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


Cachinnating kids clamored noisily onboard the old, late 1920’s school bus as it made its multiplicity of stops in their small village as well as numerous farms nearby. The loud, ratcheting “AhhOOOgah, AhhOOOgah” horn from their bus driver brought those agrarian angels flying out of their farm houses with books in tow and boys clipping on their last overalls shoulder strap while still on the run!!!

This daily gathering of youngin’s were on their way to one of the country schools just outside the village. Young Clarice was one of those daily riders who, once aboard, squeezed between pals and onto one of the wooden benches that ran the length on each side of that clatter carriage as it bumped and wobbled across the gravel roads near Scarville, Iowa. Windows, on this educational conveyance, were merely openings that allowed the fragrant Iowa winds to course through and cool one and all while they listened to the flibbity gibbit of engine noise up front. That scenario was fine and dandy in the spring and summer months, but Clarice and her fellow riders had to wear layers upon layers of clothing as fall and winter approached with its bone-chilling drop in temperatures. To keep his riders from turning into human popsicles, their bus driver would either button-snap heavy, see-through vinyl curtains into the window openings, or employ wooden-framed slide-in windows that were slid into receiving slots in the bus frame. Some busses of that era even had a drop-down shade/tarp when unexpected cloud bursts of rain flew in across the farmlands. In those days, one had to be tough and endure such conditions during those chilling drives to and from school in inclement weather.

Day in and day out, of that 8th Grade school year, Clarice kept up with her standard list of studies. That young Norwegian girl emulated the 1907 song called, “School Days”, in that she gladly learned her “Reading n ‘riting and ‘rithametic”. But, where she really excelled was the subject of Spelling. In those educational winter moments, the entire class of that country school relished the emanating warmth and accompanying wood fragrances from the pot-bellied stove in that one-room school. That coziness, in turn, made the recurring in-house Spelling Bees even more fun for Clarice and her entire class.

Clarice, being a feminine sprite of a girl, looked forward to these competitions when the school’s lady educator would call her up, along with her challengers, to the front of the classroom. Like little spelling soldiers, they’d line up in front of the classic, old black slate chalkboard for that day’s Spelling Bee.

One by one, the contenders for the title of “champion speller” would fall beneath the deft capabilities of the spelling prowess of “Queen Clarice”. Guess you could say she was the “Queen Bee” of the Spelling Bee there at Scarville school. Even the local newspaper touted Miss Sletten as the “Best Speller at Scarville”.

Clarice’s Grandmother Martha Larson Sletten.

On that grand day, when Clarice was “crowned” the best speller in town, she could hardly contain herself as that clatterbang of her bus meandered through the dusty country roads and deposited her, that late afternoon, in front of her Grandma Martha Larson Sletten’s home. With her spirit soaring, she sprang from that bus and waved goodbye to friends as her ebullient joy of accomplishment propelled her to find her grandmother in the Living Room sewing on her latest quilt. “Grandma, Grandma……. I WON, I WON the local spelling championship”!!!! Of course, Grandma Martha joined in Clarice’s joy and plans were made for the next step of honor of representing Scarville at the County Spelling Bee to be held in Forest City, Iowa within the week.

Clarice Arlone Sletten.

The big day in April of 1933 had arrived. Now it was time for her to represent the town of Scarville, which was one of many farming communities of Winnebago County. This spelling gala was to take place at the south border of the county in the distant town of Forest City, Iowa. Our young spelling whiz was on pins n needles as Grandma Martha helped her pick out her best Sunday church dress for this special occasion. With her hair combed and attire looking its best, they heard a gentle knock on the front door of the Sletten home. The soft features through the beveled glass of the front door revealed the arrival of Clarice’s dear teacher who would drive the town spelling queen to the competition in her sharp looking 1929 Chevrolet.

Oh what must have spun through the head of Clarice as they traveled south on those dusty country roads that day. Gazing out her passenger window, she saw arrow straight rows of field-corn that flashed past her eyes in unending acres in what must have been a dizzying optical illusion of green magic. One could surmise, as she daydreamed, that even the founder of their little village, Mr. Ole Scar, would’ve been proud of what our young lady was about to aspire to.

Over 100 young people, from the many hamlets of Winnebago County, were in attendance that special day. Judges, all official looking, were seated at their tables as adjudicators of the hopeful young spellers before them. And so it began. Contestant after contestant stood and received a given word that needed to be spelled correctly. Some were successful and remained in the competition. Others did not do so well and had to take their seats with the audience since they were no longer in the competition. Clarice had held her own in this conquest of words, so far, and saw about 80 of the former candidates eventually fail in their spelling capabilities. Now in the top 20, she had a chance for winning the competition.

Timothy grass hay.

Having grown up around her farmer parents, Clarice would listen and learn the ways of farming and how various aspects of farming were portrayed and pronounced by her father. Turns out, there was a type of grass hay that her family often raised for their livestock to eat and was known as Timothy Grass Hay. But, in this occasion, and on this day, a word that her father Clarence used all the time to describe that hay, was to be the downfall of our hopeful champion speller. The judge at the table gave Clarice the word TIMOTHY to spell. In her false confidence, Clarice stood and began……“T H I M O T E E”, was what she spelled (for that had been the way her father, Clarence, had always pronounced that word). The judge at the table was a bit taken back and sadly said, “I’m sorry, Clarice, that is INcorrect, please step down and have a seat in the audience”. Clarice was crushed!!! She was so close to taking home the honor for her school and town, but it just wasn’t to be.

