Murdo Girl…The essence of Queen E

I just finished watching a documentary on the life of Queen Elizabeth. What a remarkable woman she is.

Many of you know that I have had a lot of fun featuring her in my blogs through the years. The truth is, aside from the hat captions and our visits with her on both sides of the pond, I greatly admire her.

I have a crown just like this one…

I think I’m drawn to the regal, classy demeanor she has displayed all of these years. The old girl might live in the lap of luxury, but she has been through some difficult times.

She takes her position seriously, yet does not take the adoration personally. What I mean is, she hopes and believes it is her position as the Queen, that the public holds in high esteem. Does that make sense? I think the next in line will definitely be challenged trying to fill her shoes. I mean she’s iconic.

The only thing the documentary noted as being a time the public was disappointed in her was when Princess Dianna was killed. The Queen did not make remarks right away. She took her family, including Dianna’s two sons, to Balmoral where they stayed in seclusion for a time. She came to understand how much Dianna was loved and as the Queen, she needed to acknowledge the tragedy that had befallen her former daughter-in-law and mother of her grandsons. When she did speak, it was “As your Queen” in context, but still heartfelt.

I can understand why she might have wanted to give them that time to absorb what had happened.

I think that later today I’ll get out the Diamond Jubilee teacup that my friend, Jean, gave me, make a cup of tea and toast Queen Elizabeth…

Long Live the Queen!

Murdo Girl…The Rythm of life..A family from Sweden

I have written about the history of all sides of my family in this series and I have also written about my friend, Sherri Miller’s family. Her grandfather immigrated from Norway and eventually settled in the Presho, South Dakota area. My Grandparents on the Francis and Sanderson sides were second generation Americans and settled in my hometown of Murdo, South Dakota.

When I was 29 and my brother, Billy, was 36, our father, William Francis died suddenly. He had a heart attack while helping a neighbor put in a shower. Dad was living in California at the time.

My parents divorced when I was 18. Mom and E.M. Gustafson married 3 years later, shortly before my first son was born. Gus has been in our lives for 48 years and Bill’s family and mine are all very close to him. Mom was his only marriage. She was a few years older and always said she was training him for his 2nd wife. They were married 36 years before she died. I hope you’re getting all of this down because there will be a test later.

Gus’ cousin, Marilyn Moseson, researched much of the Gustafson family’s history. This story is a compilation of information contained in her book as well as Gus’ records and memories.

Gus and his father, Rudolph Gustafson

Gus’ grandfather, Gustaf Svensson was born 12/21/1846. You might be wondering why his surname was Svensson and not Gustafson. Sweden abounds in names ending in “son” because of an old Nordic practice. Before hereditary surnames were introduced, they used the father’s first name, and the suffix -“son” for son or “-dotter” for a daughter. Gustaf Svensson’s sons were Gustafsons. If he’d had a daughter, her name, for example, would have been, Sofia, Gustafsdotter.

Gustaf married in 1884. His wife died about a year later. There were no children born of that marriage. On 7/24/1886 he married Emma, Eriksdotter. They had 7 sons. One son died in infancy and four immigrated to America. Not much was written about Gus’ grandfather, Gustaf, except that he was a hard worker and he was very proud of the barn his son, Johan, built for him.

Many times the small farms in Sweden couldn’t support all of the sons and their families which created the need and desire to immigrate to America. Gus said his grandparent’s farm in Sweden was named Rormyren and was near the largest lake in Sweden.

Rudolph was the 5th son of Gusfaf and Emma. He was born 11-4-1893 and was one of the four who immigrated to America. Karl and Johan, the two oldest, remained in Sweden.

Rudolph sailed to America on the SS US Kristiana. He was listed as the 2nd passenger on the manifest.

Rudolph arrived at America’s Ellis Island on December 6th, 1912. He was 19 years old. He immediately went to Sioux City, Iowa where he was greeted by brothers Swan (previously Sven) and Edward as well as his Aunts and Uncles.

Rudolph was a hard worker and he was strong. He could throw a load of bricks over his shoulder and climb a ladder.

He was drafted into the service in 1917. As did many who immigrated, Rudolph became a citizen while serving. Like Sherri’s father, who had to denounce the King of Norway, Rudolph had to denounce the King of Sweden before obtaining his citizenship.

Rudolph’s mother, Emma had a strong faith which helped her endure the fact that 4 of her sons were all the way in America. 1931 was a special year for her. Her sons brought her and her son, Johan to America for a visit. She was 78 at the time. Emma stayed for an entire year and enjoyed many family gatherings. After she returned to Sweden, her boys made trips to visit her. Gus’ father, Rudolph, made a trip in 1938. Edward even took his car on the ship with him, once.

On 11/26/1943, the brothers received a telegram from Johan. It only contained 2 words…Mother dead. Because of the war, the brothers couldn’t join Johan for their mother’s burial.

