FARMER DAYS: the early years


    This is a tape of Donald Albert Hansen who was born in 1916 on July 18 at a little farm on South Locust Street at the edge of  the town of Atlantic, in Cass Country in the state of  Iowa. 


   The first thing I (Donald Hansen) remember is that we had some neighbors across the street by the name of Burgess who had a big tree out in the front of their screened porch.  Grandma Burgess became a friend of mine when I became big enough to look out of the back door, and see her wave at me.

    The farm where I was born is part of the town of Atlantic, Iowa but the house burned down and  it is no longer there.  I remember when I was about two years old,  Uncle Thorvald was called up for the draft because World War 1 was going on and he had to leave on the train.  My dad held me as the train pulled out and he (Thorvald) waved good-bye.

    My mother says I shouldn't be able to remember this because I wasn't old enough. But I remember distinctly his waving and my waving back.  He went to Camp Dodge, Iowa for about six months and died of what they call consumption.  It was a world wide type of influenza or flu.  He never got to go overseas.  The farm we were living on in south east Atlantic was rented.  We moved to another farm everyone called the "80" which meant 80 acres.  It had real sharp hills and was ten miles north of Atlantic..  I remember my dad built a little airplane out of wood for me. He also had a motorcycle that he used a lot.

   One time my mother pulled up a rug in our closet and there was an old mother mouse who had twelve little pink mice that she killed.

    We then moved to the town of Brayton.  We lived in my dad's cousin's house (George Hoegh's) up at the top of the hill because the house was available at this time.For its time, it was a very modern home.  It was filled with radios in various stages of assembly.  George was kind of an electronics hobbyist at the time.  He would get all those kits you put on a board with big tubes and dials.

    This was in 1923 and being a pretty nice house my mother had gatherings of ladies there.

    I remember the time they all bobbed their hair and I was very disappointed because my mother had beautiful long hair down her back.  They decided to make things out of rubber innertubes and put beads on them.  They made purses and bags and necklaces.  They all got together to make these things.

    One time she had the group of ladies there who brought all their little kids and some of the kids were older than I was. One of them thought they would pull a trick on me.  We had chickens.  We had some hamburgers the mothers were making and some of the older kids put chicken manure on the hamburger which they gave to me.  I remember biting into it and they all laughed.

    The first birthday party I remember was at a so called little girlfriend's.  I still have the invitation.  She invited me to her birthday party on August 31st, 1921, from 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock.  Her name was Mary Elizabeth Miller. Her mother was a schoolteacher.  As a matter of fact, when I started school her mother was my teacher.  She was a very good friend of my mothers.  Mary's mother was the daughter of Dr. Koob, the local physician in our little town.  I should tell you a little more about Mary Miller and her mother Kathleen.  Mary's father was Harry Miller who was the only mailman we had in our town and usually drove a little old flivver.  He also had horses he sometimes used because we didn't have any gravel or concrete roads.

    Besides Mary Miller's mother Kathleen being the doctors daughter, Harry Millers relatives ran the bank.  They also ran the drugstore.  They were very prolific as far as the little town of Brayton was concerned.  That was in Audubon County Iowa.

    It was about this time my brother Lyle was born.  Of course I resented this greatly because up until this time I could ride in the front seat with my dad and mother in the car.  And all of a sudden I was secondary.  He was a cute little fellow.  I remember I said his nose holes were the size of a pin when I first saw him.  The night he was born, I stayed up at Grandma Hansens.

    I should go way back and talk about our ancestors.  My paternal Grandfather Hans Christian Hansen, was a sailor on a sailing ship for about thirty years working out of Copenhagen and employed as a ships carpenter and a surgeon..  He sailed to many seaports around the world several times.  He wanted to leave Copenhagen because times were tough and there was no future there.  He had a dream one night. He was trying to decide if he wanted to go to Australia  or America.  In the dream it seemed like he was going down a river that branched out, one branch going to America and one to Australia.  The one going to Australia was black so he decided that was enough for him.  He decided to come to America.  Preceding him was a wealthy fellow by the name of Nels P. Hoegh, who had all ready come to American and was helping all his relatives and friends in Denmark to come over to this country where he had started a little settlement in Iowa.  And that is why my great grandfather came here.  After he retired from the sea he bought 120 acres in Audubon County Iowa along with another group of  Danes who came over and bought farms.  As a matter of fact, Lyle has his sea chest with the carving of his ship on the inside of the lid.

