gumming food not taking bites.

The doctor didn’t tell me so, but there’s another place that I must go.

I’ll be seeing the optometrist. I’ll begrudgingly add him to my list.

When a car behind me tried to pass, instead of slowing down, I hit the gas.

Home and rest were in my sights, but l didn’t see the policeman’s lights.

Don’t worry, I’m going to be just fine. I caught the problem just in time.

I’ve been freed by the simple truth. Those doctors tried to steal my youth.

I’ll stay home when I have a cold and I’ll decide when I get old!

I didn’t even have a chance to show those docs how well I dance.

Murdo Girl…It’s never too much!

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I don’t remember exactly when I started to write about my memories of growing up in Murdo. That amazing little town in South Dakota. It was long before I started writing the blog which began as a way of recording our RV trips. The first long trip we took was in September of 2015.

I wrote down everything I remembered about Murdo because I didn’t want to forget all of those rich stories about all the wonderful people who lived there…all 800 of them.

I started with the memory of my brother, Billy, becoming a runner for the food swap ladies. He took Mom’s leftovers to Bonna Lindquist and Bonna’s leftover goulash to Kitty Reynolds and Kitty’s ham and beans to Mom’s sister, Aunt Elna, who sent him back to our house with a tuna casserole.

After I had written about every last thing I could remember, guess who I called? Yup…my cousin Valerie. I read a few stories to her over the phone and it wasn’t long before we were laughing so hard, we were crying. Val and I had some pretty wild adventures together as kids, and I hope she’s having as much fun with all the crazy things we do now, as I am.

It would not be the fun it has become if it weren’t for Lav. She is the absolute best sport and doesn’t hesitate to jump right into whatever crazy turn the blog takes. She is the hootiest.

She started the whole idea of the Combo Awards by sending me a trophy for Christmas.

Lav has been Next Pres in the Brickhouse Stories, a Queen E stand-in, a road trip side-kick, and played countless other roles. She has performed raps, happy birthday tributes, and dances for blog videos and comes up with a lot of crazy ideas, herself. She never tells me I’ve gone too far. We often tease about what her mom, my Aunt Ella, would say when things got complicated. She would say, “It’s too much!! It’s just too much!!

I can tell you right now, I never would have ridden in the Murdo All School Reunion Parade. I can’t imagine sitting on the back of a red convertible all by myself! Lav came as a rather young looking Queen E and sat there with me. We had a ball.

I love you Lav. I could write pages, but I’ve got to let the cat in šŸ™‚ Just kidding!

You’re the best, Cuz! We’re taking a road trip in May to see all of our friends, right?

Murdo Girl…Cut!!

You are about to see the taping of the Combo Awards Show. If I hear someone yell, CUT, one more time, I’ll come after them with the hedge trimmers we used to stop the filming. That being said, I didn’t leave much on the cutting room floor. Lav”s satellite appearance is in here, but don’t strain too much to hear it, because It’s in a separate recording at the end!

Below is a word from our Proud Sponsor. (Sorry, Our CUT lady was busy.)


This is a hoot, Lav. You are my hero and the best sport, ever. Thank you so much for going up in that satellite just for me. Uh, I don’t want to spend a lot of time up there shining down on everyone just yet, though…

I hear they have one two time winner of the Bicentennial Combo Awards in England…


A great big thanks to Pat Davis, Jean Robinson, and Yolie Beavers. I won’t be making eye contact with you for a while because I owe you all a HUGE favor.


Kip said my Cherry something looked like raw hamburger meat,

Murdo Girl…Who’s who at the Combo Awards

I hope the soon to be released production of the promised Combo Awards Show brings you a laugh or two, because we cracked up all the way through it. Poor MG has been trying to recreate her days as a young queen. Can you imagine how important she felt sitting in that horse-drawn wagon in a 4th of July parade? She later had the honor of being Murdo High School’s Homecoming Queen…that was forty-nine years ago. If you ask me that’s a long time to recreate. This production should put the whole thing to bed. Let’s hope so.




