Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 21st

January 21st…..“SHARE ABOUT YOUR PARENT’S EARLY YEARS OF MARRIAGE AS HIRED HANDS ON THE FARM OF WALLY AND GENEVIEVE MUTSCHLER NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA.”

 

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A golden sheen, from the tungsten lamps within, sparkled across the predawn snow banks.  That electric emanation came from the barn window glow of Green Gables Farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.  Being a newlywed of just over a year, a handsome young hired hand, named Russell Noorlun, picked up the tempo of his morning chores inside that barn.  It was now early Winter of 1942.  Russ, and his “with child” wife, Clarice, had recently been made “part of the family” of Wally and Genevieve Mutschler, who were the owners of this majestic farming operation.  Green Gables received its elegant title from the fact that the barn and family home were painted with a brilliant white coat of paint.  As a harmonious striking contrast, the peak of the gables (and associated trusses with gingerbread) were painted a handsome green…..thus, Green Gables Farm.  Even the windows of the home’s storm shutters were trimmed out in green paint.  The regal beauty of these farm structures reflected the grand quality of the dear family that called that farm place a home. 

#21.2 Russell & Clarice Noorlun Wedding Day 6.21.41
Elliott’s newlywed parents.

As you will see, God was about to show His loving provision to our young parents.  In their first year of marriage, Dad and Mom had been hired hands (a vintage term for a farm worker) for an old couple of bachelor brothers in northern Iowa.  That employment had proven the opposite of enjoyable.  Seems the two crotchety old farmer brothers were always arguing amongst themselves or seemed to be never satisfied with the hard work our father was trying to perform for them.  In hopes of finding a better work situation, Russell had driven north across the state line and up to the village of Kiester, Minnesota.  There, he “ran into” Wally Mutschler.  In retrospect, we now know that God had that meeting all planned out and His best blessing was waiting for our parents.  Turns out, Wally offered our folks employment on his Green Gables Farm, and, as they say, the rest is history.  Not only were Wally and Genevieve great employers, but they became like a second set of loving parents for Dad and Mom and the kindest extra “grandparents” for us kids, later on.

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An Atwater Kent radio.

The reason, as stated earlier, that Russ was hustling with morning chores, was so that he could quickly make the walk along the snowy paths to the little white cottage that he and Clarice called home there at Green Gables Farm.  One of our dad’s favorite radio shows was “on the air” each morning, around breakfast time, and he didn’t want to miss an episode.  As our mom prepared Dad’s usually large farmer’s breakfast, Russell tuned in their Atwater Kent radio to listen to a show called, “Snow Village Sketches”.   The program was a comedy-drama about a little town(actually called “Snow Village”) in the State of New Hampshire.  

2NFS 1.21n
Russell and Clarice’s “furniture”

Our parents had grown up in the late 1920’s and into the very lean years of “The Great Depression” of the 1930’s.  And, even now, in the present World War II years of the early 1940’s, our folks had to daily employ an old saying that was common at that time; “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”.  In this moment of their young married lives, and just setting up housekeeping, they had to “make do” with the only furniture they could afford in their little cottage kitchen.  Wooden orange crates.  Set on their ends, two orange crates were their “table” and two orange crates were their kitchen chairs.

2NFS 1.21u
Tiny, the Noorlun’s stove for heat.

The mean-spirited Minnesota Winter, outside their cottage walls, did its best to steal any heat from their kitchen.  To fight back those chills, Clarice kept their little wood stove roaring with a good fire in its metal belly.   As Russell relished, with laughter, his radio comedy show, he also gladly consumed his eggs, bacon, cereal, coffee and morning grapefruit….oh, and don’t leave out his scorched black toast with creamery butter 😉   In those early days of starting out life together in that cottage, Russell and Clarice, tried to stay warm the best they could.  When sitting near that kitchen stove, they would roast on one side of their bodies, but freeze on the other side.  Then, like human flapjacks (pancakes), they’d flip themselves around so the other side of their bodies could enjoy some warmth, as well.

#343=Clarice N. holding Lorraine N.; November 1942
Baby Lorraine with pregnant Clarice.  November of 1942.