    As I recall my grandmother, Hans Christian Hansens son's wife, had a large ostrich egg with a lot of scrimshaw on it from Africa..  Back on the ranch on the home farm in the attic, we had two paintings from China  that Great Grandfather had brought back years ago of himself and his wife.  They were lacquered on cloth.  My grandfather Hans Christian Hansens's son, Christian Hansen was born September, 10, 1868. He came to Brayton, Iowa about 1882, from Sonderborg which is in South Jutland, Denmark.  His wife Katrina (Katherine) was born in Aero which is a little island in the south Baltic Sea.  A and E in Danish are one letter.  They are connected like Siamese twins.

    On the maternal side my great grandfather's name was Nels Anderson.  My grandfather was George Anderson.  He came from the Northern part of Denmark called Aalborg.  He used to work on bridges in France, it was said, before he came here.  And he married Bertha who was my maternal grandmother from Haderslev in Sleswig.  He loved horses.  His greatest love was breeding and raising horses.  I think maybe that any child born today thinks their maternal grandparents are closer than their paternal grandparents.  I know I did.  I don't know why it is , it just seems like the mothers parents are closer.  They had moved to Tyler, Minnesota for a while when my mother was still  a girl.

    Tyler was in the southwest corner of the state where mom went to church and Danish school. They moved back to a place called Casey in Iowa which was close to Des Moines where I really got acquainted with them.  I enjoyed going to see them.  Grandma was an awful hard worker.  She was a terrific cook.  I never will forget the scent she wore.  I wish I could find the perfume or whatever it was.  I'll never forget it.  Grandpa had a tin cup out in the cow barn that he would squirt full of fresh cow's milk and give me hot milk every time he was milking.  I really liked that.  I've never liked cold milk.  And you could hear the coyotes down in the river a yipping away usually when he was milking.

    He had a donkey that he'd have me ride.  The biggest thrill I could get was riding on the donkey with a saddle and smell that donkey sweat and hot leather smell. I really like it and wish I could still do it.

    Grandma had one of the biggest gardens I've ever seen and kept her own seed and didn't buy anything.  They had a couple of dogs, a parrot and a canary.  Polly the parrot was a character when talking to people. For some reason they always had a dog by the name of Nero.  They also had a great big monstrous St. Bernard named Frederick after Frederick the Great.  They had an Airedale named Polly.  I always enjoyed myself at their place.  Of course they had a lot of other grandkids who came down there to visit.

    I can remember the road to Casey was nothing but impossible mud if it rained.  We had our 1917 Model T with the winter top on it.  Once it rained and  they hadn't improved the roads.  There was no bottom to the mud.  A guy with a team of horses  was charging  $20 bucks to pull people out of the mudholes.

    My dad said it was highway robbery but we had to be pulled out a couple of times before we got there.   After a while they improved the roads and put gravel on it so that when we went to Casey, which was about once every two or three months it was easier to get there.   There were a lot of black walnut trees and sometimes we'd go down and fill the whole back end of our model T full of walnuts and haul them home.

    It was about this time that we decided to buy a house down by the creek.  Right across the creek from us was the city jail which was just one room with a door and a lock.  Our house was small with an outhouse out back.   There was no running water and no basement.  My dad decided to see if he couldn't buy it.  After negotiating for some time we owned our own house.  He probably paid $1200.00.

    There was a cave outside with a big mound of dirt on which we used to play with our toys.

