Those 70ish girls…The Stock I came From, pt 4

Aunt Loretta often said, “Enough about me, how did you like my last movie?”

If someone ever made a movie about Aunt Loretta, it would be hilarious and emotionally take you up then drop you down pretty hard, but you would love every minute.

In California in the 40’s
Fun in the snow while visiting the Black Hills in South Dakota

She talked to me like I was an adult, when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and we had traveled from PA to Murdo, SD to have a Sanderson reunion. I kept playing with the many cousins running wild through the small town and enjoying meeting all my relatives. I would ask her if we were “allowed” to do this or that, constantly asking for adult permission, and she got a bit agitated at my persistence.
“Do you always have to ask if you’re ‘allowed’ to do anything?” she asked sternly.

Matron of honor at Margie and Wayne Esmay’s Wedding
With Murdo friends, from Left, Harriet Parish, Marce Lillibridge, Florence Murphy, Marge Bork, Evelyn Johnson, and Aunt Loretta

That shut me up for a while. Two weeks later, when we got home to the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I asked my Mom about all the aunts’ and uncles’ names and tried to get their kids connected with the right relative. When it came to discussing Aunt Loretta, I blurted out, “Ohhh, the mean one!”
My 8 year old self was wrong. Loretta was just honest and treated you like an adult, something which I was not used to at all. She made you own up.
Another time she told me that being an only child was different. She said my parents had to pour all their hopes, dreams and work of parenting into just one kid. They had to give me all their love and attention. Not necessarily spoiling me, because they were careful about that and we didn’t have much money, but just giving the one child 100%.
One sizzling hot summer day in  Murdo, she was lying in bed with just a 1950’s style bra on and shorts looking through movie magazines. As kids do, some of us piled in to look at the movie star’s photos with her and she said something about her next movie coming out. She also said her next husband would be sweet and kind. As a kid, I had never seen my Mom, first of all, lying in bed in the middle of the day in her bra and secondly talking about movie stars and movies while lounging in bed. And getting married again. What? This was fascinating and daring stuff.
Loretta gave cousin Andrea and me our first paid jobs while in junior high,  cleaning her motel rooms during the summer. She was particular about how the rooms were cleaned and trained us exactly in what she wanted done each morning. Then later, she took us to Mack’s Cafe for homemade giant cinnamon rolls as a reward for working. I think Andrea and I liked those rolls better than the cash we got working.
I hold many wonderful memories about her in my heart and psyche. Too many to share.
~The time she wore her red satin petticoat over her dress at a fashion show party to show off, her delicious lemon bars and cooking, her fake yelling at you finger pointing and saying, “Just wait. Grandpa will have to deal with your  behavior!”  Leaving a dirty diaper under her roommate’s pillow after her sweet roommate complained about dirty cloth diapers being left around their shared wartime apartment just to get back at her. On and on…
All we cousins loved her and her straightforward ways. She was a character and a true standout.
Darn, wish I had some of those cinnamon rolls right now. Thanks, Aunt Loretta.

Aunt Loretta didn’t make the movies, but she is on the cover of her daughter’s book.

Those 70ish girls…The Stock I Came From. Pt 3

When I was a little girl, we visited Aunt Helen and Uncle Bob and their four kids in Michigan just once. We only saw them once in a while because we lived in Pennsylvania pretty far from their house, and had only been to Murdo, South Dakota for a few SANDERSON family reunions together during the summer. But after seeing Aunt Helen a few times and noticing how pretty she was, I decided to name my new dark haired doll Helen in her honor. To me that was the perfect name.

Me with my Mom and the doll I named after my beautiful Aunt Helen


Aunt Helen was the fourth child born to Grandma and Grandpa SANDERSON and the last to be born before the family moved to a little log cabin on Horse Creek about 7 miles outside of Murdo. Her brother Jeff’s birth had been difficult so her dad, my Grandpa, drove his wife a very long distance in a wagon/carriage to Mitchell Hospital when the time came. Helen was named Mary Helen but was called Helen so as not to be confused having her mother’s first name.

Helen was the baby of the family when this picture was taken with brothers Wayne and Jeff, and sister, Ella.

