Murdo Girl…Getting to the bottom of the box

You haven’t really lived until you have waded through hundreds of pictures while sitting in a garage on a hot Texas day, with only a fan to keep the air moving… Heidi and Brad, Heather and Scott and their boys, Seamus and Hudson, along with Kip and me, were real troopers. We at least got a good start and all agreed working on this daunting task together was the right thing to do.

Mason and family live in Wyoming and couldn’t make it. Craig had to work, so they had to take a pass. The girls set aside a box or two for them to peruse. 

I had the top picture taken for Father’s Day the first year Kip and I were married. The 2nd one includes a surprise for our 25th anniversary. Now each of these kids has 2 of their own and Heidi has 3 beautiful grand-children. With spouses, we’re now a family of 21.

Kip impressed Seamus with a fossilized monkey wrench. (It did look petrified.) Hudson got a fossilized shell. 

After cleaning the turkey fryer the day before, I decided to serve turkey wraps with turkey from the deli along with chips for lunch. I did, however, make delicious homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert. Heidi took a break at the end of the day to read some of her papers from 3rd grade. We even found a dental mold of Kip’s teeth, and every men’s cologne bottle Avon ever made, courtesy of his mom. My fourth and fifth grade report cards were packed away, and we found newspapers from 1914 and 1928.  

In our storage boxes we found a whole box of napkins leftover from our wedding. Can’t throw those away…(We’ll use them for camping.) There was a list someone gave me after Dad’s funeral with all the names of people I should thank and what they contributed to the luncheon 37 years ago. (I hope I wrote them all notes.) Also carefully packed were Craig’s cub scout shirt, a picture of Mason standing by the Flying Penny, the car we bought him that he hated, Heather’s drawings, stories, and a teeny tiny note she wrote to Kip that said, “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be here.”

They looked through some of the 262 record albums they remembered listening to over and over again, including Bobby Bare’s, Singing in the Kitchen and Tom T. Hall’s Sneaky Snake. We looked through tons of pictures of our extended families and set aside things for Heidi’s two kids and their families.

I compared the picture of me with granddaughter, Olivia and me with Grandma Sanderson. I love that Grandma and I are reaching for each other’s hand. The third picture is of Kip with baby, Heidi. He said she had a bow taped to her head.


The boys played checkers and petted the cat. Later, thinking I could cool off a little, I volunteered to take them to a local arcade. They wanted to play putt putt golf…outside in the heat. They each made a hole in one…very exciting.


This is the last thing I looked at, which explains all those things we save from the days our kids were growing up.

I get it…we don’t want them to disappear…

 “A child is someone who passes through your life, and disappears into an adult.”

Murdo Girl…Tapestry

Woven threads of color,

A beauty to behold;

Each thread a chapter of a life.

The tapestry unfolds.

There within the richness,

Are tears of golden hue;

While silver threads of laughter,

Are gently woven through.

Hanging there in splendor for all the world to see;

The beauty of a life well spent, in richest tapestry.


As part of our journey into the world of minimalist living, we have been planning a family day to go through things Kip and I no longer need or have room for in our tiny home. We felt our family should be given the chance to take a look inside the boxes and keep anything that was meaningful to them.

Today was just the beginning of the process. We realized rather quickly that this couldn’t be done in one day. As it was, it took a few of us some time to get with the program and deal with all of the mementos and photographs that represent our individual and collective ties to the past.

It was an amazing day to witness and be a part of. I will write a blog about the fun, funny, and awesome moments of discovery, tomorrow, but tonight, I want to share some photos from one album that has been hidden in a box stored in the attics of the different homes we have lived in over the years. It’s full of photographs from the 1940’s. Someone else’s memories.

My Grandma, Mary Sanderson, with her daughter, Ella, in California. Grandma traveled from South Dakota to California by herself. She was hoping to get there before her son, Jeff shipped out. She didn’t make it in time and my mother told me she wouldn’t look at the ocean the whole time she was there because it took her Jeff away. Jeff is on the right in the second picture. I don’t know who the other two men are, or the baby. They are standing in front of a fountain, which may have been in California or wherever they were stationed.

From the left in the bottom picture is my dad’s brother, John, and his wife Margaret. I don’t recognize the tall man. Standing to the right of him, is Ella Sanderson, Bill Francis, and my mother, Loretta. I don’t know the blond lady next to Dad in the second picture with Ella, Mom, and Margaret.

