Murdo Girl…The garbage house

Rerun…Good memories of fun times when I was a kid in Murdo


Look what I found…

1-garbage house

I made a playhouse where the Whitakers keep their garbage. They have a little building behind their house, which is across the street from us. I’ve played there a bunch of times already. It smells pretty bad in there; especially on hot days. I don’t spend much time inside of it anyway, because I go and visit my mom across the street. The first time I went to visit, I didn’t know what my name was. Mom said, “Well hello Mrs. Man. How are you today?” Right then I figured out Mrs. Man was a  good name. Mom and I had a pretty nice little visit, and then I went back to the Whitaker’s garbage house and tried to straighten things up a little.

I didn’t have anything to sit on in the garbage house, so I went back over to Mom’s and knocked on the door.

She said, “Who is it?” I said, “It’s Mrs. Man. I came to see if you have any little kid chairs that I can use.”

She said, “There are two little kid’s folding chairs in my little girl’s bedroom. You can use them, but bring them back when you’re finished or Mr. Whitaker might burn them with his trash.” So that’s what I’ve been doing every day that I’m Mrs. Man.

1-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 009I named her Mrs. Man

Today, I asked Mom if she would like to come over to my house for coffee? She told me no! I was surprised that she said no like that. Mom loves to go have coffee with just about anybody. “Why don’t you want to come over for coffee,” I asked? “Well,” she said, “Because I don’t like rats, and where there’s garbage, there’s always rats.” I said, “Oh.”  I thought about it for awhile, then I asked Mom if she would come with me to bring those chairs back that I had borrowed. I decided, since it was so hot, I wanted to open up a lemonade stand in front of OUR house.

Guess who my first customer was?  It was Gail Whitaker. I wanted to visit with her since she bought my lemonade so I said, “Gail, do those rats that live in your garbage filled shed ever come into your house?” Gail told me she didn’t know about the shed, but she had never seen any rats or mice in her house.

Gail Whitaker at my lemonade stand

I had to drink a lot of my lemonade because it was so hot outside. About the time I ran out, Mom said to close up because we were going to see Grandma Sanderson.

When we got to Grandma’s, I got some horehound candy to suck on and went out in the backyard. From there, I could see the little pond. Some of my cousins and a few other kids were playing in the water. I was really glad because the pond is fun and wading in it would make me cooler. We catch crawdads in the pond and cut off their heads and their legs and pretend to eat them. It takes a long time to get all the parts cut off just right. Suzanne Bork is the best at it.

Some of the older cousins built a raft kind of like Tom Sawyer’s. You can stand up on it and use a big stick to shove off. If there are two of us, we can use paddles, but the water isn’t deep enough to swim in. The bottom is slimy mud and when I walk in it, I can squish it between my toes. If we start early and have a lot of time, we can rub the mud all over our bodies and play like we’re in quicksand or use it to camouflage ourselves when we play like we’re hiding from the enemy.

There are all kinds of cattails and tall reeds in the pond. We can hide our raft in them when we’re playing like we’re pirates.

This isn’t the pond…This is the Dam east of Murdo where Pink Sandy taught us all how to swim.

I ‘m always afraid that I will get into some quicksand and it will suck me up before Lassie can get help, or someone with a rope and a horse can get there to pull me out.

I can always figure out things to do with just myself, but I like playing with all the kids south of 16 the best. Either way, there’s always someone or something imaginary around.

3feb7c7e397f3e8770588f87ddb3e513I like to dress in camo too and hide in Hawaii

******************************Years later, my dad came back from California to visit me. I picked him up at the airport in Rapid City. On the way back to Murdo, he was asking me about different people he knew. He asked how our old neighbor Ruben Whitaker was doing. I said that Ruben had died a while back. Dad seemed pretty sad about the news.

I just said, “My daughter is Mrs. Man”

The next day, he went to the Pioneer Auto Museum. When he came home, he said, “I went to see the Auto Museum today, and imagine my surprise when I ran into Ruben Whitaker. He works at the museum. I guess the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated.” Almost every time I talked to Dad after that, he asked me how old Ruben Whitaker was doing.

I hired Ruben..I don’t know Mrs. Man


Grandpa Sanderson


  1. SANJUAN831July 11, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Makes me happy reading these great stories again. Beautiful pictures, especially of our one-of -a -kind Grandpa Sanderson.