The Judge, aka Pie Lady, aka Church Lady, aka Airy, has played an important role judging pies at the Texas State Fair. On the flip side, she has been known to talk the police, (who occasionally stop her for speeding), out of a ticket by telling them she sings in the choir and is distressed because she forgot her music at home. And…if he insists on talking about her slightly heavy foot, he’ll have to follow her to church.

The Presenter/Master of Ceremonies …aka Patty Cake can always be relied upon to show up just for the dessert. Thankfully she’s fun, reads well, is a good sport, and doesn’t try to sneak out early. She’s also a whiz at fixing gowns with duck tape.

The Videotographer/CUT Person aka Windy, also in charge of wigs and shawls. She really knows her way around a camera and is a collector of props. Don’t let her park behind you, or you might have to wait while she packs up! She is a stand-up person which is good, because we were short of chairs.


Lav Yekcel…aka Queen E, convertible groupie and foodie….and… Murdo Girl, aka MG, aka Yram Sicnarf, (crack-up reporter), wannabe singer, dancer, and Queen.




**Full production scheduled for Saturday night, unless Kip and I decide to have date night at Burger King…

Murdo Girl…Forever Friends

First of all, I would like to say a big Happy Birthday to my friend and former classmate, Eddie Jackson. He and his wife Mari have been loyal friends of the Murdo girl blog and me. Eddie wrote stories about growing up on a ranch west of Murdo and the challenges of moving to a town school after going to a country school. His older sister was Connie Jackson. She was the person I wanted to be like. Eddie’s memories are a big part of Connie’s Story, a book I wrote about an angel and a little girl.

This is one of the stories Eddie wrote describing a memory he had about an adventure he shared with his sister, Connie. For the purpose of our book, it is written as if it was told from Connie’s perspective.
There was a Willys jeep on the ranch where my family lived, the small type like you see army officers running around in during movies. It had a canvas top and vacuum driven windshield wipers. Many times we would be going through muddy pastures and mud and water would be splashing on the windshield, and when you needed the wipers most, you were driving blind because you were trying to power through the gumbo. You would have to briefly let up on the gas and let the wiper make a swipe and then you hit the gas before you came to a stop or you would probably be stuck.
One day Dad had to go out in the hay field and work on some machinery, and he took my little brother Eddie and me with him. We were probably five and seven, maybe a little older. All I know is that I could not sit in the seat and reach the foot pedals. I decided I wanted to take the jeep for a spin, so I had Eddie sit on the floor and I instructed him on how to run the pedals. I was going to steer and shift gears, while standing on the seat. We had it planned out how Eddie would push in on the clutch and I was going to shift gears while he kept pushing on the gas pedal.
I got the jeep started and Eddie was pushing on the gas pedal and away we went. I was telling Eddie to push in the clutch, but he looked back and Dad had run and jumped on the rear bumper. He was yelling, ā€œDo not push in on that clutch!ā€ Eddie didnā€™t do it and he also took his foot off the gas. The caper was over. We didnā€™t get into trouble that day for taking off in the jeep. I think Dad was pretty sure we wouldnā€™t be trying it again anytime soon.

Eddie and I were Homecoming King and Queen in 1969 and graduated together in 1970. We didn’t see each other for over forty years.

Through a series of events, Eddie, Mari, Don Edwards, and my cousin Valerie all met up at the 2016 Murdo All School Reunion. We had a blast… and now, we stay in better touch with each other.

We’re all hoping we can make it to the 2021 reunion. Val and I are hoping we can wear our crowns and gowns and ride in the red convertible in the reunion parade. Our goal is to get in and out of the car under our own power. We plan to channel the stamina and endurance of our grandfather, M.E. Sanderson. We’ll be fine.

So, have a great birthday, Eddie, my friend. Take care of yourself. We have big plans for 2021 and you and Mari better not disappoint us,!

