My Story (as written October 2004 by Thelma Sjolander)

I was born in September 6, 1916 in a medium sized house in Tamareck Township, Wisconsin.† The attending doctorís name was Dr. Palmer.† I think I heard somewhere that I weighed 10 pounds.† I was the second child of Alex and Julia (Mathison) Thompson.† Alvina was the first child.† She was one year older than me.† My dad was a large man (6í 4Ē); not very heavy but strong.† He had two hired men as we farmed 450 acres.

My mother came to the home to help with the grandparents.† My grandma (mother) lived in a small home in Ettrick.† There were three children in the Mathison family: Julia, Agnes, Theodor.† She and my mother had a small candy store.† She said she ate up the profits in maplenut chocolate candies.

My mother told of Dadís mother and some of her friends who sat in the parlor and smoked corncob pipes.† This parlor had big hanging pictures with family photos.† Sure wish I knew where those pictures are.

I remember Christmas was celebrated for about a week.† The valley composed of four Thompson families.† They were all cousins and each took a turn to have the group there on Christmas and on New Years.

There was a lot of cooking and baking done for Christmas.† We butchered a cow and two hogs and had to process all that as there was no refrigeration.† We smoked hams, canned meatballs, put pork in rendered fat and froze some and sawed off for meals.† We made head cheese which was put in brine and then made blood sausage which was baked with flour and rice and fried.† We pickled the heart and tongue and pigís feet.

Then we baked lefse, sandbakkels, krumkaake, flatbread, regular bread.† We had a cold back room in which we kept food.

For Christmas, we got a little stocking with an orange, apple and nuts, and usually only one small toy.† I had a neighbor that made me a cute doll bed and someone made a mattress for it and pillows.† We celebrated on Christmas morning as us younger ones believed in Santa Claus for quite some time.

There was a group of younger people who dressed up and went around to family barns and played harmonicas and horns and sang.† It was called Christmas fooling, or Julebukking.† We gave them a treat like at Halloween.

We would go to church in a surrey buggy.† Mother put a black veil over our faces to keep out the sun.† We were very afraid of our Pastor as he was very stern; we didnít dare move during church service. He wore a white stiff collar and long black robe.† He got so moved by his preaching that he was shouting.

In the winter we went to a school program with a team of sleighs.† This was three miles and we had to get bundled up really good.† I only went to first and second grade at this small one-room school.† There were double seats, outdoor toilets.† We took our lunch in a small syrup pail which we sat down close to a big furnace.† The teacher had to come early each day to make a fire and heat up the schoolroom.† My sister Alvina got pneumonia and missed so much school that she was then in the same grade as me for the rest of the school time.

Mother hired a lady twice a year to come and stay and sew for two weeks.† We each got two dresses.† I donít remember if she sewed for mother or not.† Mother had a new Singer sewing machine but never sewed.

There was a group of ladies that came at certain times and they made quilts.† They usually had more wool in the center of the quilt and tied it with yarn.† It was quite cold in the bedrooms so needed lots of covers.† We had a wood burning cooking stove and a furnace.† In the winter men would cut down trees in the woods and haul in chunks of wood and split up for the stove.

We had a barn burn from lightning.† The hired man and Dad went out barefooted to save calves as the cows and horses were outside for the night.† The horses went to the woods and didnít return for three days when in need of water.† We had to rebuild at once to have finished before winter.† They hauled a lot of rocks from the land to use for foundation.

We raised chickens.† It was Motherís job to take care of them.† She sent to a† catalog company to order small chicks and they came by mail.† We had to use a big heater to keep them warm until they got some feathers.† We used chickens to eat often.† We took eggs to the grocery store and they mostly paid for the groceries.† We didnít have to buy many groceries as we raised meat, got flour at the mill, butter at the creamery, and got cream and milk from the cows.† We raised enough potatoes for all winter, made sauerkraut out of cabbage, canned pickles, peaches, pears, apples, and made jams and jellies.

We raised sorghum cane.† This we took to the sorghum mill and they cooked it all day and we took it home in five gallon jugs and used for baking and pancakes.

