Murdo Girl…Grandma goes to town.

I enjoyed reading about the little Murdo Girl’s remarkable Grandpa and Grandma. It’s surprising how much they remind me of my own Grandparents. 


My Grandma Sanderson can’t hear very well, and she won’t even think about wearing a hearing aid. Even though she’s hard of hearing, she likes to know what’s going on. Almost every day, my Aunt Elna takes her to have coffee with the ladies. Grandma calls it “Going to town.” She also likes going to the beauty shop every week. These are the two main places all the ladies get the news.


Sometimes Grandma calls one of my Aunts or my Mom on the phone. She really can’t hear what they say, but she’s mainly calling to tell them something anyway. She called Mom when our new house was being built, and asked her what she was going to feed all the men. Mom told her she wasn’t going to feed them anything. They were going to eat at Mack’s Cafe. Grandma said, “Yes, and coffee.”

She was talking to Aunt Elna and asked her how her garden was doing. Aunt Elna said there were beans on her vines. Grandma said, “Now, what do you suppose caused that?”

I was talking to her the other day, and I asked her about the time she got a fish bone caught in her throat. Her eyes got really big and she asked me, “For Land’s Sake, did they get it out?”

When Billy and I have been to Grandma’s, we talk really loud, because we’ve gotten used to it, and forget that we don’t have to talk that loud at home. Mom always yells at us to stop yelling.

I love to eat at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandma always puts some of everything she has in little dishes, and sets them on the table. Once I counted eight different things. One of the things is always what she calls “sauce.” She makes it by cooking dried fruit in water. There is always a pot of prunes, apricots, or  rhubarb from her backyard, stewing on the stove.

The girl cousins take turns staying with Grandma when Grandpa is gone overnight. (Sometimes he goes deer hunting, or on fishing trips with the boy cousins, or some other men. I think Slim Hulse is his main fishing buddy.) Grandma loves cherry pie. If she has pie or cake in the icebox, she puts it in one of the little dishes and let’s us eat it for breakfast.

The thing I like best of all the food I eat at Grandma and Grandpa’s is cornmeal mush. Grandpa makes cornmeal, like you would make hot cereal. When it’s cooked, he puts it in a loaf pan. He puts the pan in the icebox, until the mush gets really cold. Then, he slices it, rolls it in flour, and fries it. We eat it with syrup on it. If you haven’t tried it, you should.

There’s two reasons I don’t especially like to go fishing with Grandpa. One reason, is he goes before the sun comes up, and stays until it’s almost dark. The second thing is, he brings yucky sandwiches, a thermos of milk, and one of coffee. Sometimes he’ll bring a cookie or two. That is all we get to eat for the whole day.

Sometimes, we take his little fishing boat, which is fun. If we catch a lot of smaller fish, we usually take them to another dam and stock it with the fish. I guess he’s trying to get the same amount of fish in all the dams. Grandpa doesn’t even really like to eat fish that much anymore, and neither do most of the rest of us. You see, Grandpa retired from the store too young, he had been kind of sickly in his younger years, and was worried he wouldn’t live long enough to fish as much as he wanted to. It turns out he’s really healthy now, and we’ve all eaten lots and lots of fried fish.

Grandma aways wears beads. I have never seen her without beads on. She has them in just about every color. She wears nylon stockings every day too. She is so tiny, they kind of wrinkle on her legs. She always has a tissue stuffed up her sleeve in case she needs one.

Grandma always sits in her chair that faces the TV. It swivels and rocks. She gets in the chair kind of like Carol Burnett does. She kind of moves back and forth to get at the right angle, then she just flops down in it. She scares us half to death every time she sits down, because that chair rocks so far back, we just know it’s going to go backwards and hit the floor with Grandma in it. She doesn’t seem to worry a bit about it.

Grandma likes to watch McHale’s Navy, only she calls it Haley’s Navy. She doesn’t really like Jackie Gleason. She says he’s too fat and he’s going to die.