Murdo Girl…Lav’s Boogie Woogie

Lav is a person with many talents and unlike me, she isn’t shy about showing off. I mean performing. Although, it escapes me why she wears dark glasses in all of her shticks. I have a few more comments as we watch her doing a boogie shoes dance.

Pause the tape when you can see the bottom of her shoes. Those must be her gardening shoes. See how dirty they are? She probably has mud all over her house.

I had to restrain myself from doing elaborate moves. I was unable to zip my dress all the way up. I’m waiting for a shipment of red duct tape so I can fix the back and the sleeve. You go, Lav. I wish you all the best…please, dear viewers, hit the arrow.WAIT!!!

Somebody wants an ice cream sammich…


Now…back to the dance…Wow what an ending!!! I was a little worried at first when she almost fell over backwards.

One more thing. I only wore one crown the whole way through Dancing Queen. It needs new batteries. The rhinestones flash. It’s not about me, right? Lav got a little crazy at the end and switched hats? I think she just needed an excuse to leave the roomĀ to catch her breath.


You know what, Lavish? You can mooove, baby!! See ya Saturday night at the awards show. I haven’t received my invite yet. Have you?


Na Na Na Na Na na….


Murdo Girl…Happy Birthday, Elvis

Do you remember where you were when you heard Elvis Presley had died?

I was eight months pregnant with my youngest son, and working at a bank in Gillette, Wyoming. I remember walking into the house after work and flipping on the television. My mind was on the only thing I had craved for nine months…a hot dog sliced up in cottage cheese with pepper.

All of a sudden, the newscaster broke in and said Elvis was dead. I was in shock and wasn’t feeling so well myself. (Later, John Grisset wrote a book by that title.)

There was a short little lady who worked in the bookkeeping department at the bank who, like many others, went into full mourning. Somehow, overnight, she found a black, Elvis-like jumpsuit with rhinestones. She wore it for a week. I think the bank was grateful she even came to work. A couple of her friends sent beautiful bouquets of flowers.

His concert on Rapid City two months before he died. This brought years…

One of Elvis’ last concerts was in Rapid City, SD, which is not far from Gillette. She wore the fact that she had been there, as a badge of honor.

We’re on our way to an appointment in Athens, but I wanted to share my memories of Elvis, today, on what would have been the King’s 84th birthday.

I was pretty vested in Elvis, myself. When I was growing up in Murdo, I had paid the twenty-five cents to go to every one of his movies that came to the Murdo show house.

I don’t think Elvis was meant to be eighty-four. I’m just glad his awesome music lives on!

Murdo Girl…The garbage house

Rerunā€¦Good memories of fun times when I was a kid in Murdo


Look what I foundā€¦

1-garbage house

I made a playhouse where the Whitakers keep their garbage. They have a little building behind their house, which is across the street from us. Iā€™ve played there a bunch of times already. It smells pretty bad in there; especially on hot days. I donā€™t spend much time inside of it anyway, because I go and visit my mom across the street. The first time I went to visit, I didnā€™t know what my name was. Mom said, ā€œWell hello Mrs. Man. How are you today?ā€ Right then I figured out Mrs. Man was a Ā good name. Mom and I had a pretty nice little visit, and then I went back to the Whitakerā€™s garbage house and tried to straighten things up a little.

I didnā€™t have anything to sit on in the garbage house, so I went back over to Momā€™s and knocked on the door.

She said, ā€œWho is it?ā€ I said, ā€œItā€™s Mrs. Man. I came to see if you have any little kid chairs that I can use.ā€

She said, ā€œThere are two little kidā€™s folding chairs in my little girlā€™s bedroom. You can use them, but bring them back when youā€™re finished or Mr. Whitaker might burn them with his trash.ā€ So thatā€™s what Iā€™ve been doing every day that Iā€™m Mrs. Man.