Apples were raised.† We had a big orchard and in those days we did not have to spray the apples.† We wrapped paper (from catalogs) around the apples and put them into barrels.† Some were not ripe until Christmas.

We gathered hickory nuts and let them dry, then cracked and ate them or saved them for baking.† We often went to the woods and picked blackberries and wild apples and raspberries.† We tapped the maple trees and cooked sap for about two days for maple syrup.

My sister and I would ride the working horses out into the fields and bring lunch to the working men in the morning and afternoon.† They often let us eat lunch with them.

When the grain was ripe the big thrasher machine came, pulled by a big steam engine to separate grain and straw.† It usually took about two days.† I could get a ride in the wagon box which held grain to the granary.† For this we went up to the orchard to get apples for the men.† At noon and night there were big meals in the house for the workers.† Neighbors exchanged help so about 20 were there for the meals.† There sure was some good eating.† Maybe three kinds of pie. Sometimes my dad would complain about meals at certain homes.† He hated carrots and they often had them.

We had a neighbor that had a spring house.† They built a cemented gutter in a small building and cold water ran through this gutter and was used to keep food cool.† It was the first time I had strawberry ice cream and Jello.

My dad had a brother whoís son was killed by lightning.† He was going to town and a storm came and he went into an old house to get out of the storm.† He was driving a team of horses but they did not get struck.

We churned our own butter.† We had a big barreled drum and had to turn a crank a long time to get butter.† The buttermilk was used for drinking and baking.

We also made cheese from milk.† It was set out and as it curdled the whey was separated from the cheese curds and then aged.

We used buttermilk for pancakes.† Mother would bake up a big high pile and keep in the warming oven, and Dad and the hired help ate many.† They had already done a lot of work by breakfast time.† The day usually started at 5 am.

After the cows were milked, the milk was taken to a separating room and run through a separator to separate the milk from the cream.† The cream was kept cold in a big can in a big water tank.† A man came two times a week to take to the creamery.† Some cream was kept at home for baking and drinking and fed to the calves and pigs.

My mother would sometimes take one of us children with her and go to a barn dance (usually a wedding) a little ways from our place.† The Polish people had about a three day celebration for a wedding.† The women would bake in outside ovens and hundreds of people attended.† My dad did not dance so he never wanted to go.

We would spend evenings lounging on the floor near the heating register, eating popcorn and apples.† We also cracked hickory nuts and ate them.

Mother had a white maple floor and had to scrub it on her hands and knees.† Then we would lie on the floor and roll around -- we thought that was lots of fun.

Our first touring car was bought when I was about six years old -- a big Oldsmobile touring car that had side curtains.† It had a steering wheel so big it took almost two people to turn it.† The first time we went over a big steep hill to church my mother walked to the top of the hill and waited for my dad to come with the car.† It was as steep as a mountain, and still is.† When Janice and Elaine went over there two years ago to see the old place, they called it ďthe death trail.Ē

We had coffee socials on Sunday at different homes.† I remember one time at our house we had two deaf people and they moved over close to the piano, so I guess they could hear at least some music.

The hired men invited the teachers over and we played piano rolls for music.† My mother played accordion and harmonica for us children and danced us around.† She also did this while she was at Bethany Home, well into her 90ís.

There used to be Ski Meets on one of our hills.† There were some people from Norway.† The men stood watching with black martin fur coats.† I saw some pictures of this but donít know what happened to them.


When they had thrashed the grain and the straw was stacked for awhile, they used the straw to fill mattresses for the kids.† They were high in the middle for awhile until they got flattened from sleeping on them.

One time when the men had just gotten through thrashing and a ladder was up against a big straw stack, my sister Eunice climbed up there and it was lucky someone saw her or she would have fallen into that loose straw and suffocated.† One of the hired men brought her down.

We moved to Galesville when I was seven.† We sold the farm to some Polish people and bought a hundred acres about a mile from the school and the church.

I remember some big snow storms when dad had to take us to school in the sleigh with horses.† One time we got to school but had to go back home as they could not get the school building heated up.† There was no way to tell people that there was no school.