The rhythm of life changed swiftly and often during the time many of our families were becoming established in their new homeland. The tapestry became richer with all the combined history melding together

Between 1900 and 1915, more than 15 million immigrants arrived in the United States. That was about equal to the number of immigrants who had arrived in the previous 40 years combined…

Ellis Island

Murdo Girl…Gone..A red carnation

(The young woman and her new friend, Arf, continue their search for the future)

“I know the man who wrote this book. I recognize his name.

Is he the one orchestrating this senseless game?”

Arf didn’t move and he wasn’t sympathetic.


He looked at me as if to say, “I don’t do pathetic!”

“Okay, Arf!” I said. “Don’t look so perplexed.”

I’ll go along willingly, where do you want me next?

He went to the book and turned the pages with his paw.

I watched intently…not believing what I saw.

He started at the back and stopped at the beginning.

I saw the author’s photo. Now my head was spinning.

I’ll tell you this story, Arf. There’s no one else to tell.

I met this man the day I left somewhere I used to dwell.

He helped me board the train I took to some random destination.

He took the seat next to me and handed me a red carnation.

He asked me odd questions like, did I want to work or be a wife?

I said I hadn’t had a chance to plan the next stage of my life.


Before he got off the train, he handed me a book.

It was one he had written and he hoped I’d take a look.

I never read a word of it, though I should have I suppose.

Did I leave it somewhere? Only heaven knows.

Would it have been of interest to this lonely waif?

Someone who spent most her life never feeling safe?

The writer said something I haven’t thought about in ages.

He said I would find my truth between the pages.

I remembered the photograph. Who was I dancing with?

And how was she connected to the gentleman wordsmith?

That day he left me on the train, I didn’t hear all he said

As he removed his hat and slightly bowed his head.


It was when I heard the whistle, and when I heard the bell.

 I heard a man’s voice whisper, “I bid you a fond farewell.”

Now, I can recall… he whispered something more.

“I know your father loves you… now and forever more.” 


I heard the whisper at the well say, “You’re ready to move on.”

Look back for just a moment to make sure the past is gone.”


Murdo Girl…Gone..The book

Arf watched as I opened the book he had brought to me.

 I looked at the picture. “What do you want me to see?


The woman and the little girl danced their carefree dance.

You could see the love between them in their loving glance.

I didn’t know the woman, which seemed strange because…you see

 I knew the child…That little girl was me.


“I don’t understand, Arf. Why are we going back in time?”

And why do I keep hearing the whistle and bell chime?”

I’d heard the whisper at the well,  “You are ready to move on.

 Look back for just a moment to make sure the past is gone.” 


“I think maybe we should leave, Arf. The more I see, the less I know.”

He came to me and licked my hand. My tears began to flow.

My eyes went to the book, I turned it over in my hands.

 I saw the author’s name. I knew I had to change my plans.


First I heard the whisper. Then I heard the bell.

Something unknown gripped my heart. A fear I could not quell.


I heard the familiar whistling. The soft voice filled the air.

“If you want to get someplace, you have to leave nowhere.

Murdo Girl…Gone home

(The 3rd of 4…see Gone 2 and Gone the letter)

Part 3…

An old reclusive aunt reaches out to her niece hoping to help her learn the truth about her family and herself.

Her niece makes the journey back to the family farm…a place she barely remembers. She has her new friend Arf to lead the way…

Should I pack up my belongings and travel down that road?

I couldn’t see another way to lighten up my load.

I wondered if they’d be there. This family I didn’t know.

When Arf and I walked through the gate, my steps began to slow.

Arf tried to hurry me along…then I heard a ringing bell.


The first thing he led me to was an old wishing well.

He pulled on a rope until a bucket reached the top.


He backed up to where I stood and let the bucket drop.

First I heard the whisper. Then I heard the bell.

“You can’t fill an empty bucket from an empty well.”


I heard the familiar whistling. The soft voice filled the air.

“If you want to get someplace, you have to leave nowhere.

You must escape the rope. Life on earth won’t last forever.

With a steady hand and prayer, you can put it all together.

Let your steps take you forward. You’re ready to move on.

Look back for just an instant to make sure you’re truly gone.”


What used to be the farmhouse was now more like a shack

I found a cot and fell asleep… too weary to unpack.

Early the next morning Arf walked over to a nook

When he returned, in his mouth he held a book.

Another message from my aunt? Arf began to pace.

I opened up the book and saw an unfamiliar face.

First I heard the whistle. Then I heard the bell.

I knew the woman in the book had a story to tell.

Murdo Girl…Gone 2, the letter

The first sentence of that letter shook me to the core. Against my better judgement, I went on to read some more…


It said

I know I’m not your favorite. I never tried to be. But never mind all that! You can learn from me.

So listen up my dear and I’ll tell you what it takes. It makes no sense for you to make all of my mistakes.


I had a noose around my neck for Lord knows far too long. It took me years to figure out exactly what went wrong.

