Margie and I rented a car for
our vacation since we planned to do a lot of driving and the rental agency
offered unlimited milage. I expected a Ford Taurus but it wasn't quite ready
but a Jeep Liberty was so I took that. I also wanted to be able to download
pictures from the digital camera and display them but a laptop computer seemed
to be too pricy and potentially difficult to work on if repairs were needed so
I purchased a small desktop from Fry's Electronics on special for $150. I also
bought the Windows XP operating system for $100 and a flat panel display monitor
for $250. I did not want to have to disconnect and reconnect the cables every
time I used it so I built a carrying box for the whole shebang. It even holds
the inverter needed to power the system from the vehicle 12 volt supply.
Here Pat May who agreed to look after the place while we were away is trying
out the computer in the vehicle.
We had some real time constraints. Margie wanted to visit her brother Hank
in Iowa before we picked up my sister Kaylene in Minneapolis to drive to my
Aunt Ruth's 90th birthday in Dawson, MN on wednesday. After that we had two days
to get to Margie's high school reunion in northwest Montana.
We left Phoenix about 10 AM friday and drove to northeast Colorado before
pulling over to get a little sleep at a WalMart parking lot then a highway
rest area. By that time, early Saturday, none of the motels had a vacancy.
We pushed on with a stop at the Cabela's sporting goods store in Hastings,
Margie got a nice Cabela's canvas tote bag for filling out a credit card
I was almost attacked by wild animals but they stayed behind
The weather was a nice change. It was cool with occasional rain, the countryside
was green. The rest areas were neat and clean and well constructed. Some had
visitor information including free highway maps.
Margie looks at a historical marker at a rest stop.
I visited my grandfather as a child with my parents and stayed with him for a few
months while in high school. I remember that he had a pool hall and was a barber
when he was not so old but I have been confused where it was. I recently found
some of his letters written from Dawson, IOWA. I know he had a place in Curlew,
Iowa but the fact that my Aunt Ruth and her family lived in Dawson, MINNESOTA
mixed me up. I have come to the conclusion that it was in both towns. Margie and I
took a side trip to Dawson, Iowa where we took a few pictures.
I think that the old white frame building might have been his.
We drove on to Margie's brother and sister-in-law's home in Hill, Iowa. We
arrived after dark and had a bit of scalloped potatos with ham before
turning in for a badly needed sleep.
Hank and Deb have a nice house with a finished full basement providing comfortable
guest accomodations. Hank has a shop in the detached three car garage where he
works on his vehicles. They have gardens around the shop and house where
raspberries grow profusely. We left early Saturday afternoon heading toward
Minneapolis. We got as far as Webster City, Iowa where Margie's ex-coworker
Chris Olson was from. Margie called about 20 Olsons and others from the local
phone book from the motel where we checked in. She finally located Chris's mother
who said that Chris had moved back to the Phoenix area.
Margie enjoys her vacation at the computer in the Webster City motel. A high speed
internet connection enabled us to read and send e-mail.
We set out Monday morning with a stop in Curlew, Iowa. It has changed some since I
stayed with my grandfather 50 years ago.
Two pictures combined show the main street. It is off the main highway and has
obviously declined in population and activity like many small towns as cars
have become faster and more reliable. My grandfather's building can be seen near
the center left. Two stores and the school are gone but a small newer beauty shop has
opened up. It seems to be the only retail business left. The beautician has only
been in town for 35 years and has not heard of Al Daggett.
The building was old and decrepit when I was in high school. At one time it housed
the telephone office and Gertie, the operator. I don't know if she was also in Dawson,
Iowa. My grandfather and I had rooms upstairs, mine didn't have electricity until
I rigged up a jumper from his area to mine. He was worried about that. He had
newspapers spread over all the floors in his room so he could spit any time
without getting it on the floor. He chewed tobacco regularly despite being in pain
from an operation to remove cancer from under his tongue.
We left Curlew and stopped at nearby Emmetsburg, a thriving little city on a nice lake,
where Margie bought some cookies and bread from a local bakery. Then on to Minneapolis.
We got there about the time my sister Kaylene was arriving from California on
Northwest Airlines. We met her at the hotel where she had reserved and paid for
a suite. We drove around Minneapolis looking for places where we had lived. The one
that we remembered best at 632 E. 16th St. was gone, replaced by a city parking lot.
Schools were also gone, some covered over by freeways, but a nearby park still existed
and so did the Franklin Library. I had watched a motorcade of President Truman pass
We drove downtown past the Foshay Tower which was the tallest building in town when I
lived there and is now surrounded and eclipsed by bigger unremarkable buildings.
We found Loring Park, a favorite hangout of mine as a kid. We parked near the
Margie and Kaylene sit on a sculpture.
Kaylene and Thormon on the bridge over the freeway between the art museum and
Loring Park. It seems to me that much of the park has been encroached upon by
The Park Building has been refurbished to provide a pleasant gathering spot.
Some of the park residents. The squirrels moved too fast for a good picture
but they are still there looking for a handout of a peanut or two.
We took the hotel shuttle to the Mall of America where we had dinner at a
Rainforest Cafe. After a somewhat noisy dinner we browsed for an hour or so.
The shuttle didn't seem like such a good idea when we had to wait almost
an hour in chilly weather to return to the hotel. Kaylene said she was
embarrassed to be seen with me wheeling my computer into the hotel. Tuesday
we arrived at my Aunt Ruth's house in Dawson, MN.
Jim, Ruth and Kaylene
Kaylene, Dennis, Margie, Ruth and Jim at lunch.
Ruth's large finished basement provides more living space than apparent from
Ruth on her 90th birthday in an antique gown.
Ruth with her daughter Sharon and son Dennis.
In her kitchen.
Greg and Sharon
The Gnome Park in Dawson
We stayed at a Motel in Madison
I passed on the lutefisk.
Ruth gave me a picture that my mother painted before I was born. We left
thursday morning headed for Montana.
But first we stopped at Dennis' house on a lake about 80 miles north of Dawson.
At Dennis' house Margie observes a bear trap and gun safes.
Another detour on our way to Montana. About 80 miles north of Bismark, ND
is Garrison where I lived in the late '40s. My father, Thilo, bought thousands
of surplus wooden ammunition boxes at the Twin Cities Arsenal and trucked
them to Garrison. There he built a two story house surrounded by a number
of cabins for rental. The lower floor was our home, the upstairs had several
rooms, also for rental.
He stacked the boxes upside down like concrete block construction and toenailed
them together. The tops were used for subflooring. We moved into the unfinished
house during a blizzard when the little house we had been living in during
construction was too drafty and difficult to heat.
The boxes were made of inch thick wood with finger jointed corners. He paid
a nickle apiece for them, now I found a similar one advertised on ebay for $20.
We kids played among the big stacks of boxes during construction and built forts
until too many boxes were dropped and broken.
My parents went through a contentious and bitter divorce during which my
mother, my sister Kaylene and I were relegated to a small upstairs room, the
closest corner one in the upper picture. That is where our pictures were taken
sitting on the bed. It was not a pleasant time and we were happy to move to
our house on 16th street in Minneapolis.
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