It was a tough life on the farm there. Even though the family had a Model A, Grandpa later bought a Model T which made the two miles on dirt roads then the 5 miles on gravel roads easier. Aunt Helen later wrote that she was always happy growing up even in tough times. She dressed the farm kittens like her babies and loved playing house, even though she had chores and worked hard as did the entire family. The kids road a horse three miles to school and did not like leaving their horse all day in the barn at school with no food. There were 12 students in the country school in eight grades.

The Osborn family in later years

The Osborn family also attended school with the SANDERSONS and only had bread with cocoa junk on their bread sandwiches. That was a mixture of sugar, cocoa and whole milk which would soak into the homemade bread. The Osborn family was poor. They had 13 children. Helen felt lucky to have sardine sandwiches at school for lunch. A tin of sardines cost 4 cents and she recalled that some were canned in mustard or tomato sauce and were tasty.

The Sanderson sisters…from left, Helen, Elna, Ella, and Loretta

Helen recalls that her Dad, ME SANDERSON was strict. If their Mom, Mary, couldn’t handle the kids, she would say in a low voice, “I will have to tell your Dad.” One time ME put her on top of a tall cupboard to discipline Helen. Or to show the other kids who was boss.

Helen was a dark haired, slim girl in high school. Later she went to business school out in Rapid City after my Mom, Ella, gave her the money to attend. She eventually met her future husband Bob who graduated from School of Mines and he got a job in Michigan with the auto manufacturer, Chevrolet. They left the day after getting married and drove with another couple all the way to Michigan from South Dakota. They raised their four children there in Michigan. One summer my parents bought a car from Bob and Helen. The two families met in Murdo so my parents could drive it home later. They were so proud to have gotten a relatively new car from Bob and Helen.

Later in life, when Bob had passed away, Helen went to live near a daughter in South Dakota once again. She regularly wrote beautiful letters to her brothers and sisters with a neat flowing cursive handwriting. I remember my mother read those letters over and over and kept many of them. Aunt Helen was always happy as long as the sun shone. And she was always beautiful inside and out.

Uncle Bob Haverberg around the time he and Aunt Helen were married
From Left: The ever stylish sisters, Helen, Ella, and Loretta

Those 70ish girls…Thanksgiving wishes for you

Baba baked some bread since she couldn’t find any in her kitchen. She decided the Pilgrims had the right idea, sitting down with their new friends, the Wampanoag Tribe in the New World and shared food, conversation and thankfulness.

May you all enjoy time with others during this holiday and celebrate your blessings no matter how small by giving thanks and sharing what you have. If you have little or nothing at all to share, then try sharing kindness – it’s free and gives back so much in return.

Baba with homemade bred

Those 70ish Girls…Thanksgiving with Baba & Yram

Baba snagged a TeeVee gig. She convinced the producers that she had cooking expertise. Her TeeVee show has yet to air because most of it ended up on the cutting room floor. I don’t know what that means, but I’ve heard lots of bigshot TeeVee execs say that…Tiny (This is not Yram.)

Yram has to copy everything I do. She does not have cuuking expertise. I’ve been working hard with my producer, Bozo, and he thinks I’m just a few Thanksgivings away from being the next Julie Child. (Only I don’t talk funny.) This is Baba…TaTa, Wyram.

Happy Thanksgiving from Baba and Yram…If you want our recipes you can call Baba at 999-999-9999 or Yram at 555-555-5555.

WE ARE VERY THANKFULL FOR YOU!

Those 70ish girls…The stock I came from, pt 2

Uncle Jeff was born a couple years after my Mom. The doctor had to break his arm delivering him breach since he was a chubby big baby. He was named Melvin but as I wrote earlier, his nickname of JEFF stuck.

Jeff was a handsome young schoolboy

He was a lover of family, his town, his country and sports, as well as fishing and hunting. He joined the Marines as a young man shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked. His mother, my Grandma Mary, who rarely left her home in Murdo, SD, made the trip to California to see her Jeff. She traveled alone by train and was hoping to get there before Jeff was shipped out. Her daughters, Ella and Loretta, met her at the train station and had to break the news that Jeff and already left. Her daughters said that Grandma wouldn’t look at the ocean the whole time she was in California because it took her Jeff away.

This picture of Grandma and my mother was taken when Grandma visited California. Her sad expression was no doubt because she missed seeing her son before he shipped out.

