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."

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