That 70ish Girl…Lav’s story, Sightseeing in Deadlumber and Led

Lav blew right passed solving the mystery in part 2 or 3. We’ll get the rest of the story later. I really want to know who used her toothbrush and why MG lost her head and feet.

Meanwhile…Lav gives us Part4

Part 4. Our tour took us all over Historic Deadlumber on the first leg of our exciting journey. We could hardly contain ourselves.  Gus pointed out the Courthouse, which doubles as the Post Office.  We looked at many old buildings.
Finally, Lav got to eat breakfast on the third day. It was at a quaint place called the Pit Stop, an old gas station converted into a bagel haven. Lav had a bagel with egg and cheese, as did MG and the Guide. Gus had crunchy oatmeal with four sides- raisins, brown sugar, chopped nuts and a side of mushy oatmeal. We all snapped pictures and talked while waiting for our food to arrive. It all arrived in time for lunch. We deleted most of the pictures taken because MG and Lav decided they both looked hunched over, tired and too laid back in the photos. However, the tour guide flashed a big smile the entire time. Such a mysterious guy.

Gambling was next on the tour. Lav excused herself from the casino leg of the tour to go buy postcards and souvenirs.  But first the tour guide had to take a nap.

Lav didn’t want the excitement and hysterical fun times to end so she slipped into the Adams Museum. She rushed past the host asking for donations, because she knew this museum had always been free. Grandpa Sanderson had always told us that. She was shocked to see a valuable old poster hanging there on one wall.

Holy Plumbing Shop! Could it be…was it possible …it was there at Adams museum….the painting her cousins had searched years to find?

MG speaking…

Boy, that Lav sure likes cliffhangers. What cousins? Did they confirm it was really the painting that hung above Lois Jaide’s desk at Francis Plumbing and Heating? What was the name of the painting and what did it depict? There might be some clues in the movie.

That 70ish Girl…Mystery in Deadlumber by Lav

You are in for a treat! Lav wrote part 3 of our trip chronicles. I don’t know what happened to part 2, but she hasn’t called me back, so we will go with part 3. It makes sense to me. What? Wait! It’s a mystery…It all happened at the Martin and Mason Hotel in Deadlumber, SD.

P.S from part 1: Lav told me later that she indeed had no dinner after arriving in Deadlumber town that night , and MG took a hungry Lav downstairs the next morning  at the M & M Hotel for breakfast and true to the town’s name, it was Dead…Closed for breakfast lunch and dinner on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But we did get free tea and coffee and Lav had about ten teeny tiny white half and half containers full.  Wonder what’s for lunch? FAST FORWARD TO THAT NIGHT

Lav’s Mysterious Story…(She writes in 3rd person. Spooky movie at the end.)

Lav was sleeping soundly that night in the plush bed with the extra soft silky blankets and plump cushy pillows at Cuz Blake’s boutique hotel in Deadlumber, SD when she thought she was in California. It was dark, it was quiet and it was a sweet night in the suite MG and Lav shared, when the bed began to quake – as in an earthquake – maybe jerk is a better word. Wait, she thought, I am in this luxurious bed and half asleep. I need my beauty sleep. Turning over, she went back to sleep. 

In the morning Lav looked in the mini fridge. What? The tacos from the night before were gone as were her half eaten bag of potato chips. Lav loves a mystery but this was too weird. Also, 3 cans of Berry flavored ginger ale sat on the kitchen counter. Whoa. Then  M G appeared from the staircase, half asleep. “I had rested leg syndrome last night. Sorry if I woke you up,”she said. “I was in such pain. My meds help but it took a while for them to kick in.” (Kick is right.)

“I was wondering why the bed was shaking and quaking, but glad you’re okay. Can we get ready and go eat downstairs?” Lav said.

As Lav got ready to finally go eat, she noticed her toothbrush was in a different place on the beautiful white marble bathroom sink counter and another strangely colored toothbrush had taken it’s place. Dang! This was a mysterious old hotel. Lav was intrigued. Who was this MG roomie and why did she disappear in the night? More importantly, where was she getting all the ginger ale? Nothing beats a good mystery.

WHAT? YOUR GOING TO STOP THERE? Talk about a cliffhanger. Does rested leg cause people to steal toothbrushes? Does it have anything to do with being 70ish? I guess we’ll have to hide and wait to hear the rest of the story.

We’re all kinds of scared

That 70ish Girl…Lav’s Story or Lavatory (haha)

Life at seventy is very close to the same as life at sixty-nine, but way different from life at sixty-eight. You will understand as we progress. I will be interacting with people of all ages and I think that will be an interesting experience for all of us.

I will have HUGE decisions to make during this decade. At what point, if ever, do I quite coloring my roots? It’s too expensive to have it done at the salon, so I do it my70ishself. After getting the dye all over the bathroom countertop, Kip thought it might be worth it to spend the money. He quickly changed his mind when I told him to budget an extra $200 a month. (I fudged a little.) I do okay, though sometimes I miss a spot, or several, and resemble Whistler’s mother with her gray hair peeking out from her cap.