    Liked by 1 person

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Murdo Girl…Just give me a sign

Murdo Girl

 I’m missing Murdo. I’ve been trying to think of someone else Yram could interview there. She’s been complaining because she thinks you all see her in a bad light because she kind of botched the interviews with Mr. Thune, Coach Applebee (twice), Mrs. Peters, and Mr. Palmer. Geez, that’s a lot of interviews to mess up. I think she should have one more chance to redeem herself, but as far as the bad light goes..take your gifts where you can get ’em Yram. Bad lights can be a good thing.


None of us knew it at the time, but Yram was actually at the all school reunion. She was in one of her disguises, but we should have known it was her when she talked, because of her nasal voice. Crack up reporters should not have a nasal voice. I’ve got to hand it to her though, she’s got…

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Murdo Girl…Starting the new year

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I never do because I’m not capable of making significant changes to my chaotic life. I realized that I’m the kind of person who is most comfortable in a crisis. My mother told me if I had a momentary lapse in crises, I created one. Well, I have started the year in over my head, so I should be very comfortable.

I know it would help me a lot to make lists, but I can never find my list which stresses me out! I have to change passwords countless times because I don’t have the patience to write them down and I’m sure I will remember them, but I don’t. I’m selling a really great skincare product (Rodan + Fields). I have a few good ideas that should be fun, so I can do follow up on some of those.

Yes…I will do some things in between my colonoscopy, trip to the dentist, (I need X-rays this time), and to the dermatologist to have a spot on my forehead removed. I also need a mammogram. I quit the bone density tests, but my doctor scheduled me for an appointment with a cardiologist because my EKG looked funny. “God, you made too many doctors.”

Forget all of that, I’m going to have some fun, and Lav will be a big part of the upcoming events. I just have to wait to be invited to them…

meanwhile…I went shopping for a new Kitty Reynolds like dress. Kitty is the lady who made the formal I wore when I was in my very first parade 59 years ago. I wore my first tinfoil crown, too, and rode in a horse-pulled red wagon. We went up and down all the streets in Murdo that were south of highway 16.

I found this dress today…

It’s lopsided because the elastic is all stretched out in that one sleeve, plus it was too small. Knowing I had $6.50 invested in the thing, I ripped one tucking seam out. I might have to rip the one out on the other side, too. (It would have been $8.00 without the senior discount.) I guess it’s good I have a little extra time.

It’ll look fine on television. I’ll just wear one high-heel, or I could walk with a limp.

I feel kind of bad. Kitty would not be proud of this dress.

Times have changed, Kitty. It’s a throw-away world now. It’ll be fine and we’ll have fun. I wonder how many people will be there for the award show? I know you’ll all come.

Murdo Girl…Music to my ears

Happy New Year! I want you to know how much I appreciate all who read my blog. I have been busy and haven’t been a faithful blogger, but I sure have enjoyed Gus’ visit. We’ve been trying to see everyone and do everything. We’ve done a pretty good job of it, too, with all the Christmas, birthday and New Year’s celebrations.

We’re on our way to the airport, so I’ll be shedding a few tears in a bit when I have to say goodbye. Gus is going back to sunny California.

(Yesterday’s birthday celebration. Granddaughter, Skyler was born on my birthday. The baby is Ryan Constance.)

Kip and daughter, Heidi…

Ron Spahlinger did a fabulous job with the entertainment. He has incredible musical talent…and he was very kind to me.

Below is Kip visiting with James. He didn’t like the fish puffs either. The cupcakes were delish!

Life has it’s ups and downs, right? There are good days and bad days, right? We just have to go hour by hour, minute by minute and deal with whatever happens.

I must enjoy the good things in this world, and not focus on myself. You can’t really tell it here, but my hose looked like support hose for a nurse. I thought I was getting sheer, sparkly, hose. I didn’t notice how white they were until I saw a train dance picture.

Anyway…that’s my plan. This year is not going to be all about me. I accidentally stopped the recording below. The second part is just a few seconds.

Murdo Girl…Christmas past with Gus

I’ve spent the last couple of afternoons getting the motor home ready so Gus will have a comfortable place to stay while he visits us for Christmas. Since we live in a tiny home, we have no room for guests, so Kip hooked the RV up to electricity and filled the tanks with water. It’s conveniently parked in the driveway. As I worked, I started thinking of some of the past Christmases we have spent together.

