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