    This became a real exciting period in my life because I started  school in the Brayton system.  It was an old school built in the civil war days on a foundation of limestone rock.  We had quite a lot of pupils going there and I remember Kathleen Miller, Mary's mother who was my teacher.  One day she came to school with a high stack of dishtowels all ironed and stacked and laid them on her desk and everybody was wondering what they were for but we soon found out.  If anybody  whispered, she'd come down and tie a towel round their mouth.  Before school was over half the kids were sitting with dishtowels tied around their mouths.

    I was a marathon runner.  I could go out and run for eight hours and never stop. I would just keep running and I felt great.  One day I fell down on a knot on a log.  I knocked a big hole in my head and had to go home to go to the doctor.  It kept me out of school for about a week.

    We had some characters in school.  One of them was called Butsey Koob.  He was a grandson of Doctor Koob.  He was the town bully.  Then we had another kid we called John the Baptist who couldn't learn to read.  I remember Butsey Koob was challenging everybody, knocking all the boys down, and hitting them in the face.  One day Donald Nelson who was a friend of mine, decided that he had  it.  Butsey came up and was going to knock him down but Nelson hauled off and knocked him down.  After that Butsey kind of straightened up for a while.

    John the Baptist, was learning a poem in our reading class and I remember it went something like this:  "Oh how the band did play and play and the elephants did so and so" and every time he came to the word "elephants", he said "elfnuts".  The teacher said "now John you know that isn't right."  Next time say "Elephant".  But he read it and said "Elfnut".  She said "you're going to have to stay in after school because we want you to learn how to say Elephant."  He stayed after school but as far as I know he never learned how to say Elephant.  It always came out Elfnut.  We called him John the Baptist.  His name was Johnnie Jensen.

    "John the Baptist" and Butsey kind of teamed up to become a gang of two in our little town.  They were always finding containers of Rye Whiskey that the town drunkard had hidden in the ditches or under the bridge.

    We had silent movies every Saturday night in the "Palace" theatre which was operated by Bill Friese, a single man.  My Uncle Harold Hansen played the violin while the show was going on and Mabel Rasmussen, who would later be his wife, played the piano.  Bill would take the evenings receipts home to his little house until he could make a deposit in the bank on Monday.  Somehow John and Butsey found out that Mr. Friese had gone out of town on Sunday.  They broke into his house and found some money.  They were probably about ten years of age at the time.  Monday morning they swaggered in Grandpa Hansen's hardware store and wanted to look at pocket knives.  They each bought one and paid cash!  On the way out Butsey opened his new knife and in so doing the blade cut his finger pretty bad.  He wrapped his finger and hand in his red bandanna handkerchief.  His father, Bill Koob, who was a painter and wall paper hanger, ran into his son on his way downtown.  By this time the bandanna was soaked and dripping blood.  After Bill asked his son how he got hurt, Butsey lied with several answers.  Bill asked where did the money come from and his son refused to answer.  Bill went to a nearby maple tree, broke off a big branch, and gave Butsey a good old fashioned whipping.  Both boys had to replace the stolen money.  Johnnie Jensen (the Baptist) eventually overcame his ability to get into trouble, but Butsey, whose first name was Leo, just got himself into more serious trouble as he went along.  Eventually he was paroled to the owner of the Antler Hotel in Ellensburg, Washington.  Last time I saw him was when I was passing through Moses Lake.  he was in a restaurant with a very young, sexy, and exotic female who he introduced as his wife.  This was in 1953 and he said he had a cab company.  From past experiences, I believed nothing he said.

    Almost every summer the Nishnabotna would flood from the cloudburst that always came.  The river was about a hundred miles long winding in and out through farmland and timber like a snake.  So, to remedy this situation a dredge would be used to dig to make the river straight.  The Dredge which had a very loud exhaust would now be called a giant backhoe.  It did not move like a caterpillar but had to have temporary regular railroad rails put down.  A crew of about eighteen young single men kept the machine moving after "Dynamite" Nelson and his crew removed trees or any obstructions in front.  On an average day they would dig a stretch about one third of a mile.  The crew was billeted in Brayton about two months.  While this was going on two young ladies became pregnant.