Many times, Mom and Gus flew or drove from California to spend time with us wherever we happened to live at the time. We moved from Denver to Texas in February of 1987. The Christmas of 1986 was unbelievable…No! I mean it really was unbelievable.


Mom and me cooking In our Denver Kitchen, Christmas of 1986.

I will start with December 23rd of that year. Heidi and her husband were blessed with a baby boy. That baby boy, whose name is Mike, will turn 32 tomorrow. He and his wife, Amber just remodeled their home, and they are expecting their second baby in April.

Anyway, Heidi, Heather, Mason, Craig, Heidi and Heather’s Mom, Dianne, Kip’s Mom and step-father, Hank, his sister, Karlyce, and my mom and Gus were all there for Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner. We told the kids Christmas night that we were moving to Texas and that we were leaving the next day to look for a house. Grandma Retta and Grandpa Gus were going to stay with them. Here are a few things that happened beyond the birth of the baby and a house full of family.

Craig had asked Santa Claus for a gerbil that year. We told Gus that we had to hide the cage and gerbil for two weeks, changing it to different places so Craig wouldn’t find it. Santa would not have liked that. Christmas morning after the excitement of seeing what Santa had brought everyone died down a bit, Gus looked at the gerbil, by then named Raider, and said, “I can’t believe you kept that thing in the closet for two weeks.”

There was silence in the room. Craig acted like he didn’t hear Grandpa. He believed in Santa for a couple of more years. Like his mother, he milked it for as long as he could.

Christmas night, Mason, who was a 7th grader, and Craig who was in 3rd grade, were extremely upset when we told them we were moving again. I opened my big mouth and said, “Would you feel better if we found a house with a pool?” They cheered up so fast we just had to keep that promise. We got the house with a pool, but unfortunately, it was three months before it warmed up enough for them to swim.

The day after Christmas, after Kip and I left for the airport, Mom went into the kitchen and pulled the considerable amount of leftover turkey out of the fridge to make sandwiches for everyone. She left the room for a couple of minutes, and when she came back, our Airdale, Calamity Jane, had pulled the container off the counter and eaten every bit of the leftover turkey. Calamity was fast!

Mom with Calamity Jane

All the things that happened between Christmas and that actual move were another story, but at last, the house was packed up, and Kip and I each drove a car and followed each other to Texas. Calamity was sick, and we had to keep her separated from the gerbil because she wanted to bite it’s tail off when it would stick out of the cage. We would stop to let Calamity out and say things like, “Please, Please, it’s your turn to have Craig ride with you.” He talked none stop…it was a question a minute. Mason was much more fun to have as a co-passenger and helped take Calamity for short little walks in the cold.

When we got to Texas, we stayed in the Holiday Inn for two weeks while we waited for our house to get ready, I took the boys to school and picked them up each day. They kind of enjoyed swimming in their indoor pool and sometimes they got to order room service.

I’m sure while Gus is here, we’ll reminisce about that Christmas and the many others we have spent together. He spends Christmas with Billy and his family a lot, as well, and is usually at their house on Thanksgiving.


Chilling with Dollie a couple of years ago

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and look forward to an amazing new year!!


Santa Gus at Heidi and Brad’s (kids are Hudson and Seamus)

Murdo Girl…Twas the night before Christmas??

Rerun from back when the Brick House gang ruled over Murdo from the old High School building.

Murdo Girl

2-IMG_0982Twas the night before Christmas and all through Brick House

There was only one stirring in the cold, old school house

Outside the snow was piled belly- high to a mule

And the heat wasn’t working cause they ran out of fuel

Lav put on her coat and without even a peep

Let herself out to go hot-wire the Jeep.

She would go and get firewood. A fire should help some

Though she didn’t know it, her idea was real dumb

She put pedal to metal like you would in a race

Too bad in the Brick House there is no fireplace

“We ALL have pneumonia!” The Town Crier cried

“Donate some fuel or we’ll die!” TC lied

Even though her idea was surely no winner

You can hate the sin, but still love the sinner

MG, at the truck stop warming up in the shower

knew the Brick House…

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Murdo Girl…Can you say malipunate?

How about a Pearl story rerun?  ( A Christmas story as told by Ellie/Essie who is a worse speller than MG, but also likes to use big words.)

