Monday, Nov. 16th, 2009--We picked up Barb & Butch (Pudge's sister and brother in law) at 7 am. Plan was to go to Northwood, North Dakota to visit their 94 year old aunt who was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. She was moved into assistant living the first of the year.
Northwood is about an hour and a half from Fargo. This is where Pudge's mom was born and raised. Barb would spend summers there often with the grandma and of course, the aunts and uncles as well. This is the last surviving aunt.
I loaded myself down with books and magazines for this long, boring ride across the North Dakota plains. The day was beautiful-sun shining and warm. Much visiting was done in the car and the time and miles went fast. In Mayville, ND which is about 20 miles from Northwood we got a motel room. Then off to our destination. First we took a drive around Hatton where we tried to fined Louise's home. I remember visiting this person many years ago. She isn't a relative but her sister married one of Pudge's uncles. Anyway, what I remember about this home was that it was a big Victorian with pocket doors, a sitting parlor that had sun streaming in from big windows and it was filled with beautiful antique furniture, a very old fashioned kitchen where Louise served us a "little lunch." (Remember we are in a region with all Swedes and Norwegians and they really do talk like that.) We were not successful in finding the house. We think it probably got torn down.
Got to Northwood about 1:30. Found the assisted living facility with no problems. It is not a big town. Now before I go further I need to tell my thoughts previous to this whole trip. My memories of Aunt Euny was that she was a small, cute and attractive woman who was always fun and pleasant to visit with. In my mind I had prepared myself to see a frail, sickly, bedridden woman. After all she was 94. I had also prepared myself for a "nursing home" type setting. So after finding the place the four of us ventured in only to find a very pleasant big room with fireplace, comfortable and very nice furniture at one end and a kitchen,m dining room at the other end. It was all windows and the sun was coming in from all sides. Lots of cute fall decorations brightened the place. Nobody was in sight to get any information. Pudge started down the hall and each door had names on them. He found Euny's apartment and motioned for us. We stood at the doorway. Pudge knocked and we heard this strong voice proclaim "come in--doors open." Much to my surprise when we walked in there was this woman looking strong and healthy and very good. She was tiny but not frail. Upon seeing us she clapped her hands and with a huge smile and her eyes twinkling she hugged each of us. You could tell she was thrilled to see us. We sat down in her pleasant little apartment and started to get caught up. Shortly her daughter, Kay called and instructed us to go to the common dining room. We took the short walk and on the DR table there were cheerful cups and dishes, an assortment of bars and 2 pots of coffee awaiting us. More visiting and catching up. I was amazed at Euny. She is slightly hard of hearing and does walk with a walker but those are the only things that give away her age. She was on top of things as long as she could hear. Her hair was thick and she had just gotten a perm and it was lovely.
John Sundquist (Kay's husband, Euny's son in law) came through the door and joined us. He is 100% Swedish and is the 3rd generation to live on his farm. I would have really liked to have visited this farm. It is about 19 miles from Northwood. I have a feeling that many books that I have read about the Swedes immigrating to the Dakotas may have come alive somewhat on this farm. There was not enough time. Kay (Euny's daughter) joined us after her dr. appt. More coffee, bars, and catching up.
The plan for later was to go to a restaurant where Sherry (Euny's other daughter) was going to drive from Fargo to join us. She would not be able to get there until 6:30. Euny was getting feisty much earlier than that because she wanted to leave . We managed to hold her down until about 6 pm at which time we left for the 5 minute drive. We did take a tour of the town which was hit hard by a tornado about 2 years ago.
So good to see Sherry. We appreciated her making the long drive. Everything about the evening was fun.
After we ate we went back said our final farewells with hugs.
Up the next morning. It was dark and gray and cold. I looked out the motel window at the desolate North Dakota plains and it sure looked bleak. We walked to Paula's restaurant for breakfast. It looked like this was the restaurant where the farmers met for breakfast. You could tell they were discussing all the world's problems. There was no mistaken that these were North Dakota farmers. Everything gave them away--from the way they dressed to the way they talked.
On the road again heading toward Grand Rapids. First a stop in Crookston, Minnesota. Pudge's cousin, Lois and her husband own a candy shop there and we deicided to try to find it. Found it with no trouble and really surprised Lois. It was fun. Candy store was really neat. They make all their own candy and this store had been handed down through the generations. Some quick visiting was done. I purchased (well I tried but they would not let me pay) some cute, little chocolate turkeys and they gave us a box of chocolate potato chips.
Before our stop in Crookston we did stop in Bemidji for a purpose. A while ago we were given some barbecue sauce that was wonderful and the only place you could get it is in Bemidji. Went into a grocery store and found it. The break was nice--just to get out and walk around.
Day is beautiful. Sun is shining and conversation in car was great. Talked and laughed about the word "uffda." It really is used a lot by these people. We did see a lot of deer hunters.
Pulled into Lorna's driveway at her farm in Grand Rapids about 1:30. Lorna is Barb and Butch's daughter. We had a tour of the newly built house and did some visiting. Then we took a long walk to the pasture and Tommy's (Lorna's son) house to see the cows and the big bull. It was starting to get dusk and cold. We also toured her tack room in the garage back at Lorna's farm. Lorna used to ride and show horses and there were very many trophies and ribbons that she had on display.
We left to go to a restaurant for a very nice dinner. Said our goodbyes to Lorna after and we got a motel room in Grand Rapids.
Up the next morning. Destination - home. We dropped Barb and Butch off at their house about noon. We all agreed that it was a great trip. We were very glad we went. I know many memories were created and boy!!was it fun.
Barb, Butch and Lorna at Lorna's house in Grand Rapids.
New beginning in sight.
2 years ago