We did a lot of skiing.† Dad opened some fields and we had some big valleys close to us.† He made us a bobsled but it was pretty heavy to pull up. We had a tobaggan which was much lighter.† We walked about a mile to go skating on Lake Maruwka in Galesville.† In summer we would swim there.

We had very good soil here so we did lots of gardening.† We had a big bed of strawberries, raspberries, and raised grapes.† We also grew a lot of cabbage, onions, tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers.† We had to cultivate them and keep the weeds out, and then peddle them when they were ripe.† Mother used to dress chickens and bring them to the farmerís market in La Crosse.† She also loved flowers and had beautiful gladiolas and peonies. They were super big because the ground was so rich.

We were in the 4-H Club for many years.† We went to the State Fair with Guernsey calves.† We had chickens and did sewing for various projects.† We had meetings at different homes and had a leader who helped us.

I think we always had a telephone.† In those days there were about eight parties on a line, so people ran when the telephone rang to listen for some news.† When we came to Galesville we soon got a radio so we could get news there, as the only newspaper we had was The Decorah Poster, a Norwegian paper.† All we enjoyed about it was the comics.† Then later on, we got the Galesville paper every week.

We always had a celebration for the fourth of July. We had a picnic and a big dance in the park.† A huge crowd always attended.

The county fair was a big four day celebration.† That is where we showed our 4-H calves and cooking and sewing abilities.† We would stay all day (Dad brought us up there) to take care of the calves.† We would buy watermelon and muskmelons and go over to a nearby hill to eat them.† We got rides on the merry-go-around for five or ten cents.

We sold some of our land for a golf course.† We would pick up golf balls and sell them for ten cents, and sometimes we caddied for players.† Sometimes they let us play along.

We lived a mile out of town and often someone would let dogs out and my mother would feed them, so we always had a few dogs around, but never inside the house.

I was confirmed at the Lutheran Church in Galesville.† Alvina and myself were the only girls but there were about ten boys.† We also had two weeks of summer school.† The ministerís son was a teacher and he was so crosseyed you didnít know if he was looking at you or not.† The kids used to go in the back of the church and pull rhubarb stalks and eat them in class.

We always had to come home from school each day to help weed and cultivate the garden.† We also helped to milk cows as we had no hired help then.

There were not any vacations in those days.† The farthest trips were to Blair, Wisconsin where my dadís brother lived.† We had the old touring car and put the side curtains on.† It took about two hours from Arcadia and we got there about 10 oíclock and had to leave for home about 3 oíclock.† His wife Alida was a very good cook and made a great huckleberry pie (like blueberry).

I began to do some sewing.† There was an old peddler who came around with material.† The folks bought quite a few pieces.† The material was pretty but it did not wash well.† I had to make a dress for my sisters and mother for the 4th of July.† When Janice was small I made over many dresses for her.† Some I couldnít get over her head so I guess I profited by learning better next time.† I took a wig off of a doll and put it on Janice, along with her bonnet; she looked real good in those curls because she was bald until she was about two years old.

One summer, when I was about 14, I went to babysit the boy of a cousin of mine, and she made me a new dress for the 4th of July.† I guess I did this for two summers but the second summer she didnít get it finished and I felt badly.† I was at a funeral of a cousin this past summer at North Bend and I ran into this boy that I babysat for.† I told him he was good baby to babysit for.† He is now a tall, good-looking man and lives in the Twin Cities.

I remember the first movie I went to.† It was a Jackie Coogan matinee.† I was surprised when I got out of the theater and it was dark, so my sister and I ran all the way home.

I had my last year of high school and two years of Academy at Gale College. I was valedictorian and had to give a talk.† There was a bad storm that night and the lights went out, so I hurried and gave my speech in the dark.† I can still remember most of that speech.† Gale College was just across the cornfield from our home.† We would pick violets and shooting stars on the hillside there.

We often had Luther League meetings there at the college.† Most of the students stayed at the boys and girls dormitories.

