Murdo Girl…978 miles to go


Well, it’s now the countdown to the reunion. I always make sure two things happen before I head out for a family, work, school or any other type of get together with people I haven’t seen for a while. Number one, I make sure I gain at least 10 lbs. and two, I get a bad haircut. I got the bad haircut yesterday. Just ask my friend Pat, who always tells me the truth. It looks almost as bad as the basketball players who took a pocket knife and cut their hair so Coach Applebee would let them practice..

Anyway, I haven’t bought any new clothes yet. I’m waiting until I’ve gained all the weight. 

I was going to end the blog this week-end with the promised Grand Finale, about the Sanderson Christmas, but I decided you all wouldn’t mind if I grew up a little more first. Once a Murdo Girl, always a Murdo Girl.



What is the worst job you ever had? The longest and best job in my employment history lasted 16 years. The worst and shortest lasted 2 hours. It should have only been 15 minutes. I was a hangar clerk.

Do you know what a hangar clerk is or does? Me neither. I’ll get back to that.

Many times, when someone asked Mom how I was doing, she would say, “She’s just as happy as if she had good sense.” More often than not, she was right on the money.

I worked at the Motel until one day the President/owner of the Draper State Bank asked Mom if she thought I’d be interested in a job at the bank. He told her he needed to hire an “outsider,” because everyone in Draper was related to each other in one way or another, and they didn’t want any “insider,” to know their business. So I got my first big break, because I wasn’t related to any of those rich farmers and ranchers who had all the money. I’ve always been lucky that way.

I’ve never been much of a gossip, so it worked out well for the town and me. Mr. Hayes was right. Back then, we hand sorted all the checks every day. As we put them all in alphabetical order, we knew who had been on a shopping spree in Pierre, and how much they spent. We knew  who had been frequenting the bars, and who couldn’t pay the bills because we were going to have to bounce their check. If someone had a car or house payment, we knew how much that was too. A savings account for Christmas? A tax refund or did they have to pay in?

There was no such thing as a credit report. With all the above information, Keith and Leroy knew who had the means and/or the character to repay a loan. The  handshake agreements meant something then.

After I had worked at the bank a few months, Mom asked Mr. Hayes how I was working out. He told her he wished he had two of me. Her response was, “Is she that slow?” This from someone who thought I didn’t deserve the agreed upon amount per room, because it didn’t take me long enough to clean it. I learned from the best Mom.

A couple of years later, I left the bank and moved to Wyoming. I called my friend Karen, who was working at the Okaton State Bank, and told her about the job. She was another “outsider.” Karen worked at the Draper bank for about 50 or 75 years.

After moving to Wyoming, I decided to try something besides banking, and applied for and got the hangar clerk position at a power plant. I showed up that first day and was escorted to a small trailer with two desks in it. The girl who I was replacing handed me a hard hat, and introduced me to the guy who occupied the other desk. It took me about 2 minutes to form the opinion that he was a sleaze, and another 2 minutes for him to prove me right.

I should have left then, but I still wanted to know what a hangar clerk was. My trainer, walked me the short distance to the office of this humongous operation. She told me there were only 4  other females working at the plant, and they could all hunt bear with a stick.

Well, to make a long two hours short, I took the first opportunity I had to escape. I walked out to my car, put my hard hat on the hood of the car next to mine, and after I picked up my son at the babysitter’s, I drove home. When I walked in the door, the phone was ringing. It was the very nice man who had hired me. (Not the sleaze.) “Where did you go?” He asked. It should have been obvious that I had gone home? What I said was, “That job isn’t for me.”

About a week later, when I got home from my new bank job, there was a check in the mail from the power plant for $14.00. I was extremely offended when I noticed, “Not eligible for rehire,” was typed on the pay stub.

A few years later, I had worked my way up to manager of the real estate lending department at a small bank. One day, the man who had hired me and sent me the “Not eligible for rehire” check  walked into my office. He had changed jobs too and now worked for a real estate developer. We ended up doing quite a bit of business together. I could tell he was going to be a gentleman and not say anything about my leaving the power plant without giving more than 2 minutes notice.

One day, I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you about something. What exactly is a hangar clerk?” He said it had something to do with plans and specs. Then he added, “Don’t worry about it, that job wasn’t for you.”

This is a pic taken in the basement house. From left Irma Sanderson, Harriet Parish, Ella Leckey…I don’t know who the lady on the far right is. I have tried all sorts of ways to make the photo sharper.


“And then I said. That’s the queen on the right.The beast ate her hat.”

22 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…978 miles to go

  1. Patti June 4, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    I’m fairly sure the other lady n the photo is Elsa Peck.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Valerie Halla June 4, 2016 / 8:21 pm

        Yes. Think Patti is right. Elsa Peck maybe thought they have more fun. Never saw that great picture before of gals in the basement. Wow, those ladies look beautiful! I left my makeup out once when we visited from California and after I came back from going out visiting, your Mom said she’d tried my mascara and had it all over her face and took her the whole time to clean herself up!


      • Mary Francis McNinch June 4, 2016 / 8:49 pm

        You made me laugh least she didn’t rub blue eye shadow on her nose..unfortunately, I inherited her nonskills with makeup. Still have some pic arrows in my quiver to make you keep reading! They were gorgeous!


  2. Patti June 4, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    After she turned grey, she went blonde for a while, then embraced the grey. She also had a blonde wig (didn’t everyone?), but that doesn’t look like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. countrygirl57 June 4, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Too funny. Glad you decided to write more. 😊😊😊

    Sent from my iPhone



  4. lifelessons June 4, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    I don’t think it looks like Elsa, nor does it look like the way she dressed. And in the 60’s she wouldn’t have been gray haired or blonde. She still had dark hair. I think it was someone visiting..Sorry to be odd woman out, but if I had to stake my life on it one way or the other, I’d say it wasn’t Elsa.


    • Mary Francis McNinch June 4, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      We’ll let you get by with that if you can come up with another possibility. I never saw Elsa in anything but a dress and big round pearl like earrings. I don’t know what it was, but her perfume was memorable.


      • lifelessons June 4, 2016 / 10:47 pm

        Tabu??? Those shoes don’t look like Elsa. Neither does the polyester leisure suit and she looks too large to be Elsa. Actually she looks like a woman I knew here in Mexico. I’m going to ask Nancy if she had an aunt.


  5. lifelessons June 4, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    Did Harriet have a sister? She looks a bit like Nancy, but older of course than Nancy even is now. Just wondering if there is a family resemblance, if it could be her aunt.


    • Mary Francis McNinch June 4, 2016 / 10:11 pm

      I don’t know. She was from New Ulm, MN. Dan had a sister Carol who had identical twins. Isn’t it funny what remember?

      Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons June 4, 2016 / 10:47 pm

        I know. It sorta all comes back.


      • Mary Francis McNinch June 4, 2016 / 10:59 pm

        Patti and Judy..I’ve asked Nancy P. To weigh in. She thinks it’s Elsa. I can’t make her mouth look like Elsa’s

        Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons June 5, 2016 / 1:29 am

        I can’t either…We need to ask Irma!!!


  6. Patti June 4, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    I would swear it’s Elsa; I even recognized how she sat with her feet in that position. I saw her often and that looks like a denim pant suit she wore. Here we are again, two sisters arguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sanjuan831 June 5, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    You have to bring that photo of the four ladies to the reunion. Put it in your purse right now.


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