Murdo Girl…Sanderson’s Store remembered

We received so many comments about “Murdo Girl…The visit,” and Sanderson’s Store, we decided to give the little Murdo Girl a much needed break. (You have no idea how hard she works.) Today’s post is a compilation of some of the memories M.E. and Mary Sanderson’s Grandsons have of the store. These thoughts were gathered by our cousin Valerie Leckey a few years back. Valerie has also provided many of the photos you see in “Murdo Girl.” 

The Cousins Recall their Sanderson’s Store Memories


From Left: Greg Miller, Terry Sanderson, Blake Haverberg, Jeff H. Sanderson, Bobby Haverberg, Billy Francis (Mark Sanderson probably took the picture)

Jeff H. Sanderson

Someone told Grandpa Sanderson that he would never do as well as Burnham, (the previous owner). It may have been one of those darn bankers. It was not a bed of roses when he started out, as I remember he said some days they would go all day without a customer. I believe Grandpa bought it around 1930 which were tough times. I just thought about that lately. I never remember Grandpa once saying that it was during the depression. As long as I can remember, he was always very positive and always saw the glass half full. He built up quite a business at the store as later he even sold tractors (Minneapolis Moline Tractors) and other farm equipment. Leroy Fedderson, (who was one year older than me), and I enjoyed working with Uncle Al. He took us out fishing one night to Grand Coulee, a large stock dam south of Okaton and we had a  lot of fun.

One of my favorite stories is when Bobby and Blake Haverberg, (the Michigan cousins), and one of their friends, came out to South Dakota and were staying above the store. They drove nonstop, got in about 8:00 a.m. and Grandpa had them out at the fishing dam around 9:00 a.m., brought them in about 9:30 p.m. and they were all beet red. As Blake was heading up those long stairs, he hollered back at my Dad to not let Grandpa near them until 2:00 p.m. the next day!

Al Leckey (Ella) and Grandpa Sanderson

Billy Francis

There was a vent on the floor of the apartment, above the counter at Sanderson’s store. I used to lower a string down to the counter. Uncle Al, who was working in the store at the time, would tie a piece of penny candy onto the bottom of the string, and I would pull it up through the vent! I worked at the store for four summers, starting when I was 11. Aunt Tet (grandpa’s sister) was always my favorite. I couldn’t wait for the next morning when we got to talk about the baseball game we had listened to on the radio the night before. Tet loved noon hour when the kids came in for penny candy. She did not go to lunch until 1:00 p.m. after the kids had gone back to school.

Billy Francis and Valerie Leckey
Terry Sanderson
Sanderson’s Store was kind of the Walmart of Murdo. They carried dry goods, hardware, groceries, sporting goods, and a few other items.  They also had a Minneapolis Moline farm equipment dealership on the corner lot south of the store.
My first bicycle came from there along with a few guns that I purchased from Uncle Jeff.
I recall the enclosed meat case  and the large counter where all transactions culminated.  Saturday nights ran late with the store staying open until the late hours to accommodate the farmers who were late in getting to town.  Uncle Jeff delivered groceries to many of the older people who were unable to get up and do their own shopping.
One humorous story I heard, I believe involved Uncle Al.  The store had just received a large gallon jar of horseradish.  The story goes that Frank McCurdy came in the store and commented that they just didn’t make horseradish like they used to. Uncle Al took the lid off the jar and passed it under Frank’s nose and told him to take a whiff of it.  Frank apparently nearly passed out as a result.
The old dark basement under the main store was a place of mystery as was the long storage area built onto the back of the store.

Grandma Mary Sanderson in the living quarters, and Aunt Tet Sanderson, Grandpa’s sister, who worked at the store for many years with Sandy, Grandpa’s brother, and Melitha, his sister, both from Iowa

Terry continued

There were lots of family get togethers up above the store in Grandma and Grandpa’s living quarters, and I recall playing on the open roof area behind the living area.

The store served the community for many, many years.  Several years after it had closed, the bank I worked in bought the property and had the building demolished in preparation for building a new bank building.  The bank building didn’t happen, but the local electric cooperative built a large office building on the site.

10 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Sanderson’s Store remembered

  1. Brenda (Kerns) Polk April 30, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I remember walking back to school after dinner (lunch) stopping at the Post Office, and my Grandma Kerns would give me some change So I could buy some penny candy at Sanderson’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 30, 2016 / 9:08 pm

      Hi Brenda, I got a little brown bag of candy before the show too. I love getting comments! Thanks!


  2. lifelessons April 30, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    Mary… I just did a post to the prompt “I Remember” for National Poetry Month. Many of the memories were of Sanderson’s Store! This was before I had read these, so it is quite a coincidence…I’ll send you the URL.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. countrygirl57 April 30, 2016 / 9:32 pm


    Sent from my iPhone



  4. lifelessons April 30, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    I thought the guy with the mustache was Mark! Cool dudes.


    • Mary Francis McNinch April 30, 2016 / 9:38 pm

      I’m waiting for one of them to call and complain…it will probably be Billy…they all néed to get together more often.


      • lifelessons April 30, 2016 / 9:44 pm

        We will become the Gossip Girls of Murdo…ha. You more than me. I’m the Gossip Girl of the world!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. lifelessons April 30, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    If anyone has any photos of the inside of the store, I’d love to see them. I mainly remember the long counter..Had forgotten about the aisles to the left as you enter. Mainly, I remember the pneumatic door shutting on my middle finger and losing the fingernail. The growth was stunted in 1/2 of the finger after that, so as I grew, the tip of the finger grew at a slant instead of straight across like the other fingers. Every time I look at my hands, I remember Sanderson’s Store!


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