I went to La Crosse and decided to work at a sewing factory that was making dresses for Sears. I ran a needle through my fingertip as there were no guards by the needle.† I didnít want to act dumb so I kept on sewing. Once, I had a bundle of 35 dresses and they gave me the wrong size sleeves so I pulled them into arm holes until the floor lady saw them and had to rip them all out.† I would have run out of there but there was no back door.† I didnít stay long at that factory.

I saw an ad in the La Crosse paper for a girl at a beauty shop in Galesville and went to see about working there.† I worked as an apprentice.† I studied several textbooks and worked in the shop for nine months.† Then I took State Board Exam in Milwaukee after a short course at a shop there.† I had to hurry back to Galesville to take over for the owner who was going to have a baby.† I made it and worked on the third floor of the mercantile store for two years until we decided to move to Tomah, as a beautician was needed in the Rexall Store.† It was during wartime so had a hard time finding an apartment or room as most were being saved for soldiers.† Kay was a baby, only 3 months old, and we got an apartment upstairs close to the shop.† I was in this shop about four years, then decided to buy a shop across from the post office.† It had many steps up but it was roomy and light.

Vernie worked for me, plus a few other girls. When Vernie wanted to buy a beauty shop, I sold it to her and I worked for her.† We moved the shop to downstairs, and a barber got the other half to this place.† I stayed there until Vernie decided to sell the shop and quit; but then Vernie got a chair in Marionís shop and works there three days a week.† Then I finally quit and it was about time!!!† I worked for 62 years!

My father died at the age of 69.† He had baled hay all day, ate a big supper, sat in his rocking chair and had a heart attack.† He was never sick a day in his life and still had all his teeth.† He did a lot of hard work in his day.

His death was hard on my mother as she had always left the financial problems for him.† After a few years she sold the farm and moved closer to town.† She moved two or three times in Galesville and then went to La Crosse to live.† One summer she had a slight stroke in her hand and decided to go into Bethany Home.† She was there for eight years but enjoyed it as she liked to play the harmonica and accordion and read to people.† She lived to be 94Ĺ and died after having flu which developed into pneumonia.

My fatherís parents died when I was a baby so I never knew them. Their names were Gro and Tove.

My motherís motherís name was Annie Mathison and her fatherís name was Gilbert.† They lived in a small home in Ettrick.† My mother and grandmother had a small candy shop.† Mother said she ate most of the maple nut candies so the profit was small.† Gilbert and Annie were separated as he drank too much.† He ended up doing grubbing on land so it could be cultivated.† He lived with us a few years.† We liked the chocolate drops he brought us.

I met Bill at a dance hall near Holmen.† It was a place to hang out on Saturday nights.† We went together for about two years.† My sister Eunice and her friend and Bill and I went to Waukon, Iowa, to get married.† I didnít care for a big wedding and it was depression times and money was scarce.† I lived with his mother and younger brother at their home for about a year, and then had a small apartment for $15 a month.† Then went to Tomah to the beauty shop.

I remember one time we were going up to see my mother on a weekend in the summer.† It was very hot and by the time we got to Sparta we had had three flat tires.† The hot pavement just melted those old tires.† I guess we turned around and went back home.

When we first came to Tomah we needed a washing machine and Bill went to Central Hardware to work out the price of one (that could be done in the depression years).† Then, when we got that paid for, we needed a space heater so Bill continued to work at Central Hardware and study as a journeyman.† He then went on to get his master plumberís license.† Later he joined the union and worked out of town a lot.

Bill and I moved to a house in back of the post office in Tomah and nearly froze that winter.† Kay was small and I could not let her crawl on the floor because it was too cold.† When I came home from work one day, the water in the bathroom was frozen. I had to heat water in a boiler to wash clothes on an oil stove.† We had a big black range but no one was home to find it and I had no hot water.

One morning I got up early and put boiler on oil stove to heat water.† I fell back to sleep and when I woke up the room was completely filled with black soot as the stove had carboned.† Kay looked like a negro baby.† We were lucky I woke up when I did.† Bill and I were going to repaper the kitchen which was a big 13x14 room, and we had problems getting the long strips of paper up as neither of us had ever papered before.† We didnít want the owners to do it as they had just papered it before we moved there.