Grandma Sanderson with her oldest grandson, Terry. It says April, 1942 on the bottom. This must have been taken in Murdo. Grandpa, (M.E.) Sanderson is in the second photo. It looks like he is in the Black Hills. I’m not sure when he purchased his cabin there. 

wp-image-97107957jpg.jpgThis picture of Bob Haverberg was in the album. He married my mother’s sister, Helen Sanderson. I was struck by how much his son, (my cousin, Bobby), looks like him.

I loved looking at pictures of my family when they were just beginning their adult years. I wish I had asked more questions about their lives back then. Wartime was full of uncertainties. These young South Dakota men and women went places that I’ve never been. They met new people, some of which became lifelong friends. I remember Mom talking about someone she called, Skeeterbumpererguypalschmidt. I’m not kidding. She and her husband lived in Merced, California. They kept up with each other for quite a few years.

This probably isn’t of too much interest to my blog readers who aren’t like me. I love looking at old pictures no matter who is in them.

In this case, I know how the tapestry of most of the lives of the people pictured above unfolded. There were silver threads of joy, and tears of golden hue…each of us has our own unique tapestry. Some are more golden, and some have more silver threads.

Looking through this album, I saw moments in time captured…just waiting for me to see them.

I’m going to show you a few priceless pictures that were taken today…Yes… that long lost teddy bear was Kip’s childhood friend. Hudson fell in love with him.

Murdo Girl…Finding and frying

Mom and Gus, sold their motel in the late seventies and after being tied down for so many years, they were anxious to hit the road and experience new things. They bought a motor home to pull behind their car, put their belongings in storage in Murdo, and came as far as Gillette, Wyoming, where I lived.

Mom and Gus standing by the motor home with their dog Trouble

They rented a spot at the Crazy Woman Camp Ground and settled in. Soon, they met Becky and Charlie, a couple from Maine. Charlie was working on construction and I think Gus did that for a while too when they lived in Gillette. Mom got a little job across the street at the Rock Pile Museum. She loved it!

Mom and Becky were a pair to draw to. Lucy and Ethel would have loved them. One day, one of the other campers staying at the Crazy Woman drove his pick-up truck through the park a little too fast which upset Becky, who was outside hosing down the dirt road. It was so dry, when people like the guy in the truck drove too fast, it kicked up a lot of dust. Becky was upset enough that she aimed her hose at the guys truck. Apparently his window was down and she got him pretty wet. She was pleased with herself thinking he would get the message and slow down.

Later that evening, Charlie was sitting in his favorite chair by the door, reading the paper, while Becky was fixing supper. Suddenly the door opened and all Charlie saw was a bucket of water being dumped on his head. Becky hadn’t put two and two together yet, when Charlie said, “Now what did you do?”

Becky got Mom into clipping coupons and they loved seeing who could find the biggest savings. Mom wasn’t used to shopping with coupons, but Becky was getting her pretty enthused. One day they went shopping for groceries and Mom whipped out a coupon expecting to get a huge discount on the item she was purchasing. The clerk handed it back to her and told her it was “expired.”

Mom was crushed. She said in a very disappointed voice, “What? That was my best one!” I’m sure Becky was embarrassed, being a veteran coupon shopper and all.

I don’t think I have a photograph of Becky and Charlie, but I found this among all the pictures that have been stored in the attic and it made me think of Mom and Becky. Becky made this for Kip and me when we got married.



This needlepoint says “Patience, understanding, love and sympathy, unselfishness, kindness, lots of laughter for a happy marriage.”

I have a feeling I’ll be reminded of other people and stories as we go through all these boxes of memories with some of our kids on Saturday.

Oh…I found this in one of the boxes. I had no idea what it was until Kip told me. I couldn’t believe it. Would you like to take a guess??



I’m frying turkeys, and pies for Saturday and we’ll make homemade ice cream. I’ve never deep fried anything before, so I practiced on a chicken today. It turned out really good and wasn’t at all greasy. The fried appricot pies turned into mush, but I’m not going to give up without one more try.


Cousin Lav said I should blog a cooking show. That could be pretty funny. I’ll call it, “I’ll fry Away.”


Murdo Girl…See you on the moon

Are you old enough to remember opening a box of detergent and digging down to find the free glass inside? The key was to use enough detergent to get the whole set before they moved on to another promotion. Boxes of cereal contained toys, and moms faithfully collected green stamps. I remember getting a set of TV trays with books of stamps. We thought we would never accumulate enough.

Those were the days of catalogs, letter writing, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electric skillets, sixteen inch TV’s, taking baths only once a week, unsupervised play and on and on.