Though their cottage had a only a tiny stove, when it came to a warmth of heart, our mother Clarice had a roaring fire of care and love within her.  She, and her loving husband, Russ, were quite a team when it came to caring and sharing of what they had with others.   In early 1942, our paternal uncle was serving as a sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.  When his first wife left him with a newborn daughter to care for, he was in dire need for someone to help care for his infant daughter so that he could return to his military base for duty.  Family members, that had been visiting our grandparent’s farm farther north, near Foston, MN agreed to transport this tiny life.  They arrived one day, at the Mutschler farm, with a pink bundle in their arms.  They had brought baby Lorraine Noorlun to our parents to temporarily care for her in the little white cottage of Green Gables Farm.  Clarice, pregnant at the time, was expecting the birth of our eldest brother Lowell in February of ’43;  but she lovingly accepted the challenge of loving this precious little life as an addition to their lives and love.

2NFS 1.21p
Baby Lorraine’s “crib”.

Being “instant parents” with the arrival of this tiny little lady, Russell and Clarice made do the best they could to see that this little soul was taken care of to the best of their abilities.  When it came to going nitey-nite, all our mother could do was to pull out one of the dresser drawers in their bedroom, put in a pillow and blankets, and lay baby Lorraine in her makeshift “crib”.   In the latter part of December, that year, one of our father’s sisters came to receive lovely little Lorraine into her care as she then took her to Colorado for Lorraine’s next chapter of life.  Acts of love, like what our parents did for that precious little life, makes me proud to be a Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!

#966 Genevieve and Wally Mutschler..our 3rd grandparents
The loving and generous owners of Green Gables Farm.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for sending these sweet people to bless our farming family over the many years we knew them!!! ><>  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 20th

January 20th…“WHAT SILLY SAYING DID YOUR FATHER CONTRIBUTE TO A CONVERSATION THAT MADE EVERYBODY LAUGH?”

POEM – “Mr. Toot To Boot”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

2NFS 1.20d
Do NOT light a match!! 😉

Some folks are tutors, Who live to teach,

Yet, I know a tooter, Who’d steal all speech.

#407.a=Russ N. at Del's home in Albert Lea, MN; Circa Dec. 1956
Elliott’s teasing daddy, Russell.

That guy was my dad, Who loved a good joke,

Be it lads or lasses, He’d gladly poke,

At traditions that called, For style and class,

Except when our Pa, Just had to pass gas!

2NFS 1.20b
One never knew when the fun began

There at supper table, With friends all around,

A “BRAPPP” of a noise, A most flappery sound!

Mom would then chastise, But Dad would just smile,

And then Dad’d say, In jokester style,

2NFS 1.18h

He’d spin in his chair, With accusing sneer,

And say, “Who let those darn dogs in here!!!”

 

We’d all bust out laughing, He knew of his guilt,

And yet we were grateful, For the joy he “spilt”!!! 😉

2NFS 1.20a

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 19th

January 19th…“DID YOUR FARMER FATHER EVER DO SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT WAS SCARY?”

#76=Kiester farm, looking NE from field
Elliott’s childhood farm in south central Minnesota, northwest of the village of Kiester.  The Hog House (on right) held the pulsating charger for the electric fence lines.

Glistening in the morning sunrise, like diamonds in a row, were the crystal dew drops that hung from the taut wires of our farm’s electric fence-line.  Having been invented long ago and modified for farm use in the mid 1930’s, electrically-charged fence-lines were and are ubiquitous to farmers almost world wide.  When dealing with the control of Holstein cows weighing an average of 1,300 pounds each, an electric fence is an effective means to JOLT them back into a cow lane or pasture area.  After having their nose, or rump, zapped a few times, that little skinny piece of wire has the animal trained to avoid any future experiences, at all costs, and stay within their pasture or cow lane.

#250=Noorlun kids; December 1960
Elliott n Candi

For those unaware of farming ways, you can be assured that safety factors were weighed when developing this modern electric marvel.  Any good farmer loves his animals and would never want to see them actually injured.  Not only does he care about them from a kind and godly heart, but he also knows of the investment each animal was, at the time of purchase, and can be when it comes time for marketing.  True, it is an electric shock that is administered to the bovine (or any living thing, for that matter) that touches the wire intentionally or by accident.  The magic of this safety feature is that the shock lasts for only a second or two, and then, the fence line goes dead for a second or two.  I had found this fact out personally when I was about 3 or 4 years old and my father, Russell, told me to “test” an electric fence with a blade of wet grass………….BUZZZZTTT!!!!, went the electrical shock up my little farmer boy’s arm and locked it tight for a second or two.  Daddy laughed.  I cried my eyes out!  That old stinker teaser!!!  🙂  From that intended  learning moment, on Dad’s part, I forever have had an intense respect for the power of electricity!!

