Murdo Girl…Just a cotton picking minute

Mother’s Day is over and summer is almost here. The little Murdo Girl’s paper gives us another great example of having fun without funds. She and her friend, Marlene experienced a hair-raising adventure in Alabama without even leaving Murdo. 


The Motel is open again. I don’t have to work too much, because school’s not out yet. Mom only has Marlene and me rent rooms if she has to run an errand, or fix supper. Business is really slow until all the kids get out of school and families can travel.

Well, one night Marlene and I did something we don’t usually do. We befriended some tourists. A Mom and a Grandma were traveling, and they had two kids with them.  They said it was fine with their teachers, because  they were going to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. That made it educational and all they had to do was write a paper about it.

They were kind of fun to talk to because they had been a lot of places. I guess they don’t go to school much. Anyway, they told us they lived in Alabama, and their Grandma had spent her childhood picking cotton. Later in life, she came into some money and was able to buy a pretty nice house. They even had a couple of servants. (After their Mom had them, her husband took off and they really never got to know him.)

A kid picking cotton in Alabama

This is where it gets interesting. The servants liked them, and they liked the servants too, since they practically raised the two kids. They told us the servants lived in a little house not too far from the big house. Well, one day the lady servant who took care of them, said her Grandma died. I guess it’s a tradition in the South when someone dies, you lay them out in the front room for a couple of days. At night you cover them up with a sheet.

On the second night, the lady servant came screaming up the hill to the big house. She said the Grandma had come back alive, and she was scared stiff . Marlene and I just looked at each other, but we didn’t say anything.

The kid’s Mom knew that it’s impossible for a dead person to come alive, so she wasn’t at all afraid to walk down the hill with the servant lady to check things out. When they walked in the door, the kid’s Mom could see the body laying out with a sheet over it.

Well, imagine her surprise, when in fact, the sheet was moving just like the servant had said. It really did appear that there was a live person under there after all. I was kind of flipping out now, and so was Marlene, but we still didn’t say anything.

You want to know what happened next? The kid’s Mom walked right over to the laid- out body and pulled the sheet off. There was a cat walking around under there, and the old Grandma was still as dead as a doornail.

Marlene and I decided that if  weird things like that happened in Murdo like where those kids live, we’d want to travel around too.

We’d been sitting out on the brick planters with the Alabama kids, when Mom came to relieve us. It was getting dark and Marlene didn’t want to walk all the way home by herself. We finally decided that I would walk her halfway home, which I did, then she took off running to her house, and I ran really fast back to mine.

The planters in front of the Chalet Motel where the kids told us their true story.

When I told Mom all about it, she just kept nodding her head kind of skeptically. She got up and walked over to the desk and looked at the guest register. She said, “Well, I thought they were probably just spinning yarns, but according to their registration, they are from Alabama.”

I’ll never forget that story, but I did forget what those kid’s names are.

There’s another reason I kind of believe them. The boy said he ordered a Dick Tracy secret decoder ring that glows in the dark. It got there during the daytime. His Mom said, “That looks like fun. Tonight when it gets dark, you can try it out.” Well, the kid didn’t want to wait that long, so he shut himself in a dark closet. He said the ring truly did glow, but the door locked and he couldn’t get out. It was about 4 hours before they finally found him.


Just ask yourself. Would a kid tell a story that made him look stupid like that if it wasn’t true? Besides, If Billy told a big whopper and I knew he was lying, I’d tell on him. That kid’s sister nodded her head the whole time like it was all true.


Anyway, Marlene and I are going out to the Webb’s house Friday night. Sometimes we tell ghost stories and now we’ll have a new one. We’re all getting tired of the one where the Mom sends her kid to the store for liver. On the way back it get’s dark. All the way home she keeps hearing, “I want my liver back!! The voice gets closer…I want my liver back… and closer… louder and louder, “I WANT MY LIVER BACK.” Finally, the man without a liver gets really close. He’s practically breathing down her neck…Then he says…..GOTCHA!!!”





Murdo Girl…The call girls

I know the Little Murdo Girl and her brother Billy, really love their Mom. Billy took her to the races for Mother’s Day, but really, what could be better than a heartfelt poem from your daughter?


Hi Mom, I called to…Mary is that you?

Yes Mom, I want to…I called Ella today. I had some “news” to tell. To get a word in edgewise, I really had to yell!

Well, Mom how long…Oh, we talked an hour, and it was on my dime. If she wants to talk again, she’ll have to call next time.

So, Mom…I’d tell you what she said, but it was blah, blah, blah. If you really want the truth, I forgot it, ha, ha, ha.