    At this time my best friend was Melvin Nelson (Dynamite Nelson's youngest son).  My girlfriend was Mary Miller (Teacher Kathleen's daughter).  Mary's Grandpa, Dr. Koob, would sometimes take me with him on house-calls in the country.  I'd stay in his 1923 Dodge roadster.

    Nellie's Poolhall was the local hangout for the older men.  So, that the small town wouldn't know, he and a group of his customers had located a nice hideout in the timber along the "Troublesome" River where they would go to do some gambling.  One Monday when Nellie Freeman opened his place of business he had two black-eyes with bruises and cuts on his face.  Some high rollers from Omaha had found out about the hideout, broken in, beat up the players and took all of their money!

    My Uncle Frank who was six years older than I could do more things than I was allowed and his friends such as Mack Hansen, Walter Hardwick, Tommie Cannon, dtc..  Frank had me help him make a radio out of an ice cream carton, some wire, a crystal, and a headset.  His gang had a hideout or camp in the brush along the creek.  I was not allowed to come in.  He was always complaining that he had aches and pains.  However, he usually wound up being first in any foot races in the neighborhood.  Our favorite school games were "Anti-Over", "Pump, pump, pull-away" and "Fox and Geese" in the yard when it snowed.  This was also when we would build two snow forts opposite each other with plenty of snowball ammunition.  At recess half of us were behind one fort and the rest behind the other which produced some pretty good wars.  Also in the winter we had a lot of sleigh riding parties and we loved ice skating up and down the rivers.  Actually the winters were the most exciting.

   Somewhere about 1923, there was a guy that was going to get married in Kentucky who had crawled in the Mammoth Caves.  He was going to find the treasure before he married his little bride but he got stuck back there and couldn't get out.  His name was Floyd Collins.  There was a hole in the foundation of the school where we could crawl through way back to the corner during recess.  Then the bell would ring and we had a heck of a time crawling back out of there to get in school.  We were all pretending we were Floyd Collins.  Floyd Collins died because he couldn't get out of the cave. 

    My mother was a real pretty young gal.  She had a beautiful face and a beautiful figure.  She loved to ice skate, ride horses, and drive a car and she did everything.  When she was thirteen she used to haul cream  in a wagon pulled with two horses in the woods down on the road to the creamery where road agents sometimes hung out. (thieves, robbers)  Of course she didn't tell me about that until years later.  Naturally  I had a great respect for her while growing up.

    I remember when I was real small we used to go to the main department store in Atlantic called Oransky's which was about ten miles away.  It was the biggest town around. She would go in and fit herself for a new corset.  I remember going into the little room where she would take everything off, put the new corset on and I was just astounded.  She was pulling all these laces and so forth.  I was just a little guy so it was kind of interesting you know.

    Brayton was really the town I grew up in.  In the wintertime, we went sleigh riding and ice skating.  In the summertime we had other things to do but one thing was really great.  Once a year we had a day called Booster Day  It was usually in June.  That was a day  we really celebrated.  We had all kinds of fireworks.  The band played.  There was an airplane that looped the loop over the town and a guy would jump out in a parachute.  There was a guy that would hang from his feet from the peak of the city hall.  Another guy up in the bandstand would get chained up with chains and padlocks.  The band would play and he would get out of these.  And we always looked forward to that because the people from the city of Omaha would come out and try to get us interested in coming to Omaha.  They would give us things for Booster Day and we looked forward to that every year.

    Then we had car races.  We had a young veterinarian by the name of Doc Carlson who played the sax.  He was kind of a man about town, a ladies man.  And he had a Model T Roadster that was kind of a sporty thing.  Once in a while we'd have races on Saturday night on Primary 18.  That was the best road around there.  It was hard to find your way from town to town.  There were no maps or anything.  The racers would all leave at a certain time roaring out of town.  They'd put their caps on backward, tops down, and away they'd go.  The dust would fly and maybe an hour later they'd come back and somebody would be a winner.