Kay went to a 4-year kindergarten which was just across the street from our home.† The original school had burned and it was being housed in the Congregational Church.† She told me I didnít have to take her as she knew the way.† She would stand beside and talk to other children and adults.† I said she should not ask adults their age but she said they asked her.† One time she was missing and I went up to the end of the alley and saw her going across the main street into the Cash Store.† They said she helped herself to a cookie and went out towards Sherman House.

Kay and Garry were very good children to raise.† There were not so many bad distractions in those days.† They just had bicycles to get around with.† Kay did a lot in music in school.† She played first chair saxophone and was in the top ten. She became salutarian of her graduating class.† Garry got a try on the trombone but it wasnít his thing so he got involved

in athletics.† He also was in the top ten.† He took a lot of extra math in high school which helped him get his scholarship to Engineering School.

When Kay was two, I had stillborn twins.† That was very sad for me.

We didnít go on many vacations as we had no extra money to spend.

We bought a two story house on Glendale about ten blocks from the beauty shop and had a big job cleaning it up as a bachelor had lived there a long time.† He had alcohol bottles hidden all over the house -- bushels of them.† I painted the outside two coats of paint while Garry slept in his buggy. He was a good baby and got a nice tan.† This house had a big garden and two rows of grapes but the kids pulled them when still green and threw them away.

I worked some long hours at the beauty shop -- six days and two nights of working.† We had some good babysitters and some bad ones.

We built our house on Lake Street about 50 years ago.† Bill did the plumbing and heating.† I mostly painted and held pipes.† The man we borrowed money from for the house was a carpenter and he said he would build us a house for four percent interest and we could pay as we could.† We got it paid off in a short time.† I felt sorry for his wife as she had no built-in cupboards or closets in her own home.† We shoveled over 25 loads of dirt for our lawn.† Now a machine does it in just hours.

Doctors discovered a murmur in Kayís heart when she had a checkup before Bible Camp.† We went to Varsity Heart Hospital in Madison for quite a few years.† When she graduated from high school she decided to have open-heart surgery.† She had an extra coronary artery which they severed, and she had a complete recovery.

I think that day at the hospital was the longest day of my life.† We got to the hospital at 5am and didnít leave until late.† We got an awful room that was usually only rented to college kids.† The mosquitoes were so bad

that we couldnít be outside, but we had to be close to the hospital in case of an emergency call.† They had Kay in an oxygen tent.† We told her how

lucky she was as the temperature was over 90 degrees.† She had the surgery in August and was at college September 3rd.

Kay got a scholarship for Carroll College.† She took the last two years at a hospital, to get training as an X-ray technician.† She met Peter Groessl at one of the hospitals in Milwaukee.† They got married and had three girls and two boys.† Peter worked very hard and long hours, and he died from cancer quite young.† All five children were left with money for college plus two extra years.† Three of the kids became doctors themselves (Kris, Erik and Sarah).

Garry worked at some of the local restaurants and sometimes trimmed trees.† One summer he worked for his dad, doing plumbing, when they built Manor Center.† Garry was a good student in school and got a good scholarship for Engineering School in Milwaukee.† He received free room for one year and free room & board for the next three years.† Then when he graduated he decided to work for 3M.† In those days companies would even fly students to Europe to check on jobs.† We bought him his first car when he was a senior at Engineering School, which he used to get back and forth to work that summer because of a strike in Milwaukee.

Garry was the first Eagle Scout at our church.† Mr. Groothuis was the leader.†

Bill was a kind-hearted person but alcohol often changed this and then he was sorry about his behavior.† I prayed he would quit but it wasnít until we went to Alcoholics Anonymous that he learned how to live without it.† Our friends Edith and Cam Wiseman did much for us.† He was lucky to have 17 years of sobriety before he died.† Those were very good years.