I only have a minute Mo…I went shopping with my coupons. I thought I’d save a ton. They told me they were all expired, no more two for one. Say, last time I saw you, I was constipated. Did I tell you aloe vera juice is very overrated? I use Metamucil now, two teaspoons to a cup. You should try it dear, you really sound bound up.

1-IMG_20160506_0002 (1)

I have a question Mo…I have a tickle in my throat. I’m sure that I’ll start coughin. It’s been fun catching up. You should call more often.

I’ve been trying to reach you Mom, but it’s been really hard….

Oh never mind, this Mother’s Day, I’ll just send a card.

I heard her hang the phone up. She was in a tizzy.

I knew, if I called back again, the line would still be busy.

She’d be calling sister Ella, so they can talk in rhymes.

I know for sure that every day, they talk at least 3 times.



Ella and Loretta Sanderson…sisters and friends

Murdo Girl…We can work it out

Well, Dad really cramped my style, when he took away my freedom to use the sales tax can money. I needed some cash twice yesterday. I asked Mom the first time and I got 10 dimes. Dad wasn’t home, so I had to ask Mom the 2nd time too. This time I got 15 nickels. I could see a bunch of pennies in my future.


The next day when I asked Dad for money to go to the show, he said, “When you were about 5, you said you were thirsty for gum, and I gave you a quarter. You said you wanted folding money.” Then, he told me about the time Billy saved his money to buy Dad a Christmas present. He was trying really hard not to tell Dad what he got him. Anyway, Billy said, “I’m not going to tell you what I got you for Christmas Dad, but you’re not going to need to use that old knife anymore.” (I think Billy was about 22 then.)

By the time I’d listened to all that, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I was just going to have to get a job. I would have done the towel job, but the Motel was still closed for the winter.

I thought about it, and a few ideas came to mind. Mom washes all Dad’s shirts, but she has a little old lady across town iron them. Well, everytime we go get them, Mom has to re-iron them. She doesn’t want to make the ironing lady feel bad so she keeps taking them over there. She has to leave them for 4 days, then she drives over there, picks up the shirts, brings them home, and irons them again.

I asked Mom if she would pay me to do the re-ironing. We soon came to an agreement. There are usually 7 shirts a week, and Mom is going to pay me  $.25 a shirt. That’s a good start, but I need more than $1.75 a week. Maybe Dad will feel sorry for me and wear more shirts.

82d83e6909c7a262c9eb53ed15e28f9fCynthia Bork barters. She loves green olives. She usually gets quite a few jars for Christmas, but it’s never enough to last her all year. She goes around the neighborhood asking people if they have a jar of green olives. If they do, she does their dishes or mops the floor for olives. She does quite a bit of work for my Aunt Elna. That sounds like a good idea, but I don’t like any particular kind of food enough to work for it. It reminds me of Wimpy in the Popeye cartoon…”I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Besides, I need cash.

Mom went to Pierre today and she said she would buy me something. Have you seen those new poor boy dresses? I really want one. The top part is ribbed knit, and goes down to your hips, then it’s a skirt. The ones I’ve seen have a wide belt that goes around your hips. You can also get a hipster skirt with a wide belt. I hope Mom brings me one.

This is a poor boy dress

Mom got me a poor boy dress. Marlene was here when she gave it to me. It was a poor boy dress like in the picture, except it was purple with BIG touqouise polka dots all over the skirt part.  Marlene said, “Eeeeeew! “You’re not going to wear that are you?”

Even if I liked it, which I don’t, I couldn’t wear it after Marlene said that! Then Marlene went over to my closet and pulled out these very ugly shoes. “I know,”she said. “You can wear it with these turquoise shoes.”

When Mom and Dad went to California, and I stayed with Marlene for a month, Mom bought us each a pair of suede shoes with fur on them. They had little heels and no back. I know what you’re thinking, and no, they weren’t even bedroom slippers. I got the turquoise and Marlene got hot pink. Marlene kind of liked hers, but they were too small. Unfortunately, mine fit me.

See what I mean? I need my own money, so I can buy my own clothes!



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Today, (May 6th), is Mom’s birthday…Billy, Mom, Mason (1 of my kids), and Gus

Many of you Murdo folks know Gus. He and Mom were married for 38 years, before she died in 2008. He is a wonderful man. We are all so grateful for him and love him very, very much. He’s living in Ontario California. Bill goes to the horse races with him every Saturday. Gus usually comes to Texas for Thanksgiving, and we go out there when we can.

Mom always said she lied about her age so much, her kids finally got older than she was.


Murdo Girl…Surprises in store

How many Mothers, who have 3 children of their own, would be willing to spend all day giving a 12 year old a permanent, or try to teach her how to use a sewing machine. These two ladies deserve recognition on Mother’s Day. I know the little Murdo Girl appreciates all they’ve done for her. I hope her Mother gave them a great big thank you too! 