I was a farmer…not a farmer’s wife… I didn’t want to have any old goats in my life.


I had no time for family. No one ever called me nice. You’re my only niece and I think I’ve seen you twice.

You threw away your family, too and ran your best friend off. I’ve given you a new friend. His name is Arf.


You know where the farm is and I’ve given you the key. There you’ll find the answers that will set you free.

Arf will stay right with you. He won’t leave you alone. But he’ll have to bring his favorite chewed- up bone.


Arf came with me willingly. We were quite a pair. We headed for the farm….I wondered what would happen there…

I heard the whispers in the wind and it comforted me somehow, but they had to do with then, and this was now.

And the wind will whisper your name to me,
Little birds will sing along in time,
The leaves will bow down when you walk by,
And morning bells will chime.

(Peter Paul and Mary)

To be Continued…

Murdo Girl…Pausing the podcast

This might be too much information but someone asked how to stop the hour long podcast and come back to it later…

Choose more platforms if you didn’t download Spotify.
Choose Google Podcasts or whomever you want to use. It’s also on Instagram. I downloaded Spotify. It is one of the largest Podcast distributors. Many use it for music.
To play hit play arrow across from most recent which is combined chapters.
Pause across from logo. When you open it again, it will take you to this episode and you can start it again.

I hope this is not too confusing. Basically, if you pause it should stay paused until you come back to it.

Murdo Girl…Gone 2

I was walking through the park and fighting back the tears. I had never felt this sad in all my thirty years.

My job was going nowhere and I couldn’t pay my bills. It seemed no matter where I turned, I was always climbing hills.

My best friend and I weren’t speaking. We’d had some silly fight. I had given up on sleeping. I just cried all night.

I hadn’t seen my family since many years before. There was just one person, anyway, I truly did adore.

The sound of someone whistling broke through my melancholy. I looked around but all I saw was a little border collie.

He was sitting near an empty bench. He appeared to be alone. He was guarding two possessions, a small bag and a chewed-up bone.

I felt drawn to the park bench. I was feeling so fatigued, but even more than that, I was profoundly intrigued.

I feared the little dog might leave but instead… he moved closer to my knee where he laid his weary head.

Several minutes later I opened my eyes to see that he had picked up his small bag. Was he giving it to me?


He dropped it on the bench and nudged it closer to my hand. I opened it and what I saw I could not understand.

I found two things inside the bag…a letter and a key. The thing I could not believe? The letter was addressed to me.

I fumbled with the envelope and found a note within, but before I could begin to read, I heard the whistling again.

I soon found I was whistling along. Where could I have heard that familiar song?

And I’ll sing you the songs of the rainbow,
Whisper all the joy that is mine.
The leaves will bow down when you walk by,
And morning bells will chime.
I’ll walk in the rain by your side,
I’ll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand.
I’ll do anything to help you understand,
I’ll love you more than anybody can.
(Peter, Paul and Mary)


Part 2 of Gone 2, next post…I promise you it won’t be sad…Trust me.

Murdo Girl…Father of the bride

“I want to have a small wedding.”

“Good,” Dad said…”That’s all you’re getting.”

He went online and found a venue,

Picked the flowers and chose the menu.

His budget was now getting slim

He asked Aunt Sue to sing the hymn.


Who would play, “Here comes the bride?”

(The wedding was to be outside.)

He had to buy a wedding dress.

Where could he find her one for less?


Finally, all the plans were made.

The date was set, the bills were paid.

“Daughter, all you have to do is show!

Just say your vows. You’re good to go!”

She said, “I don’t think you understand.

I still have to find a man.”


Snapped this picture while walking with a friend. It needed a story.

If you’re interested in this venue, please call,


(Butt can is extra.)

Murdo Girl…A farmer’s dilemma

One day Grandma June had a talk with Grandpa Jim. She feared that big old farm would be the death of him.

“Our daughters have their own plans. They don’t want this place.”

“I know,” Grandpa said. He had a sad look on his face.

“Let’s talk about it later, I don’t have time right now. There’s hay to be put up, and a field I have to plow.”

The farm had been my home every summer of my youth. I didn’t like what Grandma said, though I knew it was the truth.

That day instead of plowing or putting up the hay, we grabbed our fishing poles and fished the day away.

We didn’t get a bite, but we really didn’t care. I knew there was a reason Grandpa wanted to be there.

Grandpa Jim and Grandma June, had been this boy’s salvation. Grandma always told me I was truly God’s creation.

I wanted to ask Grandpa if it would be too tough, for him to run the farm, till I got big enough.

Grandpa Jim looked straight ahead. I knew what he was thinking. My eyes filled up with water and Grandpa’s eyes kept blinking.

“We better pack it up, son. You know we can’t be late. When supper is all ready, Grandma puts it on our plate.

I chuckled to myself as we picked up our rods and reels. Grandpa’s never late and Grandma never serves cold meals.