I’m going to let Lav take over now. She has written a chronological essay of our trip to Deadwood and Murdo, South Dakota. It’s hilarious, but it all went down exactly as she depicts. First watch the extremely short film clip below followed by THE STORY.


I (Lav) thought nothing could compare to the parade in 2016  with the ride in a red convertible down Murdo’s Main Street, but our ride in the Jag semi-convertible was historic and FUN. Thanks to all those people for making it happen!

From the moment I landed in Rapid and you picked me up, (at first I didn’t recognize you, MG), and Billy said I looked like a hooker in my pink shoes, I knew it was going to be a memorable trip.

My Pink Shoes

Then I said how lucky he was to have such a great sister and Billy said, “Yeah, and she really likes you, although I can’t imagine why.” Boom! We were off to a wild ride in more ways than one.
Although I (Lav) was a bit worried after your wrong turn that night at the airport and you gave me the tour of the hangars and closed businesses which were all surrounded by prison-type fences- you and the tour guide drove me around several times in circles through parking lots and dark gates – it was worth it.

MG butts in…Lav also wrote what MG and Billy said…just sayin

When we finally got pointed in the right direction and on the way to Deadwood, Lav told us where she thought we should turn, how far we should go and in what direction. When we got her to Deadwood, she said, “Now what town is this?”

Then she said she was starving from only having chips and pretzels for dinner, and Billy said we would take her out for something to eat. He wanted to know if she brought other shoes.

Lav butts in…

Phsyco coffee for dinner

We went to a great casino where the kitchen was closed. Oh, well, it was all good chatting, gambling and having drinks with the tour group… except Gus, who was still back at the hotel

Breakfast the next morning? More on that later.

That 70ish Girl…Billy’s 70isher Birthday

I think it’s great that my first 70ish blog will be published on my brother, Billy’s birthday. I think a birthday poem is in order…

On this very special day, I would really like to say

A few words…I’m thinking.

My mind must be shrinking.

I can’t think of A thing.

Baby Billy and Mom

We share the same mother. You’re my only brother.

The words must be somewhere.

My brain just won’t go there.

I just sit and stare.

You’re staring

You must be my favorite, so take that and savor it.

My thoughts are forthcoming.

My brain is now humming.

My fingers are strumming.

If this didn’t have to rhyme, I’d be done in no time.

It’s no Hallmark card.

What makes it so hard

To show my regard?

At the 1991 Murdo all school reunion

There are some amenities for those in their 70’s.

If I think of one

I can call this thing done.

If it’s a contest, I’ve won.

All kidding aside. Thanks for being on my side.

You are one of a kind.

More sister’s love you won’t find.

Now I have peace of mind.

I think the world of you. I know this to be true.

This is your day.

Do I love you? I’ll say!

Have a wonderful Birthday.

You are the best brother that ever was. You have also been a great friend and have given me more of yourself than I can ever appreciate. Thank you for always being there for long talks about life’s challenges and the even longer talks we share while retelling our funny family stories.

Must have told a funny family story

I love you, Brubby

Happy birthday from Sissy

Billy, Gus and I at Horse Creek spreading Mom’s ashes.

Murdo Girl…She has been

It’s better to be a has been than to never have been at all. You get to feel the joy before you take the fall.

You see the smiling faces and laughter fills the air. And the feeling that you get…well, nothing can compare.

I guess nothing lasts forever. People come and go. I remember the wise words of Maya Angelou.

She said:

People won’t remember the things you said or did. They’ll think of how you made them feel instead.

Those full of self-importance miss important things. They don’t hear, see, or feel all the merriment life brings.

We should get out of our heads and listen to our hearts. They reveal a lot about life’s important parts.

Opinions of others are something I should mention. You will learn about yourself if you pay attention.

I might sound like a know it all, which I’m clearly not. I guess I must be one of those who talks a lot.

Though my advice is sage, take it with a grain of salt. If what I say is wrong, it’s really not my fault.

Do you catch my drift? It’s getting pretty deep. I tend to ramble on when I’m trying not to weep.

Murdo Girl has been and she enjoyed it all. She’ll most likely keep the crown, as it will ease the fall.

The seventies girl takes over to tell the tales of aging. I hope you’ll find her stories are equally engaging.

Maybe I’ll just wear hats like Queen E.

P.S. Lav is in her 70’s, too…stay tuned. Billy is also 70ish as are a host of other friends and relatives. I should have boucou followers.

For those of you not there yet? You can see how much fun getting older can be. And to all who are 80ish or 90ish or 100ish, you will be interviewed by Yram Sicnarf or Lav. I’m saying that in jest, of course. (Billy and I were comenting on how we can’t keep up with Gus who is 90ish.)

I sure wish someone would step up to the plate and become the new kid who shares stories about growing up in the wonderful and unique town of Murdo, SD…

Lav didn’t grow up all the way in Murdo…just part of the way
Is this for real???

