Murdo Girl…What takes you back?

Memories good and bad are brought to mind by something. It might be a song, a scent, a letter, or a photograph. In the past several months, I have taken an extraordinary trip back in time. Murdo Girl started out to be stories about my experiences growing up in Murdo, South Dakota. It became so much more.

For many years, I thought too much about the disappointments, and questioned every decision I had ever made. I sometimes think society works overtime to make us think we’re all screwed up and it has to be someone’s fault.  I thought about how I believed people had failed me and blamed my grownup self for whatever the problem of the day was. I wasn’t that way all of the time. It’s not in my nature to be unhappy.

Murdo Girl has changed how I look at my life then and now. I had a great life growing up in Murdo. I had no idea until I wrote about them, how many great memories I have. Those good experiences pushed away all of the bad. Those fun and special memories kept coming and coming, and I have loved reliving every single one of them. I am so gratified that my true stories about my real life have brought back good memories for many of you. We lived in the same town or one like it, we knew the same people or some like them.

Because I want to learn more about you and me, I tried to think of a way  we might be able to recapture what many of the good memories are tied to and perhaps learn a little more about what makes us who we are and how we can live in the here and now with the help of the there and then.

Before we get started, I want to assure you this will not be some deep dive into your psyche. It’s just for fun.


Have you had your annual checkup?


Until last month, I hadn’t seen any of my annuals in 46 years. I lost them somewhere along the way, and apparently didn’t miss them much until I got to the high school years in my stories. Then, I got a call from Karen Lindquist who was helping locate people for the 2016 Murdo All School Reunion. We started talking about some of my old classmates and she gave me the phone number for Eddie Jackson. I called him, which is totally unlike me. I’m terrible about making those phone calls, but I did and it was really great to be able to talk with someone I had gone to school with all those years ago. I told Eddie about the blog and he started reading Murdo Girl. He realized that I had virtually no pictures of any of us during our high school years. (I was using a photo of Audrey Hepburn for my Connie like stories.)  He went through his annuals and started emailing me photos.

Those photos made a big difference. They brought back more fun memories. I went to the reunion and had a blast. The best part was hearing other people’s stories. I spent time with Eddie and his wife Mari, Don Edwards, Karen Snider, my cousin and great friend Valerie, the Lindquist family, my favorite teachers and coaches, along with tons of other classmates friends, and family. It was totally a once in a lifetime, if ever in a lifetime experience.

Eddie and Mari Jackson, Their Senior pictures and now.

When I got home my brain just kept going with the flow, so I started collecting yearbooks from my friends and family. I looked at the pictures and that was fun, but then I started to read what was written inside the covers and on different pages. In many cases it was just the usual, but others carefully wrote their thoughts about their classmates; possibly knowing that someday, their friend would read what they had written and think about them once more. Once again, they would remember the experiences they had shared.

Voted Mr. Personality

This cutie graduated in 1962. He went to a fairly large high school


Here’s what his classmates wrote:

  1. Good luck in the future to a guy who really deserves it. (6 times)
  2. Best of luck and remember all of the good times we had. (5 times)
  3. Best of luck to a swell guy. (4 times)
  4. Remember all the swell times we had.(4 times) they liked the word “swell” in 62.

After I waded through all of the above, I started getting somewhere.

  1. Best of luck to a neat guy. I love your shirts.
  2. Well, now you’re leaving and I’ll probably never see you again. I’m sorry I was always going steady, but you know how it is.
  3. Rotza ruck to a fellow who is going places and will know where he is when he gets there.
  4. I hope I didn’t take up too much room if you didn’t want me to.

I pressed further

  1. You were the first friend I had in this school. Well, except for Ray, Tom, and I guess Rats (That was a guy’s nickname.)

I also saw a photo of a girl named Nancy Twitchell. Nancy was the Homecoming Queen in 62. She was in a lot of things and her picture was everywhere. I had heard her name somewhere before.







I know this guy who was voted Mr. Personality. He still wears nice shirts. I was interested to know how well thought of he was by his peers and High School teachers. He was described as being responsible, capable, and smart, and maybe just a little stubborn. (This is an accurate description even 54 years later.)

I guess you could say nobody is going to write something unflattering in someone’s annual. While that’s true, if the only thing you can think of that’s nice to say is “I like your shirts.” You are struggling to think of something nice.



This yearbook belongs to a former Majorette. Many of her classmates signed their name to the pictures of themselves throughout the annual. I thought that was a good idea.

The descriptions of this high school Senior’s personality apply today, which tells me, she has remained true to herself. She is sweet, smart, self-assured, talented in many ways, and she has a beautiful smile. Throughout the pages of her annual, classmates described her as someone who is giving and cares about others, as well as being a quiet and efficient leader.

The words on this page echo my sentiments. The High School Yearbook, depicts a time in our lives like none other. It shows how we lived it, and how we will remember it many years later.




Murdo High School. Murdo, South Dakota 1967

I looked at several annuals when I was in Murdo. The comments were so much fun to read.

In one very popular Senior girl’s annual, this comment caught my eye. “I hope I can go to school as long as you have.” (The funny one.) In the same girl’s annual, “You are the best. Take everything you are with you. You are unforgettable.” (The very meaningful one.)


Remember the fun? Remember the friendships? Remember transitioning from a child to a young adult?

We take what we’ve learned and what we’ve experienced and head out into the world. In many ways, we go from being a big fish in a small pond to becoming a small fish in big pond.

Billy Francis

Mary Francis McNinch

I got a little carried away with the pictures and just randomly chose these. I had to stop somewhere. I didn’t have time to go through and identify everyone, but if you’re curious about who someone is, drop me an email or make a comment and I will get back to you.



I dated a basketball player in High School was that you?  The Queen dated me in High School, I’m called Rats

9 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…What takes you back?

  1. Mary Francis McNinch August 6, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I started to reply and lost it somehow, so this might show up twice, but that’s okay. I hope I get to meet you someday Sherri. You are such a compassionate person, and your comments always lift me up. I am so blessed, not only from the joy I get from writting the stories, but because I am fullfilling my personal goal to be a bright spot in the lives of others. You have become a friend and a very special person in my life. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sanjuan831 August 4, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    This is perfect. So beautiful….when you first shared those MG drafts with me, I had a funny feeling that you had opened up a whole new world. An eight-year old’s Experiences growing up in magical Murdo became so much more than just stories. How fortunate for us that you opened up your heart, memories and life. Thanks ever so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. scoper07 August 4, 2016 / 7:34 pm

    Enjoyed seeing you Karen. You haven’t aged at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Karen Snider August 4, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    Keep going Girl!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mary Francis McNinch August 4, 2016 / 7:35 pm

      Spelled your name wrong didn’t I? When you and Doug retire, or before, plan a trip to TX. I liked Doug a lot, and you’re the best Karen. You’ll like Kip. (He’s the first guy in this story.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • scoper07 August 4, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      You’re too kind. Can’t wait to see what you write tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. scoper07 August 4, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    Well done Mirdo Girl, well done. One minor tweak: that’s my senior picture then and my senior picture now!!! You write a very nice story. You did pay attention in Mrs. Peter’s class didn’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

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