Jeff worked up to being a Staff Sergeant, and the only one in his family who served in WWII. Any time we visited my Mom’s home town, he was there to help us find a place to stay, and take us to lunch or to come visit and chat for hours. We were eating at the Star Cafe with him one summer visit. We all sat talking and when our food came, he asked if anyone wanted some of his French fries because he had about “a thousand fries” and couldn’t eat them all. He loved to kid around and have fun. He hung out with his brother, Wayne, since they were always good friends as well as good brothers. Jeff was the one who, as a young boy, unknowingly walked past the rattler first  before the snake struck out at Wayne.

Uncle Wayne, on the left, and Uncle Jeff often had coffee together at a local Murdo Cafe.


Everyone liked JEFF who owned SANDERSONS General Store for years and later worked for the rural utility company. He voluntarily managed Murdo’s youth baseball program for 12 years. He was man of the year in South Dakota one year as a senior. Quite an honor. And I cannot forget about his jeep that he used to haul hundreds of kids to different baseball games. The old Willis Jeep was towed out to the cemetery during his funeral procession. He loved his old jeep which now sits at Murdo Auto Museum. He would like that.

Me visiting the Jeep at the Pioneer Auto Museum

As I said before, Uncle Jeff was dedicated to family and community. He lived next door to Grandma and Grandpa and More often than not, he spent his noon hour visiting with them in their home.

Those 70ish girls…The stock I came from, pt 1

I’ve often heard people say that “he” or “she” came from good stock. It’s a simple way of saying they came from a respectable family with qualities that others admire. I learned the most about the stock I came from through antecdotes my mother told me. I wish I had listened more closely or asked more questions, but one thing I know for sure is that I came from good stock. I’m writing a series of stories centered around things my mother told me about her family as they navigated through hard times and good times.

The Sandersons: TL: Wayne, Mary, Ella and M. E. , BL: Loretta, Jeff (Melvin), and Helen. (Elna, who was the youngest by 6 years was not yet born.)

Uncle Wayne was one of my Murdo Uncles and the oldest in Grandma and Grandpa’s family.  It was said of him that during the tough US Depression and the Dirty ‘30’s he kept the family of eight alive and fed, working on the farm, trapping pesky birds and animals that plagued farm crops which  earned  money from the state and also working jobs on the side to help the family. During this time, he survived a rattlesnake bite. His dad, my grandpa, cut a slit near the bite and sucked the venom out. I don’t think they advise doing that anymore.

Wayne later started his own dirt moving business.

Wayne Sanderson’s first dirt moving equipment (1946) L. to R. is M.E. Sanderson, his sisters Tet and Melitha and M.E.’s wife, Mary

He bought a home and raised his own family while still living next door to his parents and helping others. He lost an eye as a young married man. I didn’t know him well but my Mom always spoke of him with great love and respect. He was my hero when I was about 8 and he bought me a black pair of cowgirl boots, the first pair I ever had. This happened during a summer Murdo trip we made from Pennsylvania. It was a highlight to my childhood.

Here I am with my Murdo cousins. I was so proud of the cowboy boots Uncle Wayne bought for me.

Next in age from the six SANDERSON kids, came my Mom, Ella.

The little boy in this picture is Wayne. Mary Sanderson is holding baby, Ella and M.E. is to her right. The older couple are Grandma’s parents who were visiting from Iowa.

She also worked hard and learned to cook from her sweet Mother, Mary Sanderson. She told many stories of growing up poor during tough times. She remembered being kicked into a barbed wire fence by a horse when young, crying when the family feared Wayne might die from the rattlesnake bite, being ill with pneumonia and missing so much school, she went back a grade to be with her younger brother Jeff. The two were close and were nicknamed Mutt and Jeff after a popular comic strip.  I learned how to make pies from my Mom and try to be kind and forgiving.

Mom often said not to discuss religion or how much money you have with other people. She didn’t know what it was like to go into town until later. The kids pretty much just stayed on the farm and each one had chores. During high school she worked as a babysitter, a cook and a maid to pay for boarding so she could stay in town. Later she worked at the family’s general store.


She always liked nice clothing and shoes.  She went to California to work in the aircraft industry during WWII. She was always slim and beautiful with a big smile.