1-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 009I named her Mrs. Man

Today, I asked Mom if she would like to come over to my house for coffee? She told me no! I was surprised that she said no like that. Mom loves to go have coffee with just about anybody. ā€œWhy donā€™t you want to come over for coffee,ā€ I asked? ā€œWell,ā€ she said, ā€œBecause I donā€™t like rats, and where thereā€™s garbage, thereā€™s always rats.ā€ I said, ā€œOh.ā€ Ā I thought about it for awhile, then I asked Mom if she would come with me to bring those chairs back that I had borrowed. I decided, since it was so hot, I wanted to open up a lemonade stand in front of OUR house.

Guess who my first customer was? Ā It was Gail Whitaker. I wanted to visit with her since she bought my lemonade so I said, ā€œGail, do those rats that live in your garbage filled shed ever come into your house?ā€ Gail told me she didnā€™t know about the shed, but she had never seen any rats or mice in her house.

Gail Whitaker at my lemonade stand

I had to drink a lot of my lemonade because it was so hot outside. About the time I ran out, Mom said to close up because we were going to see Grandma Sanderson.

When we got to Grandmaā€™s, I got some horehound candy to suck on and went out in the backyard. From there, I could see the little pond. Some of my cousins and a few other kids were playing in the water. I was really glad because the pond is fun and wading in it would make me cooler. We catch crawdads in the pond and cut off their heads and their legs and pretend to eat them. It takes a long time to get all the parts cut off just right. Suzanne Bork is the best at it.

Some of the older cousins built a raft kind of like Tom Sawyerā€™s. You can stand up on it and use a big stick to shove off. If there are two of us, we can use paddles, but the water isnā€™t deep enough to swim in. The bottom is slimy mud and when I walk in it, I can squish it between my toes. If we start early and have a lot of time, we can rub the mud all over our bodies and play like weā€™re in quicksand or use it to camouflage ourselves when we play like weā€™re hiding from the enemy.

There are all kinds of cattails and tall reeds in the pond. We can hide our raft in them when weā€™re playing like weā€™re pirates.

This isnā€™t the pondā€¦This is the Dam east of Murdo where Pink Sandy taught us all how to swim.

I ā€˜m always afraid that I will get into some quicksand and it will suck me up before Lassie can get help, or someone with a rope and a horse can get there to pull me out.

I can always figure out things to do with just myself, but I like playing with all the kids south of 16 the best. Either way, thereā€™s always someone or something imaginary around.

3feb7c7e397f3e8770588f87ddb3e513I like to dress in camo too and hide in Hawaii

******************************Years later, my dad came back from California to visit me. I picked him up at the airport in Rapid City. On the way back to Murdo, he was asking me about different people he knew. He asked how our old neighbor Ruben Whitaker was doing. I said that Ruben had died a while back. Dad seemed pretty sad about the news.

I just said, ā€œMy daughter is Mrs. Manā€

The next day, he went to the Pioneer Auto Museum. When he came home, he said, ā€œI went to see the Auto Museum today, and imagine my surprise when I ran into Ruben Whitaker. He works at the museum. I guess the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated.ā€ Almost every time I talked to Dad after that, he asked me how old Ruben Whitaker was doing.

I hired Ruben..I donā€™t know Mrs. Man


Grandpa Sanderson


  1. SANJUAN831July 11, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Makes me happy reading these great stories again. Beautiful pictures, especially of our one-of -a -kind Grandpa Sanderson.

    Liked byĀ 1 person

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Murdo Girl…Just give me a sign

Murdo Girl

Ā Iā€™m missing Murdo. Iā€™ve been trying to think of someone else Yram could interview there. Sheā€™s been complaining because she thinks you all see her in a bad light because she kind of botched the interviews with Mr. Thune, Coach Applebee (twice), Mrs. Peters, and Mr. Palmer. Geez, thatā€™s a lot of interviews to mess up. I think she should have one more chance to redeem herself, but as far as the bad light goes..take your gifts where you can get ā€™em Yram. Bad lights can be a good thing.


None of us knew it at the time, but Yram was actually at the all school reunion. She was in one of her disguises, but we should have known it was her when she talked, because of her nasal voice. Crack up reporters should not have a nasal voice. Iā€™ve got to hand it to her though, sheā€™s gotā€¦

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