Murdo Girl…Reunion Bound

Here we go!!! We couldn’t be more excited.

Lav (Valerie), MG (me), Gus, and Billy all arrived in Rapid City yesterday. We are staying in Deadwood at our cousin Blake Haverberg and his wife, Melanie own. I have already lost all of my brother’s money on the slot machines. There is a good reason for my misfortune. I just haven’t been able to think of it, yet.

Here are a few shots of our trip, so far. The only thing we are lacking in is sleep. We clocked about three hours. Actually, Billy and Gus are still sleeping in the suite next door to ours. We are in no hurry to wake them up.

Murdo Girl…Kings and Queens

Murdo High School…1937.

When I was younger, my Dad told me about the first time Murdo had a Homecoming King. They had always just had a Queen. I don’t remember the name of the guy that got King, but he didn’t show up for Coronation. Someone found him and told him he had to go to the Coronation and crown the Queen. The guy said, “CROWN HER WITH A TWO BY FOUR!”

The next time I see Mr. Thune, I’m going to ask him if that’s true. Dad said it was just a one time thing and no King has ever done that since.

(I discovered in later years that the first homecoming king was my dad. He didn’t think it was fair to have a homecoming queen and not a king so he ran for queen. That is when they decided to have a king. Dan Parish nominated Dad and then closed the nominations. Dad got the honor as told in the story above.)

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I think I’ve got more sense now that I’m 14, but Mom is getting very forgetful. She can never think of anyone’s name. She says, “I’ll never forget old what’s his name.” Someone told her to go through the alphabet to jog her memory. She was trying to remember my cousin’s name. The one I just visited in New York. I could have told her, but she didn’t ask me. She said, “A..B. Oh, her name is Abby.”

I’ve decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to write about people’s personal business in my papers. I’ll just have to figure out another way to tell you about life in Murdo. I will practice by telling you about my first date. I just had it. Right when school started. I’m a freshman at Murdo High School.

A boy who doesn’t have a name, asked me to go to the show with him. I really like Noname, and I have since the 8th grade. That’s when he handed me a pretty ring with my birthstone in it and a red stuffed bear. He didn’t say a word, he just handed it to me, and I took it. I tried to wear the ring a couple of times, but it just didn’t feel right. It would have been a commitment to keep liking him, and I didn’t want to do that. What if a new kid comes along and he’s slightly cuter than Noname?

I couldn’t give the ring back, because I didn’t want him to think I don’t like him forever. Anyway, I put the ring in the pencil holder inside my desk and left it there. One day, it came up missing. Do you think another girl took it? Or…maybe Noname took it back.

Whatever happened, he must have forgotten about the discomfort of the situation, because here he was, asking me for a date.

The Connie-like dress and shoes from Alden’s.

I said yes… I wore my Connie-like Alden’s dress, nylons, and white Keds. Connie is a girl a couple of years older than me. I idolize her.

Noname brought his sister to drive us, because he’s not old enough yet to get a license. She dropped us off at the show, and we sat behind all of our friends who were having a lot more fun than we were. His sister picked us up, and took us to the Frosty, where all our friends were having a lot more fun than we were.

I doubt Noname will ask me out ever again. It’s too bad it all got ruined. Things just weren’t right. I spent the whole time wishing I hadn’t worn those stupid nylons. They were way too hot. I shouldn’t talk about Mom, I can’t even remember the name of the movie we saw. I was too nervous. (Chitty, Chitty..Bang..Bang was at the Draper Theater)

See, I told you it wouldn’t take long to tell you about my first date.I hope it gets cold soon. I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t have very many warm weather clothes, and I’m getting pretty sick of the Alden’s dress. I don’t care how Connie-like it is. Oh yes. Here’s an update. I see her at school, and she hasn’t worn the same thing twice. Boy, that Frosty must really pay good. I’m for sure going to apply there for next summer, even though Mom will have a fit because I won’t be helping her at the motel.

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Suzanne Bork and Joe Thomas Homecoming (1965?)

Homecoming is in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait! On Thursday night we have Coronation in the auditorium. They crown the King and Queen, then a couple of older people in their 20’s get up and tell where their old classmates are. (At least the ones they can find.) Next, we have a pep rally outside. The cheerleaders do some cheers, but the main thing is, they start a huge M on fire. When it’s all burned up, the cheerleaders lead a snake dance all over town. A snake dance is when all the kids clasp hands and then run in the shape of a snake. You don’t want to get toward the end of a snake dance, because to make it look like a snake you have to run back and forth and still keep up with the head of the snake.

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Oh dear, I hope I’m not too late for the snake dance

Friday night is the football game, followed by the homecoming dance. I’m not saying that anyone will ask me anyway, but I’m not going to make eye contact or accept a note from any boy, because I’m still feeling the sting of my first date. I haven’t been to a homecoming dance yet, and I want to see what goes on.I almost forgot. We also have a big parade down Main St. on Friday morning. Every class makes a float, which is really hard work, because you have to stuff tons and tons of napkins into chicken wire. We make our floats in someone’s garage. Let me tell you…It’s unbelievable how neat it looks when they are all done.

This wasn’t homecoming. We were playing the laughing game while practicing for the Sr. Play.
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I wonder who these kids are…

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When we’re Seniors, our float might look like this skunk.

When I grow up and go to a reunion, this story will probably be something I laugh about.