2NFS 1.19c
Elliott’s farmer father grabbed that fence-line and held on!!  :oO

Factors in farm life involve the passage of time, grass growth that touches the fence-line (causing it to “ground out”), livestock movements, etc..  Those components combined, necessitate that a farmer needs to walk his fence-lines, from time to time, to check for damage and make repairs.  It was on one of those beautiful Minnesota summer days that Dad invited my little sister, Candi, and myself to accompany him on one of those check and repair journeys around our farm property.  Meadowlarks and Red-Winged Blackbirds sang a chorus to us as the three of us walked along our cow-lane while Dad inspected fence and/or made repairs as we sauntered along.

"It's hard to explain but I just feel that there's an electricity between us."
“It’s hard to explain but I just feel that there’s an electricity between us.”

Eventually, we ambled down to the large pasture land that bordered our southern farm property line.  Brush Creek was the flowing body of water that actually marked most of our property, but there was a spot or two where our farmland also existed on the other side of the creek.  In order to keep our cows in where they belonged, a series of electrical fence wires had to cross that liquid line of demarcation.

2NFS 1.19b
Elliott’s dad could take electrical shock.

Now our tough n wiry Norwegian farmer father was one of those hardy souls who could easily take the “hit” of an electric shock and keep on keeping on.  Oh sure, Dad would sometimes blurt out some colorful language when he’d get zapped, but he’d just buckle down his efforts and get the job done of repairs to a light switch, wall receptacle, or in this case, our farm’s electric fence-line.  On this particular day, though, our daddy had some fun in mind.  Wading into the middle of Brush Creek, Dad intentionally grabbed onto the “hot” electric fence wire that went across the creek to keep the cows on our side of the property.  As mentioned earlier, with each pulse of electrical charge that zapped through the fence-line, Dad’s entire body would jerk in massive contractions.  Candi and I were held in awe as we saw Dad giggle and try to talk to us through each shock wave that hit his body that was now even more grounded, than usual, by him standing in the water up to his thighs.

#38.1=Dad n Mom picnic (1948)

 

He’aayyy, kids!!! Wha’eye don’t you co’me down here and ho’ld my hand??!!!”  Little sister and I looked at each other in amazement, as we stood safely on the shore of the creek and called back, “No WAYYY, Dad, we wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole!!!”  Even Dad’s responsive laughter was “cut in two” by the next shock wave that pulsed through his body.   Having had his jovial time with us, our daddy simply let go of the electric fence-line during one of the system’s off moments and came walking out of the creek bed laughing a good belly laugh at the whole funny, yet scary incident.  That was one “highly charged” incident to witness for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.  😉

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Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 18th

January 18th…“DID YOU EVER RECEIVE ADVICE FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS OVER THE YEARS?

POEM – “Sages n Seers”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

2NFS 1.18b

 

Sages n seers, Throughout my years,

Would share wisdom, Both sober n silly,

And as they portrayed it, As some even sprayed it,

It stuck with each Sally n Billy.

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Like teacher we knew, Who was a true blue,

While we, as his students, All grinned,

“On a strong, blustery day, What’er you may play”,

“You should never spit into the wind!”.

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Then once, at a function, This kid had the unction,

To a waitress, A tip he did show,

It sure wasn’t money, He offered the honey,

But said, “Never eat yellow snow!”

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There’s the cutest guffaw, That I ever saw,

That was posted by some little tart.

“Whatever you do, Even if you turn blue,”

“When you’re old never trust your own fart!”

2NFS 1.18h

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 17th

January 17th…“DID YOU EVER WORK WITH A MASTER CRAFTSMAN?”

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Even though they were captives overnight, at least a dozen happy sparrows chittered a cheery song for us as we pulled up the massive, blue roll door that opened into the cavernous Grounds & Carpentry Shop of the Battle Ground School District in Battle Ground, Washington. Above our workshop was the incremental cement bleachers of the relatively new sports stadium that had been constructed during the summer of 1967……shortly before our family arrived from Minnesota. With the freedom of daylight now streaming into greet our little songsters, they bid leave of us as their birdy wings rocketed them out of that open doorway to enjoy another day of flight in the lovely Pacific Northwest.