My family and friends threw Bill and me a surprise 40th anniversary party.† This was a complete surprise to me, and usually things arenít planned that I donít find out about.† They told Bill and I to go ahead and see Rudios parade and Kay and Garry would come later.† It was a long parade, about three hours.† When I got home I had been baking beans and they told me we would go down to Winnibago Park to eat.† I said we could eat at home because I already had beans made and some other foods.† They said bring the beans along so I said okay.† When Bill and I got down to the park, I saw my candleholders on tables and flowers, and everyone said ďsurprise!Ē.† Our intern from church had his wife and guitar to play, and many friends and relatives had come.

Bill died in 1981.† He had swallowed a piece of steak and it lodged in his throat.† He kept coughing and went to the doctor who gave him pills, but it did not dissolve. He went back to the doctor and got an X-ray and the obstruction showed up but he couldnít get back into the clinic.† It took from Wednesday to Saturday to get him to La Crosse and his esophagus broke on the way.† They did surgery in La Crosse and he was in intensive care for six weeks.† There were many complications.† I stayed at Janice and Docís during that time, and they took me to the hospital every morning.† His death was hard to face, but faith and prayer brought me through.

I went to many arts and crafts classes through the years.† They were often offered for only $7.00 a class.† I learned quilting (log cabin), rose mauling, paper cutting, embroidering, oil painting, and flower arranging.† Those classes are not offered anymore because the state hasnít money for them.

I have made 11 quilts -- nine for the grandkids and two for myself.† I have been into braiding wool rugs for some time, and have probably made 30.† Iím lucky to have access to old wool at the ABC Store.†

I have covered many of my couches and platform chairs, made drapes and curtains, and painted and wallpapered.

Bill and I remodeled our basement during the war and rented the rooms out to soldierís families.† It paid for the work we did.† We made some mistakes but we got smarter, and met some really nice families.

I love to work outside.† Iíve always had a nice lawn and many flowers.† I have landscaped my front and back yards with evergreens and flowering plants.† I have 20 geranium plants in big pots, and I bring them into the basement for the winter.† I start them over in the spring.

I keep quite busy with my volunteering activities.† I work at TomahĎs Ďfood shelfí, the ABC Store (like Good Will), and the hospital gift shop.† I quilt at church for the missions, and visit shut-ins at the Care Center.

I still do a lot of cooking and baking.† I have Vernie over for meals almost every week.† She still fixes my hair.† I try to be good to her as she is still one of my closest friends.

I try to get up to La Crosse and help Janice some.† They had a wedding on October 2, 2004 at Barre Mills for Kathy.† She was married before and has a boy whoís a high school senior.† This was her husband Carlís first marriage, and he likes riding horses like Kathy.

Vernie threw an 80th birthday party for me.† This was held at my church (Gloria Dei Lutheran Church) and is one of my favorite memories.† Kay and Garry and most of their families attended, as well as many friends from the beauty shop and my church.

Travel

I have had many very interesting trips in my life.

The first big trip was one to Scandinavian countries.† This was conducted by our minister, David Hoyme, and his wife, for two weeks.† It is usually quite cold there but this year was very hot and no air conditioning.† Some of the time we stayed in college dorms used by students, with little rollaway beds and no inner spring mattresses.† We had lots of good food.† One day we had THREE smorgasbords.† The waterfalls were beautiful and we got good spring water to drink.† A good thing we did as coffee was too strong to drink and cost $2.50 for a demi-cup.† It was a beautiful country.

There was a trip to the Ozarks.† A lot of good country music and gift shops.

There was a great mountain trip to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful geysers and many gift shops.† The views were beautiful on the mountains and the food was excellent.

Then there was a trip to Canada to the Expo.† Victoria was a beautiful city.† We went back through the ice fields and Spokane, Washington, and ate in the top of the space needle.

There was an Eastern Color Tour.† It was for ten days.† The foliage through Pennsylvania was beautiful.† We saw lots of Amish shops.† We went to New York City to a theater and to Roosevelt Center.† Then went to Boston in an underground street and to the Old North Church.† It was fixed to look like the old days.† We went to a lighthouse.† Then on to Vermont.† The mountains were beautiful and the food was very good.† Came back through Niagara Falls which is all lit up at night.

There was a trip to Mackinac Island, located on Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin.† We went over on a boat to ride in horse carriages on the island.† It is noted for all the beautiful lilacs and the huge long dining room.† Lots of candy factories.

