When I first started writing the stories about growing up in Murdo, SD, I wrote about the neighborhood parades we put on south of what is now the old hwy 16. All of the local grandchildren of M.E. and Mary Sanderson lived there except me. We always considered the Bork kids cousins too. They’re Mark and Jeff H. Sanderson’s cousins on Aunt Irma’s side, and the rest of us are cousins on Uncle Jeff’s side. Allen and Darline Miller were shirttail cousins too. I had to walk a little ways, but I spent all of my playtime south of 16 because fun things were always going on there.
At the time I wrote the story, I didn’t have any pictures of the “parade event” to go with it. No one took many pictures back then. You had to get them developed and that cost money. I am so grateful Aunt Irma recorded so many wonderful memories with her 8mm camera. She made it possible for us to have another glimpse of those magical times all these years later.
I recently ran across two VHS tapes my cousin Mark Sanderson had given me over 25 years ago. I took them to the Murdo Reunion last summer, thinking someone might want to watch them. Ralph Thomas was kind enough to take them home and find someone to convert them to DVD’s. They had already been converted from 8mm to VHS format. That combined with my need for still shots, made it impossible to put clear pictures on the blog. I hope you can envision some of the parade and imagine all the fun we had that day.
THE SUMMER OF 1959
We’re going to have another 4th of July parade this year. Mark has a horse named Prince, and the Borks have a big horse named Rex. I have a Shetland pony named Governor or Guv for short. I was so excited the day Dad and Swede drove up with a pony for me in the back of a truck. I love that horse even though he’s stubborn.
The parade is really fun. We take a rope and tie one end on to Governor’s saddle and tie the other end to a red wagon with a chair in it. I wear my red gown that Kitty Reynolds made for me. I also wear a crown made out of tinfoil, because I’m the queen of the parade. I ride in the chair while one of the other kids rides my horse and pulls me in the wagon. We decorate Prince and Rex because they don’t like to pull a wagon. All of the other kids dress up in red, white, and blue, then we march up and down all of the streets south of 16. People seem to like it. They would probably like it better if we had candy to throw to them, but we can’t afford it.
Getting ready behind Aunt Irma and Uncle Jeff’s house we have Mark Sanderson’s horse Prince, and Suzanne Bork is riding Rex.
I don’t know who the taller majorette is in the above pictures, but I think the little girl is Stephanie Miller. The 3rd shot is my horse Governor. I think that’s Mark riding him.
Drum roll please!
Are you ready? Here she comes! Queen of the parade in her Kitty Reynolds red formal and her tinfoil crown.
The “south of 16” cousins and friends organized many more parades along with carnivals, Olympic games, and Miss America Pageants. That is.. when they weren’t enjoying playhouse fun, rubber gun fun, and crawdad massacres.
And this my friends is where it all began…On a warm summer day in Murdo, SD, south of 16, the little girl with the tinfoil crown went on to be the first self-appointed Murdo Girl. I would like to thank all of my cousins for reminding me of my humble beginnings, and all of you Murdo Girl readers for allowing me to fulfill what I was destined to do.
(A special thanks to my cousin Valerie Leckey, who joined me as Queen E. at the 2016 Murdo All School Reunion. Yes, I have humbly shared my Queenship, but nobody, but NOBODY, gets to be the self-appointed Murdo Girl, but the girl in the tinfoil crown and the Kitty Reynolds red gown.)