I’m on my way to Pearl’s to pick up Pearl the dog and go to work. It’s getting close to Christmas and the Nest has been really busy. Our tree is so pretty, I think we’re getting more tire kickers because the news of our beautiful Christmas tree is getting out. The Murdo Coyote even came and took a picture of it and put it on the front page of the paper. Pearl wore her flashiest red outfit so she would stand out from the green and gold of the tree.

It was only supposed to be Pearl and Pearl the dog in the tree picture because Grace and I weren’t dressed right, but we figured out a way. We didn’t want Pearl to have an empty nest.

wp-1513734882103.jpgI’ve been trying real hard not to think about all the things I want for Christmas. Mom says when I think about it, I set myself up for disappointment. I try to save the money I earn at the Nest, but Mom usually has to borrow it for things like food or gas for our old broken down car. It makes the Jeep look like a Cadillac.

We’re not there yet, but we almost are.


“Hi Grace, Hi Pearl, We’re here are you?”

“We’re here, Essie…Grace and I are making plans for a Christmas party here at the Nest. Grace is all atwitter and she hasn’t written down one word on our list of things to do. Maybe you can help us.”


“Well, the instructions you gave me make it kind of hard, Pearl.” Grace had a real twitterpated look on her face. “You said you didn’t want to make any food or spend any money. What do you want us to do? Hand them a glass of water and say, enjoy yourself… we have plenty more where that came from?”

“Psha,” Pearl said. “You haven’t seen a Pearl party before. I have my ways. and I’m going to start at the Super Value Store.”

“Jeez, Pearl,” I said. “Haven’t you milked that tree incident for enough? Now you’re going to ask them for free food?”

“I know,” Pearl was frowning. “When I have an altercation with someone who is not quite as artful as I am, I usually cut them some slack, but for some reason I got carried away with the tree guy and his boss, which is why I’m going to start with them. Come on, Essie. We’ll go talk to him right now. Hopefully they won’t see us coming and hide from us again.”

I was really not wanting to go to Super Value with Pearl, but part of me wanted to see her in action, so we headed down Courthouse Hill and across Hwy 16 and parked the Jeep right in front of the Frosty Freeze. Too bad it’s not open in the winter. I sure would like a strawberry malt right now.

Anyway, you should have seen the checker’s face when we walked in.

“Well hello,” Pearl said in her sweetest voice. I don’t believe I know you. We live above Sanderson’s Store so it’s more convenient to shop there, but now that I have seen your store and met some of the employees, I believe I will try shopping here on occasion. Is your boss in? Never mind, I see him coming this way.”

Pearl sashayed on over to Mr. Boss. She looked like something else in her red Christmas tree outfit. I know that boss wanted to snicker, but I feverently hoped he wouldn’t.


“Hello my good man,” Pearl was beaming as she stuck her hand out to Mr. Super Value. “I wanted to come and explain why I, what some people might call, over-reacted, when the tree I purchased here cratered because it had a trunk as crooked as a slithering snake.”

‘Hmm, that’s an apology?” I whispered to myself. Pearl went on to tell Mr. Super Value man that she was inviting the whole town to Pearl’s Busy Nest to see the stunning new Christmas tree she got at the Super Value Store.

Pearl went on with her explanation.

“I won’t say anything about you buying all the decorations, because that would open up a can of worms, and you know how people talk. Anyway, all is forgiven, and to prove it, I have picked your Super Value Store to provide all of the food and drinks for the party. Now, here’s a list of everything we will need. Do you have a vehicle to haul it all in? If not we can use the Jeep if the tree guy is available to load and unload for us.”

I couldn’t believe it. The Super Value boss turned red and then green just like Christmas. I know he was sweating, and shaking a little too, but he said he really appreciated being picked by Pearl.

“It’s the least I could do,” Pearl said. “Come on Essie…we must go by the church. We need to tell the Preacher we are sending someone over to pick up some tables and chairs, and some white tablecloths. Next we’ll stop at the meat locker and tell them to make room for our pearashibles until the day of the party. Then all we have to do is stop at the Murdo Coyote and tell them we will pick up the invitations tomorrow. What do you think we should say on the invites?”

Pearl was in her heelhouse. This is what she was born to do….malipunate.

The whole town was there! Pearl was in all her glory! She sold every last bottle of her Elixer fixer.