One thing Mom told me that made me sad, was when Uncle Jeff was in the service, and he had to ship out from California. Grandma tried so hard to get there before he left, but she couldn’t. Mom said Grandma wouldn’t even look at the ocean the whole time she was in California, because it took her Jeff away.

Now something funny. Mom came home today, after having coffee with Grandma. Mom said, “I can’t believe what Grandma just said to me. She said wasn’t I happy that both of my kids have Bill’s disposition.” I think secretly, Mom thought that was kind of funny. Grandma really likes my Dad. When he cooks Sunday dinner and Grandma and Grandpa come over, she always leaves a ten cent tip by her plate.


I could write forever about my Grandma and Grandpa, but I don’t have forever tonight. I’m lucky, and so is Billy and all of our cousins. We have the best Grandma and Grandpa that ever was.


All the cousins except Patrice Haverberg, who wasn’t born yet.

Back L, Blake Haverberg, Jeff H. Sanderson, Bobbie Haverberg, Terry Sanderson, holding Greg Miller, Billy Francis, holding Sue Ann Haverberg…Middle L, Mark Sanderson, Mary Francis, Stephanie Miller, Front L, Andrea Miller, and Valerie Leckey.

15 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Grandma goes to town.

  1. Valerie Halla April 5, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    This is my favorite one so far, but this Murdo Girl is doing an excellent job on all these chapters!
    We were so lucky to have had wonderful, strong, practical and cheerful grandparents. You are right. Thanks for keeping these memories alive.


    • Mary Francis McNinch April 5, 2016 / 10:25 pm

      Valerie, Thanks for all your help, and wonderful photos. Aren’t we having fun reliving our memories of such a wonderful family?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol Callihan Fairbanks April 5, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    I am loving these stories! One of my favorite part of the day when I relax for the evening and check my Facebook! Keep it up Mary Francis!


  3. Jean Penticoff April 5, 2016 / 11:14 pm

    So Mary these are wonderful stories. I was wondering did you write all these stories growing up or are you just now writing them. Some of is “inquiring” minds want to know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 5, 2016 / 11:32 pm

      Hi Jean, I started writing my Murdo memories about a year ago. Billy and My cousin Valerie have been helpful and encouaging. I keep saying the stories write themselves. I’ve had some pretty incredible people in my life, and Murdo is where it all happened.


  4. Teresa Palmer April 6, 2016 / 9:01 am

    Brought a smile and laugh to my day! Loved the hard of hearing stories-the beans and fish bone! Never really knew my grandparents (3 were gone before I was even born-my Fosheim Grandfather froze in the 52 blizzard) so your stories are so special! Also liked the “tipping”! Looking forward to the next one!


    • Mary Francis McNinch April 6, 2016 / 10:41 am

      I was born 12/31/51. My parents had to drive to Sioux Falls, because Mom had to have a C section. Dad said he had to drive in all that bad weather, and couldn’t even smoke a cigar. Glad you’re enjoying the stories Teresa!


  5. Bob Haverberg April 6, 2016 / 10:26 am

    Loving the words, the thoughts, the photos, and all the memories.


  6. M Iverson April 6, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    We are driving home from Sioux Falls and I read the latest post to Bob about grandma. Then he explains everything to me. Today he told me about Billy’s broken leg. Bob must have missed that chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 6, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      That’s funny. Bill added to the accident info. There were 2 girls in the car (Sharp), one was holding Billy on her lap and went through the window first, which probably saved his life. She had a deep gash on her head. The tractor driver was thrown in the air and landed on his head. He walked away from the hospital later that night. Thanks for reading and I love your comments.


  7. Bill Francis April 6, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    Wonderful story! One correction, Grandpa’s fishing partner was Slim Litzke, not Slim Hulce. Slim was a retired REA man who used to climb poles to fix the lines. Slim Hulce was (I think) a relative of Doris Haugland who worked as a dish washer at Mack’s cafe.Remind me to tell you a story of Slim and Morris’ first wife!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 6, 2018 / 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Bill…I meant to correct Slim’s name. He was Evie McKenzie’s brother. I will remind you about the story.


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