Murdo Girl…1960

I’m going back in time for this story. The young girl telling us about her life, is eight years old, and the year is 1960. She lives in a small town in South Dakota by the name of Murdo.

I’m going to do my best to keep her on track, but she has a lot to say, and she tends to “get a little wordy.”


The lady said I’m eight, which is right. I think you should also know that in three months, on December 31st, I will be nine. I live with my Mom and Dad. I also have a brother whose name is Billy. He is almost eight years older than I am. If you were to ask him if he likes me, I really don’t know what he would say. He is either trying to make me stronger, or he hates me. There is no one meaner than my brother. I’ll tell you more about that later, if the lady lets me.

Right now, Billy’s not here. Mom made him go take her leftover goulash to her friend Bonna, and Bonna sent him to Kitty’s with her leftover meatloaf. He took the meatloaf to my Aunt Elna. Finally, he will bring my Aunt’s leftovers home. We eat whatever it is, but usually it’s tuna and noodle casserole. My favorite is when we just do an even Steven trade with Kitty. We give her ham and beans, and she gives us crusty Southern cornbread. This plan of trading almost caused a lot of trouble once, when one of the ladies got her own leftovers back.


I wonder where Billy is. I’m so hungry, I could eat every bit of that dried up tuna casserole.

(The lady just told me, I had to use first names ONLY, or we could get sued.)


I know everybody that lives in this town, but not all of their first names. I live on the North side of Highway 16, but my Grandpa and Grandma Sanderson, (they won’t sue me), and most of my cousins live on the South side. We used to live where my Grandparents live now, but my Dad built us a new house. I heard Billy really cried, because he didn’t want people to think we’re rich. He doesn’t like it when Dad gets a new Oldsmobile either. Can you imagine?


The druggist, Mr. Jack and his wife live next door. They have lots of crabapple trees in their backyard. Well, one day, my friend Suzanne and I were thinking, and we came up with a plan to get as many of those apples as we could. We checked really carefully to make sure Mr. and Mrs. Jack’s car was gone. We took two paper bags and we each climbed a tree. We  had two bags full, when Mr. Jack came out and caught us red handed. (the apples were red).

I figured out that Suzanne wasn’t going to say anything, so I said, “Mr. Jack, we are picking these apples for you.” Well, he told us to get down out of those trees and don’t ever come back. He didn’t say to drop the apples we’d already picked, so we took the sacks we had full, and ran all the way back to Suzanne’s house South of 16. We ate so many apples we were sick. Come to think about it, almost every time I play with Suzanne, I get in trouble. Once we smoked a whole pack of Mom’s Salem cigarettes. I got sick then too.

Awhile back, we went to Rapid City to get our eyes checked. I really wanted to wear glasses, but my eyes are perfect. Billy’s eyes are the opposite of cross-eyed so he got glasses to keep them straight. I noticed that he never wore them so I took them and bent them to make them fit me… sort of. I thought I looked good in those glasses. I wore them in school for a couple of weeks. One day, I was playing with my friends at recess, when I saw Mom drive up in her car. I was so used to wearing the glasses, that I forgot I even had them on. Mom stormed over to me and said “Mary Content!” She was really mad and she said it was a wonder those glasses didn’t make me go cross-eyed. I don’t know who told on me, but they are NOT my friend. Billy never did wear those glasses.

Well, Mom just came in my room and told me it was time for bed. I recently figured out that if I put my school clothes on the night before, I can sleep later in the morning. So far, it’s working pretty good.

I hope the lady likes what I wrote. If she does, I’ll write some more tomorrow.



5 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…1960

  1. countrygirl57 March 23, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    Mary, this is great! My chuckles for the morning! Love you. ❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Valerie Halla March 23, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    Mary, I complement you for writing all your memories and stories down on paper. Your Uncle Chuck did and now it’s your turn. Always heard he was brilliant, and you’re the best.


  3. Valerie Halla March 23, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    Love this viewpoint of a little girl. Like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.


  4. Barbara Bartels Olson March 23, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    I thaught this was very interesting, I myself was born in Murdo, South Dakota in 1956, so I know some of the people around there, Karen Applebee was my 1st grade teacher in Oakaton, Lon Lyman 2nd grade, Mr. Pennikoff”msp” was the upper grade teacher. The more stories I hear of this area, the better!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karen March 25, 2016 / 12:06 am

    So cute! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing! You have a gift Mary!


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