Bonna Lindquist gave me a Toni home permanent. She got some pink barrettes, and pinned the sides of my hair back, which gave me a whole new look. I have been cutting my own hair some, but Mom wouldn’t let me tackle a permanent.

d1afff4f1a5e2dd06a3f21ffe5e25b28Ever since I quit the ringlets, I’ve been having a hard time deciding how to wear my hair. This is the first time someone else has changed me up and I had no idea how it was going to turn out. When I got home, Dad was there, and he just shook his head and said, “I’d rather shave.”

Sometimes, I like how someone else looks, and try to copy it. Remember when I went to see the movie Flipper? The girl in the movie was really cute, and I liked how she looked. She wore plaid button up shirts with jeans or shorts. I took some money out of the sales tax can, and went uptown to look for a plaid shirt. I went to Joy Paine’s store, and Lee Beckwith’s store.  I couldn’t find one, so I have to stay with the same look, until I can get to Pierre. The girl, ( Kim), had long braids, not short curly hair with barrettes, so I can’t really look like her anyway.

Plaid sleeveless shirt -  red
If you see one like this, tell me.

Have you ever heard of a “come as you are”party? Mom just went to one this morning at Pat Anshutz’s house. Mrs. Anshutz called a bunch of women and told them to come to her house just like they were right then, and not change anything. She was having a “come as you are” coffee party. Mom was in the middle of brushing her teeth and she only had one shoe on. She didn’t even wash her face or anything. She took her toothbrush with the toothpaste still on it, and carried her other shoe. I didn’t tell her she had really mushed hair in the back of her head. It looked like a rat had built a nest back there. When Mom got home, she said she was the first one there, and all of the ladies cheated, but Pat, Mom, and one other lady who came in her pj’s. She said they had the most fun. I asked her if she got a prize, but she didn’t answer me.

BL: Harriet Parish, Sugar Parker, Mom, Linda Kessler, and Evelyn McKenzie (I could be wrong on these names.)

Mom and Dad are going to another party Saturday night at Aunt Irma and Uncle Jeff’s house. I heard Mom say practically the whole town is invited.

Aunt Irma and Uncle Jeff Sanderson 

I’m going to Roni Poppe’s house to spend the night. They live on a farm over towards Okaton. I’m really excited about going there, because Roni is going to teach me how to sew. I asked for a sewing machine for my birthday and I got a used, portable one. Like Mrs. Theissen said, I need to learn how to do something useful. I picked out a dress pattern and some pink material to go with my pink barrettes. I had to get a zipper too.

Roni, Norma, Betty
Roni, Norma, and Betty. I don’t have a picture of Bonna, but Norma looks a whole lot like her.


I started this paper awhile ago, and saved it so I could tell you how everything turned out.

Sewing is a lot harder than it looks. Roni showed me how to pin the pattern to the material, and cut it out. She said the fabric I picked out wasn’t the best because it frayed all over the place. We had to sew the zipper in 3 times. The dress has long sleeves, but we only had time to put one in. I wanted to play with her kids some before we had to go to bed. Roni is married to Glenn and they have 3 kids, Glenda, Bobby, and Timmy.

I took the dress home and tried to finish it. When I was done, I tried it on, and I couldn’t get my arm in the sleeve that I had sewn on. I must have sewed it on backwards or something, because when I finally got it on, I had to hold my arm back, like I was getting ready to bowl. I still hadn’t hemmed it, but the bottom was so frayed, I finally cut it off a little, and decided to go with the fringed look.

Anyway, I clipped the pink barrettes in my hair, and went to show Mom. She looked at me and said, “Well, Good Night! What’s the matter with your arm?”

I didn’t tell her about the sleeve being backwards, because I didn’t want her to make me do it over. I tried to put my hand on my hip and act natural. She didn’t like the fringed hem either. I said, “Well Mom, I think my sewing days are over.” Do you know what she said?

Her eyes were snapping, which is never good, and she said, “Not on your life!! You asked for that sewing machine, Mary Content, and I scoured the earth to find a good used one. You just haaad to have it!” Then she left the room.

To tell you the truth, I think she was just in a bad mood. I heard her telling Doris Haugland that at first, everyone had a fine time at Aunt Irma, and Uncle Jeff’s party. They had good food and played music like “The Orange Blossom Special.” A good time was had by all, until they made the announcement that people weren’t going to be able to buy on credit at Sanderson’s Store anymore.

This could be bad for me. I hope Mom doesn’t spend all my sales tax money on food.


There has been a new development. Mom took Dad’s hunting rifle to the meat locker uptown and traded it for a side of beef. I don’t even want to be around when he finds out. He might even cry.

