Murdo Girl…Murdoelot

Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot. . .Camelot? I think not!

An accounting of two years ago…

In July of 2016, it was as if by magic that Murdo became Murdoelot. For us it was a place that time forgot. Cousin Val and I were ‘royalty riding’ on the back of a red convertible in a reunion parade. We were Murdo Girl and her sidekick, Queen E. Val was in her $60.00 crown and lavish purple dress, (which she returned later because the lining wasn’t fit for a queen), and I was decked out in my red Kitty Reynolds’ gown and tinfoil crown. It was a magical time for sure!

A few candid, convertible and parade shots you might not have seen before. I dropped the camera on the floor of the car. I believe that’s Mack’s Cafe in the upper right hand corner.

If I remember right, people ran into the streets to greet us. They were screaming, “Murdo Girl!” I heard the chant over and over. I can close my eyes and still feel the love. I’m sure Val heard, “Queen E.” a couple of times, too. Both of us continue to relive that brief, but unbelievable experience as often and in as many ways as we possibly can. I even went all the way back to Murdo last summer and visited the convertible now housed in the Pioneer Auto Museum. It is my fervent wish that when I draw my last breath, there will be sufficient funds in my estate to stuff me and sit me on the back of that car. Now that should draw a crowd, don’t you think? Cousin Val can join me, but she’ll have to get a new dress in the meantime.

Cousin Valerie on Sanderson’s horse, Rex, (I think) and another parade in Murdo. Both shots taken a lot of years ago.

Me at the Museum. I have no idea who that tractor in the first picture belongs to. (I love Senator Thune, but I might be a little jealous that he has a sign outside of town.) That’s the beloved convertible in the second pic.

Anyway, I have other memories of those brief days in Murdoelot. I was standing in the Harold Thune Auditorium still wearing my red gown and crown when someone came up to me and asked for my autograph. I wish I could remember who it was. If you are out there and happen to read this, please know how much it meant to me to sign whatever it was you had me sign.

I took both of these memorabilia shots today. The sign was made by Marilyn and Sam Seymour. I love it! My mascot, Odrum is wearing a 2011 reunion hat. My crown has been tinfoiled twice.

My other regret of the day was that I didn’t wait for Mrs. Peters to turn around so I could hug her and tell her how much I admire her. Do you think someone told her I was dripping in sweat?


It was hotter than fire in there. I think it was because Coach Applebee made them put a plastic tarp on his precious floor. Sorry Coach…I have a high regard for you too, but that was just weird.

The plastic tarp covered Coach Applebee floor. Eddie Jackson talking with Mick Penticoff during dinner at the Buffalo. Patti Arnieri helped me re-tinfoil my crown at the Buffalo. The Penticoff sisters at the Range Country lodge. Valerie at home.

Because I’m Murdo Girl, and I had to remain dignified at all times, I didn’t drink, but I did hang out at the Buffalo Bar quite a lot. I just love crowds surrounding me. I drank so many diet cokes, I didn’t sleep for a week. They have the best steaks in the world there. My brother, Billy, eats one every day when he’s in Murdo. Billy hates diet coke.

Salad bar and steak dinner at the Buffalo… picture taken last summer when Kip was with me.

Val and I saw our cousins Mark, Andrea, Greg, Jeff H., Terry, and some of their spouses and kids. We spent time with Aunt Elna and Aunt Irma, who just turned 98 last week. It was great to see many old friends and teachers. The Lindquist girls are the sweetest people in the world and lots of fun. Dean’s 80th birthday party was a real blast! Karen, Tammy and Kim are pictured below.


Judy Dykstra Brown presented me with an appropriate gift that I will always treasure, and Patti Dykstra Arnieri gave me a “Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow” pin to replace the one I lost. Who knew you could get them on Ebay? The Collage includes cooking, writing, a saxophone, music and money. The money represents my banking days. I didn’t have any, but I got to touch it.


Don Edwards and Bob Iverson at Dean Lindquist’s 80th birthday party…Breakfast with Ralph and Paul Thomas, Judy Dykstra Brown, Patti Dykstra Arnieri, and Jerry Elrod. Val and me with Suzanne Brost.

