Murdo Girl…Tell me a story


7-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 002
From left: One of the Guthrie’s, Loretta, Ella, and Helen holding baby Elna

I’m not that ancient yet, but I want to tell you about the women who have made a lasting impression on this Murdo Girl. I know I’ll hurry too much, and not think of everyone. For weeks, I’ll wake up in the night, remembering someone important that I left off the list. I figure it’s okay anyway. It’s not as if I became a United States Senator, or a movie star.

There have been times in my life when I’ve really struggled and questioned everything. There’s one thing I know for sure. I have been blessed with a whole lot of people in my life who really cared.


Most of all, there have been stories.. fun, funny, hilarious, stories. 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.

My Grandma Sanderson was 70 years old when I was born. I was only 16 when she died. Incredibly, it’s been 48 years. I can still hear her voice, I can close my eyes and remember her scent. She called Grandpa Pa, and told my Mother she should be grateful that both her children had Bill’s disposition.

Grandma was right. 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. 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.

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 I’m sure, when one of the Guthrie girls, who went to the country school, said, “We’re gonna miss Helen, and Elna and Ella, but we’re NOT going to miss you!” Mom wore that to town school like a badge of honor.

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

I cannot remember ever seeing my Mother cry.

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 the ranch. Mom and I would go out there a few times during the winter, to ride. Herman let Mom ride one of his horses.The first time she borrowed his horse, we took off a little faster than we intended to, 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.”

I had another blog in mind for tonight, but It’s one that’s really important to me, (not that this isn’t.) and I don’t want to rush it.

In the meantime, I hope you don’t mind my ramblings about Mom and sweet little Grandma.

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 and Grandma. 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…Tell me a story

  1. 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.


  2. 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!


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