    One Saturday night after a short race, they were fooling around on main street looking over their Model T engines when a couple of fellows challenged a not too bright teenager to urinate on an engine while running.  Now everyone knew that the four spark ignition coils each put out about 70,000 volts.  They egged him on with the lucrative prize of twenty dollars which would be like a thousand dollars today.  He then said, "Crank her up.  I'll do anything for twenty dollars!"  The outcome of that was that they had to help him home and he stayed in bed for almost a week.

    The Juhl family should be noted here because of their being a little unusual.  There were four single brothers: Toni, Ralph, Bill and Ed.  Toni was the eldest and he was an expert when it came to any kind of a mechanical machine; especially engines.  He personally owned a steam engine beside other gas engines and a sawmill.  He collected black walnut wood in any form such as trees, logs and planks.  Ralph was taller than Toni.  His nickname was "Fuzz" and he worked as a mechanic, having his own shop at times.  His greasy cap probably stayed on his head in bed.  The last time I saw him was in 1935.  Our neighbor, Eric Christensen, was talking to him about the world situation as it was then.  Fuzz remarked that, "As fah as dat goes, we will never have war with Jappen!"

    Bill was a big boned, tall, slow moving man who was the only brother interested in finding a mate.  He also had a tattoo put on his arm that he didn't like.  For six months he used a razor blade to scrape it off and after much bleeding he was left with a big scar.  I remember a lot of his escapades, but the best one was when he put an ad in the Omaha Bee (the daily newspaper) looking for a bride.  He received quite a few answers but one that interested him was from a young lady in central Nebraska.  She invited him to come for a visit.  Bill didn't have any transportation but his father had a brand new 1923 Maxwell that he was able to borrow.  The outcome of this was that they were married.  She was a cute little lady who had just arrived in Nebraska from the Netherlands.

    Ed was the baby of the family and the town drunkard.  He never drew a sober breath that I know of.  He had a 1920 Model T Ford Coupe with smooth tires.  When he had a few extra drinks he would drive down the dirt road (we didn't have any other kind) at a fair clip and suddenly spin the steering wheel.  The car would just reverse its direction without tipping over.  One Sunday we were having a baseball game in a cow pasture at the northeast corner of town.  Ed decided it was time to do a spinout but he had forgotten he had just put on some new diamond tread tires on the rear wheels.  He went down the usual way, spun the steering wheel, but this time the car flipped.  In the middle of the ball game Ed came driving in the pasture grasping the one spoke left in the steering wheel with wood and tin body parts dragging behind.  Doc Koob was in the ball game and someone yelled, "Hey Doc, you better come here!"  Ed's thigh was cut like a fillet and about six inches of bone was visible beside a lot of blood.  The whole gang escorted Ed down to Doc's office to get his leg sewed up.  Someone asked Doc if he wasn't going to give Ed a pain killer or something like ether.  Doc said that Ed was in such a state that he couldn't feel any pain regardless which proved to be the case.

    We had another guy who was kind of a radio bug.  His name was Jensen.  And that was in the days when radio was nothing but a crystal set.  He actually built a transmitter.  His mother-Mrs. Jensen was crazy.  She lived in a house up on the hill with her son where she'd give sermons.  She'd lower the window and start yelling.  She had a  police dog that would also start howling.  All the kids would go up and lay on the bank and listen to her. But her son was really a pretty smart radio bug.  Anyway he built a radio transmitting tower out of rain downspout and filled it with concrete.  It was about 40' high and it had guy wires on it.  I can remember if you ever turned your crystal set on all you could hear was "9 AKM, 9 AKM calling".  The whole spectrum was his.  One day I was down there an he said "come on baby".  The generator wasn't working, and he kept saying "come on baby, come on baby".  It wouldn't work.  We had a big thunderstorm once.  And the lightning hit his tower made out of drainspouts.  The thing buckled, fell down, and broke  up.  I think that was the last time he ever transmitted radio signals.

