Murdo Girl…You didn’t hear it from me

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Florence’s Granddaughter and she said she thought this story was a hoot. What can I say…It was life in Murdo. Everyone had their turn in the barrel.

I had an interesting conversation with our Miss Murdo Girl this morning. As I talked, she looked at me so intently, I thought I was really reaching her. She kept nodding in agreement to everything I was saying. She doesn’t normally give me her full attention. When I finished she said, “I wonder if my Alden’s dress is back from the dry cleaners.”


I guess the lady is worried. She wants to know what I’ll be writing about in my papers now that I’m in high school. I told her I’m not here to cause trouble, but just think about it. To write about what it’s like to grow up in Murdo without leaking a little gossip, is like saying go read your favorite encyclopedia and write a paper that everyone will want to read.

I know Mom gossips some, but she does not like to listen to complainers. If people start to complain  while talking on the phone to her, she tells them that she’s got troubles of her own, and then hangs up. She’ll stay on the phone all day if they’ve got some juicy gossip.


I’ve heard people say, “Don’t say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to their face.” I’m not sure I agree with that. I’ll give you an example. The other day, Danny Koester said to me, “I’ve always thought you were kind of pretty Mary, but my Mom doesn’t think so.”

Now what was I supposed to say to that? He went on to explain. “She says you have a funny looking mouth.”

I’ve never worried about the shape of my mouth, but now it bugs me, too. I’ve always hated my legs below my knees, because they look like chicken legs, but I never once thought about how funny looking my mouth is.


I think sometimes it’s okay to hide certain things from people, if you don’t get too convoluted about it…like what happened when Kitty Reynolds still lived here. She made an appointment with a doctor in Rapid City and Mom agreed to drive her. A problem occurred when Florence, Dr. Murphy’s wife, got wind of it and invited herself along. Now they were going to have to figure out a way to get Kitty to the doctor’s appointment without Florence knowing. They would have to ditch Florence, and that would not be easy. You see, Mom and Kitty knew Florence would be mad, and it would hurt Doc Murphy’s feelings if they found out Kitty went all the way to Rapid City to see another doctor.

The three of them headed for Rapid, and it wasn’t long before the first dilemma arose. Every time the ladies go on shopping trips to Rapid City, they stop along the way for pie and coffee. Florence kept asking when they were going to stop. Well, Kitty was going to have one of those tests where you can’t eat anything after midnight. She couldn’t even have coffee, because she doesn’t like it without cream and sugar. Mom knew Florence would suspect something if Kitty didn’t have pie and coffee, so there was no way she was going to stop. She said something about being in a big hurry. I’m sure Florence was puzzled by that.

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Kitty Reynolds

Mom said Florence fussed all the way to Rapid because she wanted pie so bad. Thankfully when they got there, they had a little time to figure out what to do with Florence while Mom took Kitty to the doctor. Well, Florence really wanted to go to a certain store in the Baken Shopping Strip. Mom said she would drop her off, but she had to go see her friend Jeri Olson, who was in the hospital. Florence doesn’t know Jeri, so that was a smart move on Mom’s part. She told Florence that Kitty had to go with her to see Jeri. Kitty has a bad leg, so it made sense for her to stay with Mom instead of walking all over the shopping strip. Florence didn’t question any of that, but she was getting extremely hungry, so she suggested they all have a bite to eat first.

Kitty said, “No, we can’t do that because Loretta and I are on an all liquid diet.” By this time, they were at the shopping strip. Then Florence tried to pin Mom down as to what time they would pick her up. Mom told her if she was finished with her shopping before they got back, to go to Woolworths in the shopping strip and have a piece of pie.

When Mom got home that night, she said it was the most exhausting day she had ever lived through. Florence remained upset, and Kitty was as nervous as a cat the whole time. They couldn’t even eat on the way back since Kitty said they were on a strict liquid diet. Mom feared Kitty, who can’t think on her feet, would say something to blow their cover.

Upon hearing all of this, I reminded Mom of what she always tells me. “What a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.” She said, “Yes, and if you ever mention a word about it, I will hit you so hard you will starve to death bouncing.” Which is another thing she always says.

This picture was taken in Vernal Utah, when we all went to see Kitty’s granddaughter get married. From left: me, Kitty’s daughter, Cheryl, Marce, and Lois Lillabridge, and Mom (I don’t know who the man is.)
Why didn’t someone tell me there was an open mic…I don’t see a mic…Uh Oh…The Queen is back!

4 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…You didn’t hear it from me

  1. grinchy44 October 5, 2020 / 11:26 am

    That is an early picture of Kitty.


  2. lifelessons September 29, 2020 / 12:06 am

    Ha.. Did you publish this story before? It seems familiar. Still funny the second time, though. I still remember how Kitty would sit on the floor to pin up the hem on a dress she was making you and bend her one bad leg under her with the good leg straight out in front. Or perhaps vice versa. O remember her making our cheerleading outfits and also my long dress for my sister’s wedding. As a surprise, she made one just like it for my doll.


    • Mary Francis McNinch September 29, 2020 / 5:08 am

      Yes, I did publish it and it was still in the archives because I only removed the stories that were in the book. I have really fond memories of Kitty, too. We all mourned when Kelly died so suddenly and her daughter whisked her away to Utah. I can picture her on the floor just as you described.


      • lifelessons September 29, 2020 / 6:10 am

        Did you keep in touch with her? Kelly was a very sweet guy. I still remember his saying he could still “feel” his toes even after his leg was amputated.. That made quite an impression on me as a little girl.


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