Murdo Girl…Forgot where I was going with this

The shortest of  the four Sanderson girls, Mom was the only one who took after Grandma, who was even shorter. Though not heavy, she had Grandpa’s stockier build. Uncle Wayne, who was the oldest of the six, was stocky like Grandpa, but tall. Uncle Jeff was slim and I would say of medium height.  Ella, Helen, and Elna, were all tall and slim and the perfect ladies. You know, the kind that never raise their voices. I often wondered about that.

Helen, Ella, and Loretta Sanderson in the early thirties. Elna Sanderson was six years younger than Loretta, who was the next to the youngest. Grandpa called Mom, Babe, because he thought she was going to be the baby of the family.

Maybe Mom felt different from the others. The girls, including her, were all beautiful, but she was more the outdoor type. She worked outside and the others helped Grandma in the house. Mom told me that Grandma once said, “Aren’t you glad both Billy and Mary got their dad’s disposition?” Mom got a kick out of that.

When she was eleven, the family moved from Horse Creek to a house near the cemetery outside of Murdo. Mom bragged to the Osborn kids that she was no longer going to go to country school with them. They said they would miss the others, but they wouldn’t miss her. I think Loretta is overdue for an interview with Yram…

Yram: Hi! My name is Yram Sicnarf. I’m a crack-up reporter from Gun Barrel City, Texas where everyone shoots sort of straight. This person with me is Lav. She’s sort of my sidekick. She currently resides in California, but Murdo is sort of where she longs to be. Mind if we ask you a few sort of interview-like questions?


Loretta: Shoot Yram and Lav. Just don’t say sort of again. Say, you two look really familiar. There were two girls that look like you who cleaned rooms for me at the Chalet Motel. Those two could eat their weight in Doris Haughland’s homemade cinnamon rolls. It was a cheap way to keep them working, though.

Lav: Never heard of them, Aunt Loretta. What were there names? (Yram elbows Lav in the side.)

Yram: Never mind her, she hasn’t been the same ever since she rode in that red convertible down Murdo’s Main Street. It was just too much! Tooo much, I guess.

Loretta: Yes, I heard about that. Only I heard those uh, girls were only slightly younger than Queen Elizabeth. I was only eighteen when I was Miss Highway 16. Are you taking notes, Yram? I said… I was Miss Highway 16! I even had a lady in waiting.

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Lav: Yes! I’m a lady in waiting. I even have a crown! Well I broke my good one, but I still have a Princess crown.

She’s not above stealing crowns from little princesses

Loretta: You two are the limit! Do you girls want to pick up a little extra cash? I have a trunk load of motel towels that I need washed and folded. I’ll give you some quarters and you can wash them at the laundromat down the street. I’ll pay you seven dollars. I pay by the job. Don’t put any bleach in the wash. If the towels look too good, the tourists steal them.

Before the girls know what hit them, Loretta drops them and a trunk FULL of towels at the laundromat. Lav is very excited to earn money.

Lav: Say, Aunt Loretta, How many hours will this take us?

Loretta: It shouldn’t take you more than five…six at the most… including folding. I’ll leave my car here with the trunk up. Put them in there when you’re finished.

Yram: Where are you going for six hours?

Loretta: I’m having my hair done. There’s a beauty shop in that white building over there, but first I’m going to Mack’s Cafe for coffee. I’m late! I sure hope I haven’t missed all the news. I hate to miss the news. If I’m not there, sometimes I am the news.

We used to wash her towels, but we clean rooms now. we EACH get a dollar a room. We’re saving money to get our hair done.

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We’re having coffee at the Buffalo
Who are those people climbing around in Aunt Loretta’s car?

 We heard there was a parade here. We love parades!

I just got my hair done…It took four hours
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I’m standing in front of Mack’s Cafe. Someone is supposed to draw my picture

Yram: You know Lav…we got hoodwinked. I don’t think we even got to ask her one question.

Lav: Yeah. She talked as much as Grandpa M.E. Sanderson. No wonder our photographic drawer didn’t show up.

I drew every one of those photographs.


5 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Forgot where I was going with this

  1. sanjuan831 May 7, 2019 / 9:13 am

    Great stories. You sure have some fond Pierre memories. We need to go on a gals’ trip there and shop, though all those elegant shops are probably long gone. I was born there but didn’t really get to shop even later. My Mom and Aunt Elna went to Rapid to shop for Andrea and my 8th grade graduation dresses. When will you be in SD again, Judy?


    • Mary Francis McNinch May 7, 2019 / 4:41 pm

      I have way more than that. I’m sure Judy does, too. I still think there is an outside chance we’ll see each other soon, cuz💖


  2. lifelessons May 6, 2019 / 8:59 pm

    What is that on Loretta’s shoulders??? Wow. Where would she have been all dressed up like that? Pierre, no doubt. The woman in the Hollywood Shop said she could always tell the women from Murdo.. they were always all dressed up for a shopping tip to Pierre as though they were going to a wedding. Ha. What was her name? Tall, skinny, dark hair? I think she owned the shop, or at least acted like she did. The shorter, stockier lighter-haired lady was nicer but I think she went to work for the competition eventually.. What was the name of the other dress store between the Hollywood Shop and J.C. Penney’s. Ludwigs? Something that started with L. And there was another dress shop up on the hill that was just piled with clothing. Hard to find anything there. What are your Pierre memories? Big time going shopping in Pierre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch May 6, 2019 / 9:14 pm

      Lundons, I think. Mom was at a party at someone’s house in Murdo. You’re right! We need to jot down all of our memories of shopping in Pierre. We ate at a little diner on Main St. I remember a shoe store. I went to music camp with the daughters of the man who owned it! I’ll look at Mom’s shoulder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons May 6, 2019 / 9:55 pm

        London’s!! Two glamorous spots.. heh.
        The shoe store was The Bootery and they had an X-ray maching you could stand on and X-ray your foot to determine the size! No supervision.. We’d do it for fun every time we went in. The cafe was originally The Green Fountain, then changed its name. High booths. Also the Little Hut up on the hill.. a reconditioned railway car? They served chili with Oyster Crackers. Do you remember the jammed-to-the doors dress store up on the hill? And there was a Frosty Freeze up on the hill that had raspberry soft serve! It was so good.
        The city park there was a thrill to go to, as well. TREES and playground equipment and a big swimming pool I don’t think we ever went to. Did you ever go to Kennebec to their pool? Okay, wandering off track here.

        Liked by 1 person

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