Murdo Girl…Auditorium action..or not

It’s 9:00 o’clock, and the not so little Murdo Girl just turned her paper in. I think it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but it’s too late to do anything about it. Besides, I’m suddenly really craving a Fern’s cheeseburger.


It’s seven o’clock Friday night, and Karen, Marlene, and I are all at the auditorium for the school dance. (Don’t worry lady, I have plenty of time to write my paper.) There are two teachers, and two parents chaperoning. Let me tell you something. They’re going to be so bored, by the end of the night, they’ll probably hope someone makes a run for it, so they can fight over who “gets” to go after them. Where do they think we’re going to go? Actually, a good old hamburger from Fern’s Cafe sounds pretty good. It’s real close now too since they moved. By the way, I heard Karen Lindquist’s Dad is going to make her go wash dishes at Fern’s. (In about seven years.)


This is a picture of Karen hiding out at the Chalet Motel

If you want to know the truth, our class is a bunch of rule followers. There won’t be any surprises here tonight. (Unless someone makes a fuss about the girl who’s wearing corduroy pants instead of a skirt or dress. It’s cold out there tonight.)

Someone cut my bangs so short, I had to plaster them against my head with scotch tape to make them look as long as I could. I obviously don’t even know how ridiculous I look.

I’m not that crazy about the 7th and 8th grade dances. I think they cause too much worry. All the girls spend days and days trying to decide what boys they like, and which ones they do or don’t want to dance with. The boys probably do the same thing. Surprisingly, kids don’t all look at this the same. Some don’t even want to dance with the one they have a crush on, because it’s too much pressure. Others have been telling everyone they don’t like someone when they really do, but they aren’t quite ready to go public with it.

Here’s how it goes…the dances start at 7:00 and last until 9:00. The only thing there is to do is dance to a record player, which nobody does until about 8:30. Well, actually the girls dance with each other, and the boys just stand in a group and talk. They don’t really watch the girls because they’re afraid to make eye contact. Then at 8:30 the chaperones yell, “You better get out there and dance, you only have 30 more minutes!” That’s when the boys finally get up the nerve to ask a girl to dance.

This is Marlene, Karen, and Mary trying to make eye contact. (Probably with Eddie Jackson.) It seems like it takes forever sometimes.


If some of the boys still can’t get up the nerve to ask a girl, the leftover girls just keep dancing with each other. There have been times, when I have wished the 30 dancing minutes would hurry up and be over, and times I didn’t want them to ever end. Other times, I wish I had just kept dancing with the girls. What am I talking about? There are only 2 dances a year.

Personally, I think it’s too much work trying to figure out the best time to make eye contact so the right guy will ask you to dance. Just think about it. The poor guy might have 3 or 4 different girls trying to make eye contact with him. If you see a boy staring at his shoes, that could be the reason.

Even if you do get the one you want, there is no guarantee he knows how to dance. Then what are you going to do? It’s too late to make eye contact with someone else.

There are two things I can tell you for sure. Usually, the only boys that can dance are the ones who have older sisters to teach them.The sisters should tell their brothers to dance two dances with the same girl, then move on. If you chose the wrong person, and have to dance with them the whole thirty minutes, it’s wasted time. Besides, everyone will get the wrong idea and think you really like each other, and if one or both of you don’t feel the same way, it could take weeks to undo that misconception. Secondly, and I guess I should only speak for myself, I usually leave the dance with a crush on a different boy than when I got there.

There is one boy I like to dance with whether I like him or not. He can polka, and that is so much fun. His name is Don and he doesn’t even have an older sister. Anyway, you can burn up a lot of nervousness by going all over that auditorium doing the polka.

The chaperones. One of them is missing…probably at Fern’s


That is NOT a hamburger from Fern’s Cafe!! 


26 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Auditorium action..or not

  1. lifelessons May 17, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    I don’t think Fern ever did have French fries, though, did she? You had to order mashed potatoes and gravy with your hamburger if you wanted any side dish. But, her hot beef sandwiches were to die for! Where did her restaurant move to? To the gas station nearest the auditorium where Mrs. Dugan had her restaurant? I don’t think I ever went to Fern’s after it moved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch May 17, 2016 / 10:37 pm

      Yes, it was at the Sinclair Station. I was talking to Karen Lindquist tonight and she said the same thing, no fries.


      • lifelessons May 17, 2016 / 11:12 pm

        And Mrs. Dugan made the best pies I’ve ever tasted. My sister Betty once went and bought one and told her boyfriend she’d made it! Ha. I was a friend of Mrs. Dugan’s granddaughter Shirley who would come to visit and when she did, I’d go “wait tables” in the Sinclair Station diner. I loved playing waitress. Shirley once asked her grandmother why I got all the tips and Mrs. Dugan said, “Because she’s nice to the customers!!!” It was a game to me but a dreaded obligation for Shirley! Did I split my tips with her? I fear I didn’t. Naughty me. Bet the little Murdo girl wouldn’t have either!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch May 17, 2016 / 11:29 pm

        No, I don’t think I would have. I still mourn the loss of the “sales tax can.” I’m trying to remember the Dugans. The name is very familiar, and I love pie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 1:23 am

        They lived across the street north of the high school–the old one. Right next door to Mrs. Parks. Diane Dugan was her granddaughter and lived with her. She was in my sister Patti’s class. Her oldest daughter Marianne was my sister Betty Jo’s best friend. Every summer her grandkids Joyce and Shirley would come visit… and the were the same ages as Patti and me. I always loved meeting new kids in town, so for me summers were like a friend smorgasboard. Mrs. Parish’s granddaughters would also come and I loved playing with them as well. Marybeth and …. can’t remember the other’s name. Perhaps Kathy. Their house was the one Palmers later bought.. across the street from our new house in Murdo. Now. Can you explain the sales tax can? Did you always put the sales tax money in it as people paid it so you’d have it when you paid quarterly taxes? I take it your folks didn’t realize you were using it for mad money. What a tragedy that your sales tax can and charge account at the store both dried up at once!


