Snippet Story #4 … crashing the party

This is a story about me – a 70-year old (at least that is what the numbers say – I say more like 50-year old) woman on oxygen crashing a party. Of course, I had a little assistance, but still …

About two weeks ago, my brother-in-law, Ron, had the Developmental Achievement Center (DAC) annual summer picnic. Ron attends the Mille Lacs County Area DAC from Monday through Friday and spends time there working on life skills, socializing (he is pretty good at socializing) and working in the sheltered workshop.

This year the picnic was held in Recreation Park (known as Rec Park) in Milaca. What a wonderful facility for a picnic! There are picnic shelters, walking paths, and a bandshell – all next to the Rum River.

You might be thinking what is the big deal with going to a picnic. Well, a very special young lady – our granddaughter Maddy (More on Maddy Here) provided the entertainment for the picnic. I take every opportunity I can to watch and listen to Maddy.


I arrived (with help from my husband) at the park early, set up my camper chair, just under a open – walled tent with chairs untderneath. Then I waited. I watched Maddy’s team setting up and crocheted. Soon the place was busy wth DAC clients and staff and the picnic began. I just sat in my chair, waiting for the music to begin and watched.


Granddaughter Maddy (Check maddybraunmusiccom  to hear her latest release – recorded in Nashville.)

It was worth the wait – not only for the music but to watch the clients having fun dancing. The clients had a great time – with some of the staff dancing along. They especially liked the faster songs and really got into the moves.


My brother-in–law Ron dancing with the help of DAC staff.





If you are ever feeling down, this is the place to be. You cannot stay down while watching the sheer joy on the faces of these folks. I will say, however, their bowling tournaments are even better. They may throw the ball backwards, or in the gutter, but they all cheer for one another.  There is no way you can leave one of these events in a bad mood!!

Thanks for reading! I hope you return!


The clients dancing and having a lot of fun.




Snippet Story #3 … It’s the raspberries

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The Umbehocker house – on the right – across the street from our house. The Rum River is behind (immediately east) of the house, The property now is senior housing.

We grew up in a small town (Princeton), on the back side of the southeast block that was one of the four blocks that comprised the core of ‘downtown.’ Across the street (to the east of our house) was the Rum River – but more importantly, the home of Grover and Katherine (aka Flora Mae) Umbehocker – our unofficial grandparents. We adopted them. We called Grover by his given name but we called Katherine ‘Hocker.’ I guess we thought that Katharine and Flora Mae was too hard to remember or too formal.

The Umbehockers were both wonderful people. Earlier in their lives, Grover owned an ice producing company on their home site.  (Years ago people used large blocks  of ice for cooling.) Katherine was a nurse. However, we spent most of our time with them when they were retired. Grover tended to the large flower and vegetable gardens and beds of raspberries and Hocker cooked, canned, baked and preserved – along with all the other household chores. I think she entertained a lot, also. And here is where my original love of raspberries comes in  …

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One of my jobs during the summer was to help the Umbehockers pick raspberries. I was paid to help – which was very nice – but the best part is that a day of picking usually meant having lunch with them. Their lunches were nothing like our summer lunches at home. We had a small meal – usually just vegetables or a sandwich. They had a full meal – pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh vegetables, fresh bread with butter and jams or jelly, pickles and olives, fresh homemade lemonade and some delicious pie, cake or pastry for dessert. I was in food heaven and couldn’t wait for raspberry season. For snacks during breaks from picking raspberries, we often got fresh fruit – something we rarely had at home.

girl in hat clb.jpgI have never done well when it’s hot or humid outside. Even with a straw hat or bonnet on my head, I would often pass out in the raspberry patch. Grover would bring me in their house and Hocker would bring me back to life with some of that wonderful lemonade. What a great job that was!! I didn’t even mind passing out in the patch!!

I still love raspberries and can easily eat a pint at a time. But now someone else has to pick them. And – eating a pint at a time is not good for older folks  — because it can lead to or exacerbate gout. So, now it is only a half pint at a time … 

And I still love lemonade – and most everything flavored with lemon.

As a side note, I have discovered that Grover was much more than a businessman. He was very active in civic affairs, having served in many capacities. I am now researching his life to write a short biography about him. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you return. 


Rather than relying on the internet for graphics, I am trying something new – creating my own. I haven’t drawn much in years so please bear with me. 

Snippet Story #2 … All about cars

Background story of this photo: This is the bus garage – (in the background) on the Odegard property. One year, we built a two-story snow fort in the area on the left. It might have been the year of this photo. The vehicle in the photo is a 1950 four-door Chevrolet that our Dad made into a custom El  Camino. It was painted turquoise and white – just like our kitchen (same paint). The back of the roof /cab for the El Camino was from a 1939 Chevrolet, welded in place and then a pickup box was added.

Snippet Story #2 – All About Cars

Growing up, our house was on the east side of one of two downtown blocks in Princeton. We saw all the action – because we were next to Odegard’s Car Dealership and bus garage.

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Another photo of the bus garage from our yard. 

One of our favorite things to do – keep in mind that we were easily entertained – was to go ‘uptown’ by taking the alley between the bus garage and the car dealership – through the middle of the block –  through Odegard’s and then to Main Street. On our way, we checked the trash barrels in the back of the dealership for discarded NADA (National Automotive Dealer’s Association) books and other car promotional materials. Then we walked between the Odegard building and a local bar called “The Torch ” to get to Main Street. There was about a five-foot opening. In the winter, I think we went though the dealership. Sometimes we went in the Torch – to talk to my Dad. The Torch was his winding down after work place.


But – why on earth would a girl want A NADA Guide?