    We had a town cop by the name of  Pool Pete who was also the school truant officer.  He was also an alcholic.  As a matter of fact, he died in the outhouse when he froze to death out there.  Then we had another character called Fred Gingory.  He was deaf and dumb.  He was a trapper.

    My grandfather ran a hardware and implement business.  My dad worked in there when we lived in the little house.  He worked for his dad in the hardware store, selling machinery, binders, and trucks to the farmers,  putting them together and so forth.  And old Fred Gingory, the trapper, would come in there and all he could say was "ummmmmmm."  And everybody understood him.  We liked him and he was a good old guy.

    We had a lot of fights in our little town.  We had some real rough characters called the Rorick Brothers, living over east of Brayton near a town by the name of Oakfield.  There were three brothers.  All they wanted to do was drink or fight.  Anytime they came into Brayton they would pick a fight with someone. The last fight  I saw there was two of them going tooth and nail trying to kill one another right in front of the hardware store.  And Grandpa was out there going "be careful boys, be careful boys."  They were close to the window and his telling them to be careful was about the most useless things I ever heard of.

    While living in the town of Brayton, we lived in two different houses.  We also lived on a total of five different farms before and after that.

    These were the days when I started roller skating.  Man I loved to roller skate up and down the sidewalk and sing.  Can't remember the song now.  Something about the "last time on the back porch, I loved her best of all!"  I'd sing and skate up and down.  Everybody thought I was a kook.  I was just a kid.  One time I came around the corner in my coaster wagon real fast by the back door of the bank.  I hit the banker and knocked him down.  I never forgot that.  I really felt bad but there wasn't anything I could do about it cause I hit him and that was it.  I also liked ice skating very much.

    Dr. Koob had built a new house and in his old house he had left a skeleton hanging in the closet.  So when we were kids we would sneak over and look in this closet with the skeleton hanging there because it was really something.

    In the winter time all the farmers came to town with bobsleds behind the horses and sometimes we'd get a ride.  We'd give them a rope and they'd pull us on our sleds.  We really enjoyed that and then in the spring when the ice started melting up on the hill, the water would run all the way down in the ditch.   We'd catch these little pink mice, put them on a shingle, and then follow them on the shingle as they were floating down the stream to the creek.

    We had a lot of ice skating parties down on the river and one of the places I enjoyed going to was my mothers sister's place; Aunt Dagmar and Uncle John's.  They had three boys and two girls. They lived down south of Brayton near a little town by the name of Lorah.  I always enjoyed going down there cause the boys were older than I was.  Uncle John, had a big steam threshing machine.  Sometimes I'd go down there and stay for a week or two and go out in the field with the boys on the few days when they were cultivating corn.  Uncle John had only one eye because of an accident in his teens.

    I remember one time we had a cyclone (actually a tornado) while visiting Uncle Johns.  I remember looking out the window and seeing a post come floating by the window, chickens in the air  just wiggling their feet and not moving anyplace.

    Of course I got pretty close to the youngest daughter Ruby.  They called her "sister" or "tootie".  She died in Salida, Colorado a few years ago from a brain tumor.  Her sister Pearl lives in Wickenburg, Arizona and we see her every once in a while.  The boys still live back there, Arnold, Leo and Johnny.

    Down below Uncle John's house was a wide valley, containing the Nishnabotna River.  Every summer when we had a big rain, there was a big flood.  And sometimes it was about eight miles wide.  Of course it would all clog up with tree limbs and trees.

    Uncle John was an expert at dynamiting trees and logs so Sister and I would go down there to watch while he would go across a fallen tree above the water and drop about six sticks of dynamite into the water and then sister and I would duck behind a tree and "kaboom."  Fish and frogs and everything came out of the water.  Then of course when the water retreated, all these little ponds that were left were full of channel cats and bullheads.

    We used pitchforks to go fishing which was kind of fun.  They were a lot tastier than trout ever thought of being.