      • Mary Francis McNinch May 18, 2016 / 6:38 am

        The Chalet didn’t take credit cards, so we operated out of a bank bag. I learned at an early age, how to count money back. At the end of the night, Mom would balance the bag, then throw all the change she didn’t need for the next night into a coffee can in the cupboard. She used it to wash towels at the laundromat, but there was always upwards of $200 in there. They had to pay the sales tax each quarter, but I don’t recall Mom depositing the change….Where did Nels Haugland’s Mother live? I think she raised 2 lovely young girls.


      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 5:06 pm

        Was Nels Haugland Doris Haugland’s husband? Who was his mother? Nels and Doris had Karen and Essie Haugland.. is that who you are talking about???


      • Mary Francis McNinch May 18, 2016 / 5:15 pm

        Yes, Nels was Essie, Karen, and Morris’s father, I think there was one more brother. I can picture Nels’s mother, but don’t recall her name. She raised 2 girls. One of them, Martha, married a Rankin from Draper. I think the younger one was Linda. I can’t remember who their parents were.


      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 5:30 pm

        Yes.. She died young and Aunt Ellen raised the girls, Martha who married the Ranking boy and Linda–who married David Brost. They lived next to the Thune’s, across from the football field. Maurice Haughland was later a principal of the high school while I was still going there. I think during my Jr. and Sr. year. I had forgotten that he was Essie and Karen’s brother. I think the other brother was David.


      • Mary Francis McNinch May 18, 2016 / 6:48 pm

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. Was Ellen Nels Haugland’s sister? Morris Haugland was the High School Superintendent until I was a Sr.


      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 6:53 pm

        Yes, I believe she was his much older maiden sister as everyone called her “Aunt Ellen.” What year did you graduate?


      • Mary Francis McNinch May 18, 2016 / 7:21 pm

        1970 and Bill in 62..When did you graduate?

        Sent from my Sprint phone

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      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 6:04 pm

        But, I think Nels was Linda and Martha’s father and his first wife was their mother, not his mother. Aunt Ellen raised them, I think, because their mother died. Both very sweet women. Linda died one or two years ago.


      • lifelessons May 17, 2016 / 11:14 pm

        Ask Karen if she remembers how my dad spent so much time in her dad’s filling station after he retired that he (my dad) ended up moving his recliner rocker in so he’d be comfortable!!! Dean was such a nice guy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch May 17, 2016 / 11:35 pm

        Are you kidding? He really moved his chair to the station? I can just picture it. What a great visual and Murdo character story. The Lindquist girls are hosting a birthday party for Dean during the reunion. It’s his 80th

        Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 1:16 am

        I’m so glad. Dean is one of my favorites. You can ask him. He’ll back me up on the chair story. I guess my dad believed that age has its privileges. What I can’t believe is that on July 3, I will be one year younger than my dad was when he died. Sobering. I also can’t believe that when I moved to Mexico, I was the exact same age as my mom was when she and Dad moved to Arizona. They seemed so much older than I feel.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch May 18, 2016 / 6:41 am

        Bill was extremely worried about dying as young as Dad. He was only 61. We talked about what a relief it was to get past that age.


      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 5:01 pm

        When did your mom die, Mary? And was she still living in Murdo? You know your grandpa’s brother Sandy recruited my sister Betty Jo to go to Cornell College. Did you know that?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch May 18, 2016 / 5:10 pm

        I didn’t know Uncle Sandy recruited Betty Jo to attend Cornell. How did that happen? Mom and Gus moved to California around 82. Mom died in 2008. We took her ashes to Horse Creek, south of Murdo, in June of 2009.The whole family was there. Greg Miller lined up 4-wheel drives to get us all to the log house site. It was quite something.


      • lifelessons May 18, 2016 / 5:13 pm

        I split one with Rita North at Wall Drug when we drove through a few years ago. It tasted just like Fern’s… Ah, nostalgia.


  2. countrygirl57 May 17, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 love this. Perfect memories of school dances. 😊😊

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Carol Fairbanks May 17, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    I don’t the kids in my class appreciated her as much as we should have – Mrs. Thomas did not let anyone just stand around at our school dances! We all had to be either dancing, playing games or helping someone! Oh, and we also had to square dance once in awhile! Lol! Ethel Thomas was a super lady, though!


    • Carol Fairbanks May 17, 2016 / 8:17 pm

      I don’t think – geez, should have read my comments better!


    • Mary Francis McNinch May 17, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Mrs Thomas was my Sunday School teacher. Where did she teach school? She was the sweetest lady.


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