Although they weren’t able to stay up very late, we really enjoyed hanging out with Don Edwards, Eddie Jackson, and Eddie’s adorable and fun wife, Mari. I got to see one of my very best friends, Karen Snider and met her husband, Doug. Karen has always been very grateful that when I moved away, I gave her my job at the Draper State Bank.


My childhood home (You can’t see it.)

I was able to stand on the ground that covers my childhood home. The old basement house is buried under the tree at the Range Country Lodge. Val stayed in room #1. It doubled as the office when my parents owned what was then the Chalet Motel. Val and I reminisced about the times we cleaned that blessed room. I spent many hours in there renting out units and assuring people when they walked in, that it really was the office and not someone’s room.

The two on the left were taken today. The third picture is a new old one I threw in for added interest. It’s of Harold and Elsa Peck with Mom and me at our house in 1956.

When we fired up our rented nonconvertible on the day we left, Val and I wiped a tear or two from our eyes. We were only consoled by the fact we got to stay with Cynthia Edwards that night in Rapid City. She has a fabulous karaoke machine. I sang the whole “Four Seasons Greatest Hits” album. That Val can dance and Cynthia can sing and dance.

Well…it’s only three more years until the next Murdo All High School Reunion. Until then, I’ll keep my gown and myself preserved as best I can in hopes that Queen E and I can once again adorn the back of the red convertible and ride the streets of Murdo. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get up there under our own power. Maybe Deuter will drive us around the rather short route, twice.

Let it never be forgot that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was known as Murdoelot….plagiarized by Murdo Girl

**The above is all tongue in cheek. I’m really very shy. That’s why I take most of the pictures of me myselfie. I’m too embarrassed to ask someone else to photograph me. I don’t even think about anyone else reading what I write… Do you?

12 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Murdoelot

  1. lifelessons July 19, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    Uh, Shy? I don’t think so, Mary. When I think of your house I think of the one across from Evie Johnson’s house. Did you sell that one when you built the motel? Also, I thought your motel was on the highway right down from that house. What year did you build the motel and did you move into it? Where was I when all this changing was going on? Murdo was supposed to have my permission to make changes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch July 19, 2018 / 9:32 pm

      We moved to the basement house which was by the motel when I was eleven. John Parker bought it in 1978. Gonzaleses owned the one below our house and later sold it to Delmar and Doris Miller. Greg bought our motel from the Parkers. It’s the Range Country across from Graham’s Motor Lodge. Did you see the picture of the Pecks?

      Liked by 2 people

      • lifelessons July 19, 2018 / 11:18 pm

        Yes. Have you seen mine of Parishes, Elsa,Pecks, Doc Murphy and Florence, Jeff H., Mark, me and my parents? Harold must have taken the photo. It was in an old blog of mine. Taken at Pecks’ house.

        Liked by 2 people

    • sanjuan831 July 19, 2018 / 10:05 pm

      I know she can be shy but I can’t remember when. Maybe once in 1962. I loved that house where you lived before you went underground. Never saw the Pecks photo from 1956! Wonderful shot.
      Reading this brought the parade and reunion all back and the once in a lifetime experience. Pure joy.
      Maybe we can pool our dough and buy that red convertible! Thanks, dear MG. Loved it all.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mary Francis McNinch July 19, 2018 / 10:34 pm

        I’m painfully shy. I just happen to have a high tolerance for pain. The Peck picture is one I just found in this last clean out!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. scoper07 July 20, 2018 / 8:18 am

    That was a wonderful weekend. Seeing so many friendly faces again was memorable. I am glad a lot of our classmates were there. I am extremely shy and that makes some situations harder.

    Liked by 2 people

      • scoper07 July 20, 2018 / 5:21 pm

        90% but we have boxes all over and have a garage full!


  3. Karen Snider July 20, 2018 / 10:18 am

    My husband is Doug. Hope all is well with you!

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy , an AT&T LTE smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch July 20, 2018 / 3:38 pm

      I’ m sorry, Karen. I knew that! I’ll make a correction if you don’t tell anyone I only worked at the bank a year and a half! πŸ™‚


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