Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dorothy Nelson, oldest sister of my mother, Deloris Pickens, passes away at age 98.

Here is an article done on Dorothy Nelson, soon after her 98th birthday.  She passed away this week.  Lovely woman.

Dorothy Nelson doing great at 98, article by the New Richland Star

Wednesday, 27 July 2011 11:41

98 AND COUNTING — Dorothy Nelson of Ellendale celebrated her 98th birthday July 1st. She still lives alone in her house, with very little help, and can recollect many moments in Ellendale history. (Star Eagle photo by Kathy Paulsen)

Staff Writer
"Dear Lord, So far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or self indulgent. I have not whined, complained, cried or eaten any chocolate. I have charged no money on my credit card, but I am getting out of bed in a minute. I think that I will really need your help then."

So sayeth the label on Dorothy Nelson’s refrigerator.

Nelson turned 98 years old on July 1st, another year for others to be blessed by this sharp, witty little woman. She is a great woman, and deeply loved by many.

The oldest child of seven children in the family of Lafayette and Irene Cress, Dorothy was born in 1913. Her sister, Daisy, was born in 1918. Lawrence, a brother, was born in 1921. Another brother, Donald, was born in 1922, and later died in World War II. The family tree also includes an infant brother, who is buried in Geneva; and a sister, Deloris, born in 1927, and living in Oklahoma. Another brother, Richard, was born in 1935 and killed in a car accident in 1957. Dorothy and Deloris are the only two living.

Dorothy was just a baby when she and her family moved to Minnesota. Her father was a farmer. The day he sold $600 worth of hogs, she entered the world. Ninety-eight years ago, $600 worth of hogs was a lot and a great deal of money.

The Cress family, of Danish decent, moved to the Lerdahl area in Southern Minnesota, when she was less than 2 years old. It was a big change for Dorothy and her family. The family moved two miles west of Geneva in 1918.

Back in that day, high school girls usually boarded with townspeople because of transportation issues. So, Dorothy lived with Andrew Muri. Dorothy later left high school when she was only a junior, as she had an ill mother who needed care.

She also needed to care for her brothers and sisters. It was hard for her to leave school, but that was expected back then; people had to accept the responsibility.

Dorothy later met and married Iver Larson. They were the parents of three children, Warren Larson, who lived in Michigan and is no longer with us; Mary Sullivan of Emmons, MN and Roger Larson of rural Ellendale. She is also a grandmother of 11 and great grandmother of 23.

Dorothy later married Henry Nelson after Iver passed away. In 1973, she moved into town from the farm and has lived in the little house on the corner north of Lerberg’s in Ellendale ever since. Her son, Roger, and his wife, Joyce, live on the family farm.

When Lerberg’s Foods delivered her groceries on Friday, July 1st, there was also a big, bright birthday card, signed by many friends, neighbors and relatives, included in the grocery bag. Many more cards were sent her way that week as well, from many corners of the world.

She also enjoyed birthday phone calls and messages, including a phone call from her son Warren’s wife, Thelma, who lives in St. Augustine, Florida. Dorothy remarked that Thelma has a sweet little white dog, Snickers. Dorothy also said she received a birthday card and snapshots from her grandson, Matthew.

We can't forget a beautiful bouquet of flowers, completed with a nest of robin eggs, from her grandson Brad Larson.

Dorothy has always loved flowers and enjoyed working in her gardens. Last fall, she received a helpful hand from the Healthy Seniors group. The group came and cleaned Dorothy’s flower gardens before the snow flew. Interestingly enough, Dorothy often dreams of working in her garden and waking up feeling as tired as if she had worked all night.

Dorothy lives alone with very little extra help, and does so very well. She experiences some difficulty with her eyes, which limits her from doing some things she loves to do, like reading books. Her memory is as sharp as a tack.

She remembers an incident when her family lived on the Doc Ertel farm, near Ellendale. One of their sheep had fallen in the water tank. With no one home, she had to call her Grandpa Richard (Hanson) to come and get the wet, soaked beast out of the water tank. She felt so sorry to have to ask for help, but getting the sheep out of the water tank was more than she could do alone.

Another recollection was of a school picnic when her niece, the teacher, marveled at her home-baked beans, cooked of course in a cast iron Dutch oven.

Held in the old Lutheran church in Ellendale, the church ladies often had lutefisk and lefse suppers. The ladies had to get cream cans of hot water from the creamery to wash the dishes, as they didn't have a water heater.

Dorothy received cards from all over the country, including one from a Marine grandson who lives near Troy, New York; a niece, who lives near Nederland, Texas; and a grand niece who is in the Peace Corps in Mongolia, to name a few.

Her grandson, Brad, the one who sent her the flowers for her birthday, teaches in Chicago. She was proud to say he loaded a school bus with volunteers recently en route to Alabama to help with the crisis there.

Neighbors and businesses up and down Main Street in Ellendale brought memories and giggles to Dorothy. She recalls "Speed" Nelson’s grocery store on the southeast corner of Ellendale, which was later moved to the northwest corner of town. Then there was Norris Thompson, who had a shop on Main Street. He once sold Dorothy a tractor.

Cecil Campbell ran the Ellendale Eagle; Anderson, Butcher Brothers, had the meat market; Miller brothers ran the hardware store, and also worked on wells, windmills and sold appliances. Little Joe Margaheck, had a beer joint; and Sander Jellum, a barber shop. There was also Nelson Meland’s hardware store; Olson Implement; Sande’s Bank and Aronson’s Garage.