At a family gathering in Pennsylvania. My parents are on the right and I’m sitting on the floor. I think I have the little boy’s toy and he has my doll.

Those 70ish girls…Basic Baseball by Baba

I have been watching the World Serious this week. It’s the biggest baseball tournament in the World and it is serious.

These two teams try to score with one guy at a time, taking turns by hitting a small hard ball after a guy from the opposite team throws a ball at about 90 mph at the guy who is home (you’d think he would feel safe being at home. He is not ). The guy at home tries to defend himself with this wooden stick. Naturally he doesn’t want to get hit with a 90 mph hard ball. The guy with the stick gets a few chances.At least there are two other guys behind him, one crouched way down protected with a big mask and mattress in his mid section and another guy behind crouching guy called an Emperor. That guy kinda runs the entire game and yells out, “Ball” or sometimes, “Strike”. The Emperor is dressed in black and is also disguised with a mask and mini-mattress to protect himself. He yells a lot.

So the stick holder is out front with NO PROTECTION and two cowardly types stand or crouch down behind this poor fellow who only has a stick while a thrown hardball comes hurtling toward him. But sometimes the stick holder hits the ball away and naturally runs as fast as possible. Now it gets interesting. The police should be called and lawyers brought in but noooo—the guy running often tries to steal a base, often not even feeling remorse. And get this: there is actually a baseball diamond somewhere on the field and the players don’t try to steal that. They try to steal bases!Who the heck wants to steal a base?

I would much rather have a diamond. The other guys in the team even encourage this thievery yelling, “Run!” Or certain helpers whisper what a player should do next. They coach them on when and how to steal. I just do not believe the lack of common decency in this game. Stealing and trying to hit poor defenseless players. I can see why everyone at the stadium needs to stretch and sing after about seven parts or innings. “Take me out of the ball game” is what they all sing and can you blame them? I would want to get out of there, too.

Too bad…looks like Baba needs to get a booster!

Those 70ish girls…Baba gets booed on a typical street

Baba Wawa is back on the streets of Anytown USA which we all know is Happy Down in the Valley, CA. I’m just sayin. I happen to be a no opinion editor. All of us no opinion editors have no opinions. I’m just sayin.

My name is Tiny. (This Is Not Yram.)

Baba Wawa…

Hey Martha…I told you we shouldn’t have moved to Happy Down in the Valley…Martha?
Harold…Does this dress make me look fat?
Well, I haven’t seen everything, now!!

Happy Halloween every BODY!!!

BWAAAHAHA…Tiny

Those 70ish girls…News and Views -Sports, Bom meets Baba

Baba snagged another big interview, this time with another star athlete-Bom Trady. WARNING: She doesn’t know a thing about football. She sent this exclusive report via some kind of writing with a quill pen on papyrus!

Baba: Good evening football fans and
all kinds of sports fans. I am here to interview a big name in a big sport.
Welcome to you Bom Trady. I know you’re rushed for time so we will make this swift, quick and fast, just like your arm. How would you evaluate the game of football today compared with say 50 years ago?

Baba have telephome samich. Me have micerphome

Bom:  I don’t know because I didn’t play 50 years ago. What a dumb question.

Baba:  (Hmm, a real mathematician.)
Well, why do they keep throwing around quarters? I thought betting on games was illegal except in some fantasy games?

Bom:  Yes, a coin is thrown at the beginning of games to see who goes first. No gambling.  The game is played in four quarters!

Baba:  (This guy is touchy.) Ohhh, so that’s why the football announcers keep saying, “Quarterback!”  They want players to give the quarters back! I get it.

Bom:   Lady, you gotta be kidding me.
I’m outta here. I have to go warm up my arm. Bye.

Baba:  Okay, Bom. Thanks for the informative interview and good luck with that heating pad on your arm even though it’s called Football, not Armball. (Personally I would warm up my foot.)
Bye Bom! Good luck and enjoy the game today.

What? Eddie J is that you???

Baba:  Maybe sometime they will let me on the field and I can wear one of those cute black and white striped outfits the umpires wear with caps. Wonder why all the players wear helmets and all those big pads but the bravest ones in the thick of the game, the football  umps, just wear b and w outfits and caps … not even helmets.
Until next time, rah rah rah from Bababa!

Tata Baba