    One time Uncle John's kids invited me down to their school.  They were going to have a box social. The teachers name was Miss Dunham.  Of course there were a bunch of big kids down there.  A box social is where the girls fix up these fancy boxes with lunch in them to be auctioned off.  A girl hopes that her boyfriend will pay enough to get her box.  It is real interesting.  It was quite a thing to watch and attend.

    I went down there to the school that day.  And the teacher asked me if I wanted to say anything.  I was about three or four.  "Yeah", I said, "My mama just ordered a new corset from Sears and Roebuck."  All the kids laughed and thought that was great.  That was the first box social I ever went to.  I remember my cousin Pearl had a real fancy box.  Her boyfriend Ted Hansen, who played a violin, really brought the price up and got it.  Was she glad.  However she never married him.

    In about 1925, Grandpa and Grandma Hansen decided to retrace their movement from Denmark to America.  They too the train to New York, visited Ellis Island, and boarded the "Hellig Olaf" for Copenhagen.  We moved into their house with Frank and Tante Clara while they were gone.  They came back on the Frederick VIII.  The last lap arriving home was by train from Atlantic to Brayton.  Frank and I stayed home from school the day they came home.  We wanted to see what they brought from the old country.

    Dad decided that we should have a cow to supply milk for the family while living in town.  He kept it tethered to the "Old Lane Tree" in the pasture just below Grandpa's house.  This place was where we seven to twelve year olds held our circuses every summer with a pup tent.  The front porch of Grandpa's house looked down over the "Old Lane Tree" as well as downtown and the railroad switch yards.  For a long time I thought the words "Rock Island" on the box cars said Rock Is Land.  We used to love sitting in the front porch on summer evenings after dark listening to the buzz of the 20 year locusts and watch the giant orange moon rise over the trees on the horizon.

    For sport there was wonderful fishing in the Nisnabotna and the troublesome rivers for Channel Cats and Bullheads.  There was duck and goose hunting in the fall as well as Jack Rabbits and Cotton Tails.  Trapping muskrats, mink, weasels, civet cats, and skunks for their pelts was great.  There were no pheasants or deer.

    Without a doubt, the greatest thing that took place in 1927 was when Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic Ocean by himself in the Spirit of St. Louis which now hangs in the Smithsonian.  People were naming animals and babies "Lindy."  Uncle John caught a baby wolf down in the timber, brought it home, and named it "Lindy."  Its color was grayer that a German Shepherd but it  grew twice as big and was very powerful.  Uncle John kept it tied with a log chain as he was the only person who could go near it.  It was the fiercest and meanest animal I ever saw.  It acted like a wolverine.

    By this time we could buy car wheels adapted for balloon tires.  A lot of people who didn't feel it was worth the money, still drove around on their 33 x 3 1/2 tires which were the best in mud and gumbo and especially when the frost went out of the clay roads and hills of spring.

    My dad did most of the work in the hardware store, but he got kind of fed up with it because it wasn't worth it.  Grandpa was selling everything "on time" and wouldn't listen to Dad.  Lyle and I were starting to grow up so Dad decided we should move to the country.  We did take a trip to Tyler, Minnesota, where my mother went to church and Danish school which really was quite a thing because we got to see Lake Benton.  We went fishing on the lake.  It was quite a trip; all of 230 miles.  In 1936 the lake dried up because of a drought.  It took two days to get there and we had three blowouts going up there.  We had to plan about three months before we took off to get our car ready.  My Uncle Martin and Aunt Metta were living on the homeplace (Grandpa's farm) and wanted to move.  Dad wanted to go back out to the home place.  So that is what we did.  We moved out to the farm.  It was 120 acres.  The farm buildings were up on the top of a hill while down below at the bottom of the hill was Center School, Oakfield township, in Audubon Country.  So the school was close to home which was a lovely place with a big ranch house.  Of course, there was no running water.  There was no bathrooms, or toilets.  But it had about five bedrooms, and it had-oh it was beautiful, like a castle compared to what we were used to.