George Jorgensen, along with his wife and two girls, had a cafe; Art Thorsen had a barber shop and beauty salon, and Johana Jensen and her husband ran a restaurant. Tillie Lerum sold hamburgers for a nickel and had boarders in the old hotel. Dorothy also mentioned that Ellendale used to have outdoor free shows.

"Gus Jacobson Gas Station,” which is on the corner across the street from the old creamery, now Al's Body Shop in Ellendale, was the first gas station in town. She commented that it might not have been built by Jacobson but by Harvey Mohs.

A highlight of Dorothy’s life — shortly after Helen and Warren Sawyer built their new home — was when Helen and her daughter, Julie, invited many of the older ladies in town to Helen’s home for lunch. The guest list was as follows: Nina Olson, Helen "Speed" Nelson, Edythe Ellingson, Mrs. Joyce Aronson, and Louella Thompson.

Dorothy then commented that she enjoys reading the Whatever Comes To Mind column in the Star Eagle. It gets her mind thinking. When asked how she stayed so smart, she remarked, "I'm always thinking, even when I'm sleeping. You'd be surprised what I know. I play mind games. I'll start with the beginning of the alphabet and name cities or people etc., that go with the letter A and work my way to the end. I think about all the things we did when we were young; my, how the times have changed over the years. Oh, if television had such ‘reality’ shows now."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Filled Ice Box Cookies - recipe for a wood/coal burning stove.

So here is the recipe for the Date Swirl Cookies, as I came to know them as a child growing up.  My mother, Deloris Pickens used this recipe from her sister Mrs. Daisy Wilker, which was passed down to her, from their mother, Irene Cress.

It was known as Filled Ice Box Cookies

Filled Ice Box Cookies

1 C. butter
1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
4 C. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Roll 1/2 " thick (like jelly rolls) and fill with following mixture.  Chill, slice and bake 12 minutes in hot oven

1 lb dates or raisins
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
1 C. finely chopped nuts
Cool in double boiler until a thick paste.  Cool and spread.

Now to put this into modern terms, probably be best if one chills the dough, like one would for sugar cookies, before putting the date paste and rolling.  Also one could use just a pan, instead of a double boiler, in order to cook down the dates/raisins.  Also, this was originally a recipe for a wood/coal burning stove.  Preheat the modern oven for 375 degrees.  Watch and bake for 12 minutes.  Take a look at 12 minutes to see if golden brown, if not, contnue to bake at 1 1/2 minutes to 2 minute intervals.  Can be variable upon your cookie sheet and oven.

Now this is a tasty old fashioned danish cookie recipe.  Enjoy!   Gail Pickens-Barger

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas in my childhood in the 1930's

Christmas in my childhood in the 1930’s

    I will try and remember some of the things that we did at Christmas when I was a child.  The main thing I remember is that my parents told us that if we not good that Santa would not come to visit us.  That kept a lot of commotion from popping up as the Holiday Season drew near.

    The first Christmas gift that I remember was a little Red chair that Santa had left in an upstairs closet for me.  I always wondered how he knew to put it in that closet.  The next gift that I remember was that I received a doll for every Christmas.  Each year the doll that I received was larger.  I had 5 dolls ranging from a very small doll to a large doll and I played with the 5 dolls all at the same time as I got a little older.

    I remember that my brother Don bought me a little tin tea set and I kept that until I was about 25 years old and then I let my son Hugh play with it and it was lost.  I even had the box until I was that old.  Another gift that I really enjoyed was a little cast iron Model T Ford.  I liked that toy car .  We also received marbles and we played marbles on a crocheted rug. 

    Now some of the traditions that we celebrated at our house.  We usually went to the Christmas program at the Methodist church in Geneva and I remember one year that we went to church in the sleigh which was pulled by the horses.  It was 3 miles to Geneva from our house and the roads must have been blocked with snow and we were unable to go by car.  Think we heated rocks to keep us warm and wrapped up in blankets for the ride into town.

    My Mother always made her famous date filled cookies at Christmas time and I have continued to do that every year also.  The receipt was brought from Denmark by her Mother and they are very delicious cookies .  We usually had goose or duck for our Christmas dinner and Mother made oyster stuffing or her stuffing made with bread, raisins, apples, onions and an egg.  I still make the dressing with the apples  and so forth.  We had mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberries and probably  creamed peas and carrots.  Maybe jello with whipped cream .   

    As there were 6 of us children in the family we drew names after we were a little older and usually had only one gift.  We did have a Christmas tree and decorations.

    We always had a Christmas program in the country schools where I grew up.  The children put on plays, we sang Christmas carols and one year I learned how to clog and we danced for the parents. Two children were assigned to draw the curtains and we were out in the hall until our turn came to recite in the plays or sing.  Of course all the parents came and I can’t remember if we had refreshments or not but I think that we did.

    I can remember being in a church program in Ellendale after we had moved to the farm south of Hope.  I would have been about 9 years old at that time.  I can remember my Mother saying that I had the lightest blonde hair of any child in the program. 

    The folks used to send out a lot of Christmas cards and the postage on the cards was one and one half cents.  They heard from all the cousins and brothers and sisters in Iowa and their nieces and nephews.  It was a time when families kept in contact with each other before the day of long distance telephones.

    There was not much money to be spent on gifts but we all had a good time anyway.  Remember that this was in the Great Depression and money was very limited.  This is a little about what I remember in the 1930’s.