A NADA book includes all of the models and values of every type of car or truck. We used the book to become familiar with the models and then used that knowledge to play our version of ‘baseball.

Every Friday night, we would sit outside and watch for race cars on their way to the Princeton Race Track. And we’d play baseball. Here is how the game worked: We each chose a model of car – Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, Plymouth, etc. One person was chosen to be the first up to ‘bat.’ We’d start watching for vehicles to pass by our yard or on Main Street. If I chose Chevrolet and I was up to bat, and the first car we saw was a Ford, my team – Team Chevrolet – would get an out. If the first car was a Chevrolet, then I got a hit. I think they were just singles and we had to see four Chevrolets (before getting three outs) to score a run; I don’t remember for sure. When Team Chevrolet had three outs, it went to the next person and their team. Once the game was over, we’d pick a different model for the next game. We also played using models of pick-ups.

We spent many hours playing this game and watching for race cars. I used to know every make and model – because i grew up mostly playing with my brothers – and I played whatever they played. And we had a lot of fun! Life was  much simpler then …

Thanks for reading! I hope you return. 

Note: The photos are from old slides that were unfortunately damaged by moisture so they did not scan or edit well. 



Why so many photos ???

As part of  my de-cluttering goals, I am going through my photo files on  my computer. It quickly became obvious that I \take too many photos. Some of the folders contain hundreds of photos – many of which are very similar. Why do I do that? I \guess it is because it is so easy with digital photos to keep snapping.


So, you would think it would be easy to eliminate most of the duplicates or near duplicates. Ahh — not so quick. I still look at each one and often edit them – just to make sure they aren’t a ‘keeper.’


Of course, then there is the question of what I am going to do with the photos that I keep. Many of them are of the grand kids so each family will be receiving a zip drive with their photos. However, there are lots of other photos that remain – old buildings, flowers, scenery, etc. What do I do with them? I can’t just eliminate them – because, they are just like my yarn for knitting and crocheting. You can never have too much yarn. And, evidently, you can never have too many pictures. I just have io think of something to do with those photos. I’ve included a few of my favorites in this blog. There are hundreds more …




Now, back to editing photos …

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return!!

Snippet stories …

Snippet …  a small piece or brief extract.

From time to time, I will be sharing snippets of my life through this blog. The idea came to me while I was creating a list of items that I want to remember and include in a self-autobiography booklet. At first, I didn’t think there would be much on that list. However, as I thought of events and people, I started remembering more and more. As a result, it will take a long time to create the booklet. In the mean time, however, I will occasionally share a ‘snippet story.’

Snippet #1:  The Circus and Hula Hoops

I recently went to a locally presented circus with my lady friends and great-granddaughter. Most of the acts were trapeze, juggling and the like. The only animal acts were two gorgeous elephants and a few graceful horses. But what caught my attention was the woman who performed with hoops. She started with a few and ended up with many. Spectacular!



As she started to twirl the hoops around her slim body, I immediately went back to my teenage years. My favorite physical activity at that time was my hula hoops. I would twirl them around my arms,  up and down my body –  as many as three at a time. Three not many like the circus performer.  My hula hoops were plastic; the circus performer’s were metal. How I loved my hula hoops!! I would spend hours, outside on the back sidewalk – hopefully where no one was watching – and twirl away. Now I couldn’t keep one of them around my waist for even a few seconds!! Of course, my waist is not the same as it was then.

What was your favorite thing to do when you were a teenager?


Thanks for reading!! I hope you will return. 


Hang in there, folks …

Hang in there, folks! I am not able to publish any blogs for a while. My internet service is acting up – so much so that we are changing companies. I will be back to posting as soon as I can. And I will share this ordeal with you.

Thanks for your patience.

The Goose Call Escapade …

Recently we were sitting the deck, talking about my recent blog about my mother-in-laws autobiography booklet – (The Book of Edna … an idea for you). Her stories got us talking about our stories and remembering things we had long forgot. Silly and fun stories. We were also talking about Memorial Day and remembering family and friends who have passed. When you combine the two – silly and fun – and people who have passed – we remembered the goose call escapade.

Several years ago we went to the sprint car races in Knoxville, Iowa, with another couple who are long-time friends, Ron and Mary. Ron – at that time – was a local law enforcement officer; he also was a character. You could immediately tell by his sparkling green eyes.

The trip to Knoxville is a long drive from our homes in Princeton – especially with 4 people in the cab of a 1972 Chevrolet pickup. Even if you are friends. As side note – the pickup was affectionately called “Killer Truck” because it had a 427 chevy, big block engine in it.

For some reason, Ron decided to take out his goose call. (I am not sure why he had it with him.) Then he would randomly blow the call when we saw someone outside in their yard or walking on the street. Some people jumped; some people waved; and some others laughed. And we laughed a little.

Then we went by a woman who was bent over, working in her garden. (You know – bent over at the waist but standing.) Ron quickly blew the goose call. She did not wave. But she did jump. Actually, she tipped over in the garden. And we laughed – a lot harder than before. (She did get right up, but still … ) Now we wonder if she was the impetus for the garden signs that show the woman bent over.

Later, as we were driving in Mason City, Iowa, we had a motorcycle in front of us. Ron decided to blow the goose call again when we came to a stop. The  motorcycle in front of us tipped over !!!! but in slow motion. Then we really laughed. In fact, the motorcyclist laughed, too, once he had his cycle back up.  And we laughed some more. But then we decided we better quit blowing that goose call.

It used to be much easier to entertain ourselves.

Take a minute and think about what you have done in your life. I think you will be surprised how many good stories you have to tell.

Thanks for reading!! I hope you return.

Note: The picture in this blog shows up when you do a google search. I wasn’t able to trace where it came from.