Murdo Girl…A Little about Loretta


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From left: One of the Guthrie kids, Loretta, Ella, and Helen Sanderson holding baby Elna when they lived at Horse Creek south of Murdo

I think humor is the best equalizer, and if you look for it, there is a little bit of humor in the midst of some of the most dire circumstances.

Mom was intelligent, quick witted, funny peculiar and funny haha. Most everything she said was unfiltered. She understood her kids. She knew that Billy and I hated to be late for anything. If our tardiness was unavoidable, she didn’t make us go at all.

She was not always careful with her reactions. That’s the nicest way I can put it. There were a few occasions when she had most of the women in town mad at her. She had to go on more than one “apology tour.”

I’ll give you an example of something most teenagers would have been mortified to experience.

I had a date with a guy who was a basketball star from a neighboring town. That’s all Mom really knew about him. When he came to pick me up, I invited him in to meet my Mother. She said, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you with all your clothes on.” I caught her joke right away, but I was smart enough not to laugh.

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L: Harriet Parish, Marce Lilibridge, Florence Murphy, Marge Bork, Evie Johnson, and Mom

She dumbfounded her sisters and brothers. I’m sure they heard lots of unbelievable stories. When she was little, and they were all about to move from Horse Creek into town, Mom was bragging about going to a big town school. Tiring of hearing about it, one of the Guthrie kids, who went to the country school, said, “We’re going to miss Helen, Elna and Ella, but we’re NOT going to miss you!” Mom wore that to town school like a badge of honor.

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Mom is on the far left

She told me about falling off her horse. She was off by herself somewhere when she fell and she tried her best to keep crying until she got home. She was furious that all the tears dried up and therefore, she wouldn’t be getting much sympathy.

In later years, she sold herself as a skilled horsewoman. This came back to bite her. When I had my horse, Governor, Herman Brost let us winter him at his ranch. Mom and I would go out there a few times during the winter so I could ride him. On one occasion, Herman let Mom ride one of his horses. He took off a little faster than we were prepared for, but Mom held on. She was mad more than afraid. The horse shied from things and was almost impossible to rein in. When we got back to the ranch, she realized she’d been set-up.


Herman said, “Well Loretta, I’m glad you made it back in one piece. That horse bucks.”

These two photos are perfect..from the shocking to the hilarious

I think I pulled a Loretta…I started out with the idea of talking about several women in my life, but I didn’t even get half finished telling about Mom.

One of Mom’s favorite isms was, “Well, that’s enough about me, how did you like my last movie?”



7 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…A Little about Loretta

  1. sanjuan831 June 7, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    Never heard that one either about not going to miss her! Loretta was unforgettable. Loved her. Thanks for the complement, cousin!! Heard stories about that huge family with 12 kids and all they had for lunch was “cocoa junk” on bread. What was their name? I will probably think of it tonight. What a reunion coming up and I
    can’t wait to hear all you Murdo kids sing the school theme song!


    • Mary Francis McNinch June 7, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Patti Dykstra gave me all the words. She said Evelyn Kurt wrote lyrics


    • Mary Francis McNinch June 7, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Oldencamps? 12 kids..they told Billy there wasn’t a Santa Claus


  2. sanjuan831 June 7, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    Maybe you started out telling about several women but you did honor to the two most important. I have never seen that first photo before and recognize my Mom and is that Loretaa holding baby Elna? Was that at Horse Creek? You saved some beauties for the end – fabulous pictures.


    • Mary Francis McNinch June 7, 2016 / 9:54 pm

      I think one of those kids is a Guthrie. Mom is in the 10 gallon hat. You haven’t seen it?


      • sanjuan831 June 7, 2016 / 9:59 pm

        No! Never saw that picture before but some similar. So that is Helen holding the baby and your Mom in the hat! Yes – the one on the end is not a Sanderson- a Guthrie? Okay. Love these stories/ apology tours!?? Hilarious stuff. You look gorgeous in wedding dress with your Mom.


      • Mary Francis McNinch June 7, 2016 / 10:02 pm

        You are the best cousin and friend ever Val..That Guthrie girl is probably who told Mom they weren’t going to miss her.


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