Of course there was also smoking everywhere, yummy high fat, high sodium foods containing lots of sugar, but it wasn’t all listed on the packages or cans like today. Who knew there were 600, bad for you calories in a chicken pot pie? Who knew what a calorie was?

We ate canned spaghetti and meatballs, canned ravioli, and canned tamales. We drank whole milk or Kool-aid with one or two cups of sugar in it. I personally think life was better when we ate bacon and eggs with crispy fried hash browns whenever we got the chance and never felt a pang of guilt.

We rode bikes without helmets and stood in the front seat of the car as soon as we could stand. Our mom’s arm hitting us in the chest was an effective restraint in case of a sudden stop.

In my case, I couldn’t wait for school to start, but the excitement ended when I had worn all of my new clothes, which took about a week.

Much has been written and many comparisons have been made about then and now, but there is one thing that never changes….

Kids grow up too fast.

We went to our grandson’s preschool graduation the other night and as I was watching all of the proud five year old kids getting diplomas, I was struck by the innocence on all of their little faces.

We watched two videos of the kids. One showed them participating in all of the activities throughout the year. The second showed pictures of each child when they were babies and current photos. I’m warning you…the songs that went with them might make you cry. Below the first video you will see a few pictures of the kids we’re lucky enough to have in our lives.

We have four kids who each have two children. We have three great grandchildren. All but Mike and Nikki are pictured above. Below is a picture of them with Mike’s son and Nikki’s two daughters.

Mike and Nikki

So with all these kids, you might be asking what we’re doing with a tiny home? Hoping for a lot of invitations to their houses, I guess.


Murdo Girl…Knock knock

You never know who you’re going to run into.

Sound at the door: Knock knock

Sound from inside: Who’s there?

Yram: Its ‘s Yram Sicnarf. I’m a crack up reporter from Gun Barrel City. Did you get my message? Can I come inside your tiny home?



Kip: What if I say no?

Yram: My my my…what a lovely tiny home… Somehow I thought you would be smaller…Mind if I ask you a few tiny questions? I’m only going to be in Gun Barrel for a couple of days then back to Murdo I go.

Kip: I’ve heard about you. I heard you ask a lot of stupid questions and that you’ve been in a little trouble with the law as a result of your propensity to badger people. Are you here avoiding the law?

Yram: Oh cont-rare…I wear those restraining orders like a badge of honor. Have you not heard of reporters being arrested for not revealing their sources?

Kip: Aren’t your sources the ones filing the restraining orders?

Yram: As a matter of fact, I don’t have a single restraining order against me…unless you count the one I got at the royal wedding. They call it something different. Those Brits don’t like being interviewed much. Meghan was downright rude! All she would’ve had to do is ask me nicely to get out of her horse-drawn carriage and I would have…no questions asked.


Kip: Cute.. You really remind me of someone. Do you have family around here?

Yram: No…I’m pretty much a loner. I just showed up here one day and decided to make it my home. I have a cousin, Lav, but she just kind of hangs around, too.


I like Gun Barrel’s motto: We shoot straight! I like Murdo’s too. They call it The Magic City. Anyhoo, the Murdoites want me to investigate this tiny home of yours. How much did it cost?

Kip: I’ll let you know as soon as I have the courage to add it all up.

Yram: Feeling the squeeze are ya? Pouring money down a rat hole brings a person down. You look very depressed.

Kip: I do?

Yram: Yes…where’s your wife?

Kip: She needed a few things, so she went to Goodwill

Yram: Really? I see you’re out of peanut butter. (Kip is eating a PB & J sandwich.)


The Report…

They don’t call me a crack-up reporter for nothing. I was able to snag an interview with the purchaser of the local tiny home. It’s okay, I guess, if you like living in a train car next to a big brown barn, and rabbits for decorations.


FYI, here’s a scoop. They are as poor as church mice. I’m on my way to the bank right now to set up a donation fund because that’s just the kind of person I am. When I hear someone’s got troubles, I like to spread it around.

By the way. That Kip guy is almost as rude as that little Princess Meghan, and Mr. Applefloor, and Mr. Haugland with one H, and the guy who has a son with a sign outside of Murdo. But I don’t think he filed a restraining order against me. At least not yet!

I’m going to go look for those two high flying Queens. I know they live around here somewhere. I want to interview them.

There’s one! My first question will be what is stuck in your teeth?  I wonder what’s up with the double tinfoil crown…