Murdo Girl…Beware of tour guides with surcharges

Tour guides accompany groups of visitors to tourist attractions, whether on day trips or longer visits, and give them information and insights that help them make the most of the experience.

That is the simple definition of a tour guide, but on a recent trip to South Dakota, Valerie, Gus and I found that the duties of a tour guide can greatly vary and are sometimes embellished on the spot. Ours kept referring to the registration and orientation that had somehow taken place without our knowledge. In fact, everything about this arrangement is almost sure to come back to bite us. The word that we fear the most, and it was bandied about quite often, is Surcharge. The word can be both a noun and a verb and I’m pretty sure our tour guide is familiar with all that the ominous sounding word implies


an additional charge, tax, or cost.

an excessive sum or price charged.

an additional or excessive load or burden.


verb (used with object), sur·charged, sur·charg·ing.

to subject to an additional or extra charge, tax, cost, etc. (for payment).

to overcharge for goods.

to show an omission in (an account) of something that operates as a charge against the accounting party; to omit a credit toward (an account)

The first thing that seemed a little unusual was when our “tour guide” announced that we were going to split all of the expenses four ways, meaning all of his expenses were included in the total. We had no control over what he ate. He really likes steak and other expensive dishes. Valerie, Gus and I found ourselves consuming large amounts of food. Since we were splitting the bill four ways, we figured we were not going to allow the tour guide to benefit from the four-way split.

The biggest head-fake was when he announced that anything we got for free was free. There wouldn’t, in most cases, be a surcharge for free stuff. We were required to eat a big breakfast but lunch was on our own. Who wants to eat lunch when you know dinner is going to be humongous and breakfast was enough to keep most people going for days.

I don’t know about Gus and Valerie, but I am dreading the day the bill comes. He’s waiting for his credit card statement. Oh, I noticed he really likes to tip big. That is another form of surcharge.

The self-appointed tour guide waiting for us to order his hearty breakfast

I mentioned one morning that we hadn’t been on a single tour in three days. He loaded us up and dropped us off at a local museum. He said he would be back to pick us up in three hours or whenever he woke up from his nap…dinner would be early because he was going to miss lunch.

Hanging out with Wild Bill and Calamity Jane at the Adams Museum in Deadwood, SD

Downtown Deadwood (I love the camera Gus gave me and I have figured out how to change the date or remove that function.)

We were able to snag a few freebies, but he tried to tell me that he would take care of my registration for the All School Reunion which would amount to $135.00. I got out of that one when I found out that it included a $105.00 surcharge.

As far as tour guides are concerned, I would give him 2 out of 5 stars, but only because he’s my brother.

Murdo Girl…An evening in Deadwood and the REUNION

My brother, Billy, Cousin Lav (Valerie), Gus, and I spent an amazing couple of days in Murdo, South Dakota. I’m sure glad I went to school there because no one hosts an all school reunion like Murdo does.

First, I have to tell you about the fabulous dinner that my cousin Blake and his wife Melanie hosted at their Martin & Mason Hotel in Deadwood, SD. Attending, were Blake and Melanie, my cousin Sue Hayes and her husband, Ray, (Ray and Sue are great and I don’t get to see enough of them.) Blake and Melanie are all kinds of special and treated us like royalty. My son, Mason from Gillette, WY made the drive to spend some time with us. He especially enjoyed his visit with his Grandpa Gus. Here are some photos of the Hotel and the dinner which was held in the ballroom.

Blake and Mason in back, Valerie, Gus, Me, and Billy
From left…Billy, Valerie, Me, Ray and cousin Sue Hayes, Blake, Mason, and Gus
The Beautiful Martin and Mason Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota…Owned by our cousin Blake Haverberg and his wife, Melanie…Thanks so much for a wonderful stay.

The 2022 Murdo High School and Jones County High School 2022 All School Reunion

Should have said they even had horses there. Too late to change the slide. You’ll get it when you get there…

More photos of our trip to Murdo…

The class of 1962 gathering…Obie Brunskill and Billy Francis. I’m not sure of the names of the two ladies, but I believe the lady seated to Billy’s left is Obie’s wife.
Unit number 1 of The Range Country Lodging Motel owned by Greg and Carma Miller.
It began as the Chalet Motel years ago and was owned by my parents.
Range Country Lodging…photo by Lav…beautiful rooms and a comfy lobby where you can enjoy meeting with friends and breakfast in the morning.
We also spent some time at the LandMark Country Inn owned by our cousin, Mark Sanderson. It is a beautiful place and has all of the amenities.

Below are three photos taken inside the Long Barn which is the home of our cousin, Andrea Sheehan’s incredible doll collection. These photos don’t come close to doing it justice. It is truly the best display imaginable…

Thank you Murdo and thanks to all who made the 2022 Murdo All School Reunion pretty perfect. I wish I had more pictures of all the people I so enjoyed seeing and visiting with.

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.)


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.


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.

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.

I wonder who these kids are…


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.