The trip to Hawaii was like going to a new world as the whispering breezes and fragrant smell was inviting.† The people walk around all night long.† Had a big barbecued pig buried in the morning and a big feast at night.† Many good dancers and tours.

A trip to Washington DC on a bus with the Homemakers group was interesting.† We ate at the 4H Headquarters so had good food, because otherwise it was very expensive.† Went to the Tomb of Unknown Soldier and Gettysburg Battlefield.† The Lincoln Memorial building was great.† We sure had to walk lots of stair steps for every building.

A trip to the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.† We had four days sitting listening to music.† There were some good gospel singers, young boys and dressed in colored tuxedos.† Very good.† They brought boxed lunches in from Texas and fed 2000 people in about an hour and was good too.

I have been on several trips to Branson, Missouri, maybe six times already.† They were bus tours.† We stay at nice hotels and are treated to all the programs.† The food is fabulous and many good programs like Andy Williams, Lawrence Whelk, The Osmonds, Danny OíDonald (super!), and violinist Shoji Tabuchi.

When Bill was still living, we would go to San Antonio, Texas, to stay with his sister Marie for a week at a time.† We also went to Fort Meyers, Florida, to see Billís sister Alice.† We went shelling and to the ocean for sunning.† The sisters are all deceased now, as are their husbands.

My daughter Kay lives in Sarasota for the winter months and I went there for two weeks a few years ago.† They play a lot of golf and go out to eat often.† Went to Ringling Brothers Art Gallery.† The big framed pictures are beautiful and all the painted wagons (over 150!) are great to see.† The gardens are beautiful and they volunteered there to take care of the flowers.† Kay and Jerry live in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the summer months so she can maintain a big flower garden and Jerry can grow a few vegetables.

I go to quite a few dinner theaters in Chanhassen in Minnesota, as well as Eau Claire and Fort Atkinson in Wisconsin.† There are usually bus trips to take us.

I go to Texas to see my son Garry and Sandra almost every Thanksgiving.† I always have a good time there.

In July 2000, I traveled to Denver, Colorado, for Sarah and Jeffís wedding.† Then, in August 2003, I flew to San Diego, California, for Erik and Jeanineís wedding.

The first time I took a plane ride (about 1930) was in Galesville when I was about 14 years old.† I thought the plane was not going very fast and was amazed at the squaring off of the land.

Then one time, returning from Texas, I got left at the airport.† They changed gates and I was the last one sitting there.† I got the next flight out but had to call La Crosse to have them come for me much later.

I was returning from Kayís once and I was in Chicago and the airline needed to de-ice the plane.† They had to do this a few times and then I got to La Crosse and used my last quarter and finally got Janice awake and she had to come and get me.† It was 10 degrees below zero!† In Chicago, I had to get a wheelchair at the airport to get to the loading place.

Once, on a trip to Sarasota, there were many blizzards so flights were cancelled.† I had to stand up for hours in a crowded airport.

One time I got to the airport in Austin and it had been evacuated because of a security breach and then people came back in and we were trying to find the luggage outlet and they said form a line.† There were SIX lines, and then Garry cut through and got me to the exit and on to a plane so I didnít miss my flight.

One time out of Las Vegas we just got up in the air and encountered a very bad electric storm.† I thought this was the end for me; I was really afraid.† Finally got out of the storm and flew on home.

Bill and I and Garry went on a train trip to Pasadena to the Rose Bowl.† I thought it would be fun to have nothing to do for that long a time, but I got train sick and the food was terrible.† The coffee was too strong and I couldnít drink it.† We had a good time when we got there.† Kay and Peter had a small apartment in South Pasadena. We had to get up early the day of the parade to reach our bleachers as they closed off the

streets.† Then we went to the horse races and many other sightseeing things.

At Christmas time there is a bus trip to La Crosse and Sparta to see the hundreds of lights.† Each person has to bring a bag for the food shelf.† In La Crosse, they have lights for miles along the river and in the park.† Many of the merchants and local organizations sponsor the lights. Then we stop at Bangor and have a lunch.