#03=Elliott(BGHS grad. ceremony '72)
Elliott in May of 1972

After having crossed the Battle Ground High School Graduation stage, in May of 1972, to receive my diploma, I eventually returned to my alma mater as an employee on October 2nd of that same year.  My illustrious job title (tongue-in-cheek) for my new employment was “Floor Scrubber’s Helper”.  My working partner (Ron Bergren) was my boss as we scrubbed and waxed floors throughout our very large school district. During each evening’s swing shift, we’d empty two or three classrooms of furniture, strip and wax the floors and then put the furniture back in before heading home around 11:30pm each night. At that rate of classroom cleaning, we usually made the circuit around the entire School District at least two or three times during the school year proper. Since the regular school custodians scrubbed their own floors during the summers, the District Maintenance Administrator (Al Bosisto) would temporarily assign us to help out the Grounds Crew during the summer hiatus. It was during one of those summer work assignments that I had the pleasure to meet a Master Carpenter.

2NFS 1.17c
Adrian Haro 1912 – 1991

In the quietness of our workshop that morning, I could hear footsteps approaching the enormous opening of the roll door we had come through earlier. With the brilliant morning sunshine to his back, and still low on the horizon, the silhouetting golden rays sent an impressively long shadow ahead of Adrian Haro as he approached our workshop to begin another day as the District Carpenter.  Adrian’s ancestral heritage, from the country of Finland, had given him a tall, lanky frame that eventually appeared and softly loped into the doorway with his lunch box and a big thermos of coffee in tow. Whether Adrian was actually born in Finland, or born here and just grew up in a bilingual family; that I do not know.  But I do know his English was flavored with the lilting qualities of his Finnish elders that came before him and I ascertained that he was likely fluent in Finnish as well as English.

Carpentry tools hand drawn set on white
Tools of the trade

I have always had an admiring affinity towards my elders; “The Greatest Generation” as they’re often called.  These dear souls had seen so much life and absorbed grand amounts of wisdom before I even took my first breath.  Even my own parents enjoyed the majority of their friendships with the “senior saints” in their own lives, so, I surmise my love for older folks stemmed from that of my own upbringing in the shadow of observing my parents and their respect for those older than they.   This loving tendency came into play in my daily interactions with Mr. Adrian Haro.  We enjoyed each other’s company and even took many of our lunch times together.  As we’d sit there, in Adrian’s carpenter shop, eating our lunch, the aroma of wood-shavings emanated from the floor below us.  We chatted back and forth as I would ask questions about how Adrian used the different tools of his trade in cabinet building and general carpentry.   In his heavy Finnish accent, Adrian told me one day, “Yah know, Elliott, dair arr a lot of vood bootchers in dee verld, but very feeew carpenters!!!”   His wisdom not only caused me to smile, but also caused me to think and affirm that phrase to be true.  For, I, myself, am one of those “voood boootchers”!!! 😉

2NFS 1.17k
Adrian’s cabinets were perfect!

Oftentimes, Adrian’s wooden creations were long, large sections of cabinetry destined for one of the many schools within our District.  Being much too large for one man to safely handle, Adrian often would come to me for assistance in loading, hauling and mounting those cabinets.   Overall, I was more than happy to assist this master carpenter of ours.  As I responded positively to giving him a helping hand, Adrian would tell me, in his Finnish brogue, “Ohh Elliott, tank yew so much, yew’re my hoovah boyka!!” (which is good boy in Finnish).  But, if I had been pressed to do another task and not able to help this dear man, Adrian would feign dismay with me and say, “Vell, if yew’re tew busy, I find somevun else…….yew “bah-ha boyka” (which means bad boy in Finnish).