These don’t have anything to do with this story, but I found another Billy picture. He was home from college. The other is of me operating my first lemonade stand. My customer is Gail Whittaker from across the street. (This was before we moved to the Motel. I’m not sure if I spelled her name correctly.)

Aunt Irma will be wished a happy Mother’s Day in a separate post.






Murdo Girl…What do all the isms mean?

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and the little Murdo Girl would like to honor all the Mothers in her family. There are so many Moms out there who deserve to be recognized for all they do. I believe all the women who have touched a child’s life in a nurturing way deserve to be commended for the part they play. The Fathers will get their day, but this week, it’s all about the compassionate women who have been part of a child-rearing team.


There are lots of women in my family who try to help kids grow up right. They don’t even have to be a Mom. Just think about my Great Aunt Tet, who loves all the kids in town. She talks to my brother about baseball, and likes to be there when the kids come into the store before school, or the show. She knows a lot of kids, and I’m sure they will remember her for a long time to come.

Today I’m writing about my Mom


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It’s getting close to Mother’s Day, so I decided to write my paper about my Mom. If you know her very well, you know that she has a saying for everything. I will try to explain some Loretta-isms to you. I might tell you about a few more new words like “alldumb” too. Mom didn’t make “all” of these up, but if she didn’t, I’m sure they mean something different to her than to most people.

1)Mom and sisters Ella Leckey and Helen Haverberg  2) Elna Miller and Billy  3)Elna Miller, Stephanie Miller-Davis, and Helen Haverberg

  1. All the precincts aren’t in. (She doesn’t have enough information to form an opinion.) Example: “Loretta, do you think  Mrs. Blank is acting crazy?” Mom, “I’m pretty sure she is, but all the precincts aren’t in yet.”
  2. When you’ve said that, you’ve said it all. (All the precincts are in.) Example: “Loretta, Do you think Mrs. Blank is loonier than a Jaybird?” Mom, “When you’ve said that, you’ve said it all.”
  3. That’s enough about me, how did you like my last movie? (She’s switching from one topic (about her), to another topic (about her). No example needed
  4. I’ll never forget old what’s his name. (She has forgotten someone’s name, and the story is at the end of it’s run anyway.) No example needed.
  5. I can’t throw the dishwater out the door without hitting he/she in the face. (She runs into Mrs. Blank everywhere she goes; or every time she turns around, there’s Mrs. Blank.) You know, those people that give you claustrophobia.
  6. Make the story interesting, or don’t tell it. (Learn how to tell the story in an interesting way, or forget it.)
  7. We shall see what we shall see. (It’s the same thing as a definite maybe, with a little  mystery added to build excitement.) Example: “Mom, are we going to Disneyland when we go to California?” Mom says, “We shall see what we shall see.” It can also mean..we all look at things differently.
  8. If you kids don’t settle down, I’m going to come in there and clean house! (If she has to tell us one more time, there will be consequences.)
  9. Water seeks it’s own level. (If you walk like a duck, and talk like a duck, you are a duck.)
  10. You spend money like a drunken sailor…you either put it on you, or in you. (She uses this with me. I guess it means, I either buy candy or clothes.)

Mom uses herself as an example sometimes. She said when she was growing up, Grandpa would give everyone a nickel to spend when they got to go into town. Mom would buy candy and it would be gone in a minute. Her sister Ella, would buy gum, then take it home and sew across it with the sewing machine needle. It perforated the gum, so she could break it off in smaller pieces. That way she could add a piece each day, and it would last longer. (This might be an example of #6.)

11. Her eyes look like two burnt holes in a blanket. (She’s tired.)

12. Hellohowarya (a made-up word.) The man at the Graham Motor Lodge says these 4 words allruntogether, to make one word. He says it every time he sees you, and you have to slap your leg when you say it. Mom loves it!

I found out today, Mom doesn’t always know what to say. We were at the Super Value Store, and a little boy ran up to her and said, “Hi! I’m MEAN!” Mom just smiled and said, “That’s nice.” He didn’t call her a name or anything , so I guess what she said was okay.

LB: Blake Haverberg, Jeff H. Sanderson, Mark Sanderson, Mary Francis, Sue Haverberg, Bobby Haverberg F: Grandpa Sanderson, Mom, a picnic at Horse Creek, where The family lived until Mom was 11


Mom gives me lots of advice too. She says when you reach a certain age, you have to decide if you’re too plump or too thin. You have to decide between your face and your figure. She says she chose her face and sits down a lot. (If your face is too thin, all the wrinkles show.)

MOM..I’m facing the sun here, or Aunt Irma’s got her movie camera with the bright lights on!