Murdo Girl…Gifts of friends

A week to celebrate friends…I can’t wait to see Dianna Kenobbie Diehm and Sherri Miller in just a few days…

A poem for Dianna…

Each morning we’re reminded by what is seen with practiced eye.

We must look up for our daily blessing. The day’s story told by the sky.


Some days, we see storm clouds but we’re anxious about nothing.

The cloud heavy with rain releases droplets to warn us it’s not bluffing.

Some mornings bring clear skies. The sun kissing the birds and trees.

The story she conveys through God given talent can bring us to our knees.

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I look up each morning, Sometimes needing a subtle nudge.

I see the morning photo. The capture no one could wrongly judge.

Then comes the evening. It’s still the sky I look to. The photo calms me.

Splendid color, heaven sent. A moment in time soon made as still as it can be.

Sometimes the sky is restless. Unable to be calm as darkness settles in.

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I am grateful for my friend’s gift. Scenes can last forever instead of seconds.

You’ll find no pridefulness. Just joy in the sharing of the story of the heavens.

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Photographs by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm…

These words best describe Sherri…

She is playful and makes time for fun.

Spreading laughter and kindness…she is a joy from sun to sun.

Her spirit lightens my heart and brightens my world view.

She loves family and friends. Her grace and loyalty shine through.

She’s an animal and nature lover. She know these gifts are heaven sent.

Any moment spent with Sherri will be time well spent.

Murdo Girl…For old time’s sake.

It’s not easy to be an unappreciated star. Natalie Wood was discovered in a drugstore/soda fountain just like Mowell’s Murdo Drugs. The little Murdo Girl just needs to find her stage. In a way, she reminds me of Lucille Ball in,” I Love Lucy.” The desire is there, but the talent?…Not so much.

The little Murdo Girl

Dad said he watched Lawrence Welk for years, but he wouldn’t recognize anyone on the show if he met them walking down the street. He said he might recognize someone on the Ed Sullivan Show, but barely. I know why he tells everybody that.

I like to perform… On Saturday nights, I used to dress up in my red gown or some other outfit, and dance in front of the television.

I sang with the Lennon Sisters. (Everyone likes Janet the best, but I like Peggy.) I sang songs with Guy and Ralna, and danced with Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan. I always saved my red gown, made by Kitty Reynolds, to perform with the Champagne Lady. She wears beautiful dresses. Most of her dresses have tulle skirts, sprinkled with sparkles.

I don’t perform in front of the TV anymore. Dad switched to watching Gunsmoke. It’s a little hard to dance to Gunsmoke. No one even dances in Miss Kitty’s saloon. It doesn’t matter anyway, because I’m getting too old to do that. I still like to perform though.

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I play the saxophone, but I begged Mom to let me take piano lessons. All of my friends play the piano, and their Moms say they’re more apt to use piano skills in later years. I begged so much, Mom finally said, okay. We were driving over to Elsa Peck’s house for my lesson, when I figured out I was only going to get ONE lesson.

When I complained, Mom told me to stop simpering. (Simpering is a new favorite word of Mom’s, although, I think it really is a word.) I told Mom, “Just never mind.” She mumbled something about, what was I thinking anyway, we don’t even have a piano.

Mom in her younger years

I guess I didn’t think it through. Before they even began, my piano playing days were over.

I love Murdo, but it’s not exactly the place to live if you want to be a performer. I like to pretend I’m an Olympic gymnast.  Suzanne and Cynthia Bork, and I  have fun judging each other’s routines, but to become a good gymnast, you have to take lessons. I’d probably have to go to Pierre or Rapid City.

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Suzanne, my cousin Andrea, and Cynthia…none of them are stars either.

The only thing I can think of to be when I grow up, is a stewardess, but as you know, I’m afraid to fly. I’ll go ahead and tell you something right now. I can’t really sing very well either. I think that’s why Dad quit watching Lawrence Welk. It’s a good thing I have a few years to figure it all out.

Billy graduated from Murdo High School and he’s going to college in California. He’s doing just fine. I think he wants to go into the parking lot business. There aren’t any big parking lots in Murdo, so I don’t think he plans to move back. My brother has deep roots here though, and I know he’ll always stay in touch with all those guys he went to school with. He might even come back and go fishing with them once in awhile.

Maybe I can dance on one of Billy’s parking lots. No…he would never let me. Whenever I would dance in front of the TV, he left the scene. I saw him dance once. He danced clear across the Auditorium and the girl he was dancing with just stood there and wondered where he went.

Well as Dad says. I guess I better go do something. Even if it’s wrong.

Murdo Girl…The Star Spangled Banner

I wrote this poem 3 years ago. It could have been today…

It’s five o’clock in the morning and this is the fourth of July.

After 246 years of freedom, our flag now struggles to fly.

Celebrations are now controversial. Our independence causes some to feel shame.

The men and women who have fought for our freedoms, are now part of a juvenile game.

I think of those soldiers who waited that night to see the dawn’s early light.

Would our flag still be standing? Had it survived through that terrible night?

They were proud to fight for our country. Some walked bootless through the cold snow.

We now buy our shoes from China. I’m so grateful they didn’t know.

Respect was not guaranteed. Their honor was often denied.

Why must we go through this nonsense? Why is it wrong to feel pride?

I don’t care if you are left or right. Fly that star spangled banner high.

Celebrate that we’re all still free and then, ask yourself why.

photos are from my dad’s Army album.

Photo contributed by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm

Thank you Sherri Miller for reminding me of this song…