2NFS 1.17j
A Master Craftsman

During those times when I was able to be Adrian’s helper, I was captivated by how much care he took to make his wooden masterpieces look just right.  Most of the mounting of his carpentry was done with hand tools, there at the school site.  After getting the large, new cabinet up on the wall, I can still see Adrian driving in the thin finish nails and then using a tool called a nail-set to make the nail disappear below the wood’s surface.  With his keen, artistic eye, Adrian would then select the exact color of wood putty to fill those myriad of nail holes around the perimeter of that cabinet.  When completed, an observer wouldn’t be able to tell there was even one nail used in that cabinet.  That “Wood Master’s” workmanship, and his very life itself, deeply impressed this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

2NFS 1.17a

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..May 15th

May 15th…“TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG SISTER’S BIRTHDAY AND SOME OF THE ATTRIBUTES THAT MADE HER SPECIAL.”

POEM – “Our Regally Royal Radiant Rosie!”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

#402=Rosemary Arlone Noorlun; circa Fall 1946
Rosemary in Fall 1946

On May 15th, Of ’46, An angel floated down,

And placed upon, A newborn’s head,

A sparkling pink little crown.

#275=Rosie advertising seed corn her dad sold; Summer '48
Rosie & Lowell in 1948

Rosemary Arlone, Had come to us,

Full of vim n zip n zoom,

So, watch out world, Here comes some fun,

Life’s dance will need some room.

#80=Rosemary holding Dad's lunch bag, circa 1949
Lunch for Dad 1949

Momma’s helper, Was Rosie for sure,

And when it came time for lunch,

To the field she would scurry, With sack in a hurry,

So Dad could enjoy his meal with a crunch.

#307=Pauline Bidne, Rosemary..3rd BD.., Lowell; May 15, 1949
Birthday #3 for Rosie in 1949

And then there was when, A party she planned,

But left Momma out of the loop,

Birthday guests tagged along, With a whistle and song,

But Rosie was then in hot soup.

#741 Rosie's 6th BD 5.15.52 with Renie n Barb Noorlun
Rosie’s cousins among the BD guests

Turns out Rosie’s guests, And she had decided,

After school that they’d walk the train tracks,

But without telling parents, Those little declarants,

Were hoping for cake and some snacks.

#211=Rosemary Arlone Noorlun, 1st Grade; 1952-53
Rosemary’s First Grade Class Photo in April of 1953(top right).

Mom quickly called parents, To settle their nerves,

For daughters who’d not yet come home,

Then quickly made cake, With some jello to shake,

For that party under farm home’s dome.

#979.1 KHS 1964 Rosemary Noorlun 001
Senior Year of High School 1964

The years flew by, As this little guy,

Saw his sister grow into a queen.

With a beauty so rare, It caused all to stare,

Her bright spirit imbued every scene.

S87 Ehrich Easter at GnG Noorlun 1972
Rosemary and family 1972

Marriage and family, Graced Rosie’s life,

As she took on duties, Of mother and wife.

Each child a reflection, Of their mother and dad,

Our Sis was so proud, They made her so glad!

2NFS 5.15a
Our beloved sister has rested in the arms of our Lord since 1989.  She was 43 years old.

But then in July of ’89, Our sister was called Home To Glory,

Though just 43, It was plain to see,

On earth t’was the end of her story.

Yet eternal we are, And her story by far,

Lives on in each life she created.

Each child, born in love, Is watched from above,

By our Rosie with angels elated.

#45.1=Elliott &amp; Rosie on hay wagon(March 1955)
Elliott and Rosie 1955

So I thank you, Dear Sis, As I blow you a kiss,

Till in Heaven we’ll meet once again,

Then the best party ever, Will ring through the clouds,

With a joy that can never wain.

2NFS 5.15b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 16th

January 16th…“SHARE A FUNNY EVENT BETWEEN YOUR FATHER AND YOUR LITTLE SISTER ON THE FARM!”

2NFS 1.16e
Away sister flew!!!

POEM – “Daddy’s Daring Dentures”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

I recall her squeals, As she’d run through the place,

When Daddy  pulled dentures, From out of his face!!

2NFS 1.16f
Silly Daddy!!!

“Come here, Lil’ Sweetie”, “Give Daddy a kiss!!”

Said our flappy-lipped Paw,  To his cute little miss.

2NFS 1.16b
“No wayyy, not today!!”

“No way, not today!”,  She’d say on the run,

As she flew past our dad,  Who loved to have fun.

2NFS 1.16i
Many a time, Candice was happy to get daddy hugs!!

On most days, Sis,  Would give Dad a big squeeze,

But on that silly day, She was a target to tease!!! 😉

2NFS 1.16j