Dejected by this humbling experience, the long ride home was a numbing fog for the young lady in our story. She kept going over and over in her head how her daddy, over the years, had always called that grass hay, Thimotee hay. The judges must have been mistaken.

Clarice’s kind teacher tried to assuage her hurt feelings as they quietly bounced along those gravel roads back to Scarville. By the time they neared their little hamlet, the shadows of evening were capturing what was left of the beautiful farm lands around them.

After effusive thanks to her teacher for investing her day and gas and encouragements during this spelling adventure, Clarice bid her goodnight and headed inside her home to grab a big dictionary to vindicate herself on her spelling fail that day. To her shock and chagrin, the judges had been right all along in their decision……….it was T I M O T H Y.

Even though “humble pie” is not fun to swallow, Clarice went on to graduate from Scarville High School in 1937 and a few years down the road, she met a handsome Norwegian young man and became his wife. And, to no one’s surprise, spelling became one of her most fun things for Clarice to enjoy throughout her 98 years and 3 months of life. She excelled in all the crossword puzzles she could find and conquered word games of every type and sort. Matter of fact, her love of spelling and keeping her brain “sharp” always earned her the loving title of being the “Queen Bee” mother of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉

Elliott in the arms of his “Queen Bee” mother, Clarice. January of 1954.

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


POEM – “Our Queen Of The Scene” by N. Elliott Noorlun

Back in the days, Of the horse n buggy,

On roads that were often trod,

You’d let go of the reins, Cause the horse knew the way,

Back to home as he’d whinny and plod.

Rosemary (center) as Future Farmers Of America Chapter Sweetheart, Freshman year.

Now in High School our Sis, Never wanted to miss,

All the joys of school life in each way,

So our mom was chauffer, As events would occur,

And it prompted our mother to say.

Elliott on the “Rosie Events Limousine” 😉

“If only our car, That has driven so far”,

“Had the brains of a horse, Yessiree”,

“It could take our dear down, To our school there in town”,

“And bring her back home full of glee”!!

Rosemary is standing at left.

Whether Girls Athletics (G.A.A.), Or Library aesthetics,

Our Rosie joined most every club,

With a youthful thirst, And energy to burst,

She relished to be at the hub.

Rosemary is at far right.

And at every school game, She’d cheer for the name,

Of the “Bulldogs” and rouse every fan,

With cheers from the crowd, That crowed very loud,

As our team carried out winning plan.

A very busy young lady was Elliott’s big sister, Rosemary Arlone Noorlun.

When chill of fall came near, In her Senior year,

Our sister who’s beauty we’d seen,

Was voted in mass, By her “Bulldog” class,

To be crowned their Home-Coming Queen.

Whether leaping in cheer, Or drawing friends near,

Our lovely sister could always be seen,

Enjoying young life, With more joy than strife,

Our Rosie, The Queen Of The Scene! 😉

Rosemary (top row, 2nd from right) was even a trusty ticket taker on November 2nd, 1963 during this play.

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


This is a true story, set to a poem, that I witnessed with my own little farmer boy eyes. The scary part was what MAY have happened to our driver, Mr. Mutschler. If that apple had actually hit him in the head, we all may have gone off the road and been killed. The funny part was how those teenage boys melted in terror as our enraged bus driver stormed to the back of the bus to “chew them out”! ;o)

POEM – “Tall As A House, Mr. Mouse” by N. Elliott Noorlun

Though tall as a house, His nickname was “Mouse”,

He was one muscular mountain of man.

And when we rode his bus, Whether kind kid or cus,

To behave was the wise choice of plan.

As a father of four, Daily Dale went out that door,

With a wave as he went to his work,

To drive our school bus, Keeping us safely thus,

To his duties he’d be true and not shirk.

Until came the day, When teenagers did play,

And flung a rocketed apple.

It splattered up front, On upright post blunt,

Causing dangers for Dale to grapple!

So close to his head, He may have been dead,

From organic grenade that exploded.

And what happened next, To our driver so vexed,

Was the opposite, by far, of implosion.

With bus safely parked, Dale arouse from his seat,

With a look that I’d ne’er seen before,

If looks could kill, Then his gaze fit the bill,

As those teenagers did melt to the floor.

With words of good choice, And his bellowing voice,

Leaning over those non-thinking boys,

Dale made it quite clear, That from here they should fear,

Flying fruit never makes for good toys!!

This photo is from the 1959-60 school year at Kiester, Minnesota. At the time of the apple incident, our bus driver was Mr. Mutschler who is at center with white baseball cap.

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


Mean-spirited boys.

Perfervid pinwheels of puppy pain spun “Pebbles” (a black cocker spaniel) in circles as BB rifle ammunition found its marks in his furry backside. There, in the tree-lined streets of this little village in south central Minnesota, some nasty town boys had decided to use that innocent dog as their unwise target practice. Now don’t get me wrong, this gentle hamlet was (and is), overall, an idyllic community where good, Christian morals pervaded everyday life and all the churches in town were full on Sunday mornings. It’s just that the old adage, “Boys will be boys” came into play sometimes, and this was one of those moments.

Dr. Henry Blohm, Veterinarian

Coming to “Pebble’s” rescue was his compassionate owner and our town’s highly respected veterinarian, Dr. Henry Jasper Blohm. “Doc” Blohm had witnessed those ill-willed boys treating “Pebbles” badly and, after chastising them, knew something had to be done to protect that pup.

Whether it be a caring, canine custodian, or serving on our local school board, the heart of this dear man was always in the right place. As a Medic, during World War II, Henry had cared for his fellow brothers in arms in Europe. Then, upon returning home after the war, Henry used the blessings of the G.I. Bill and attended college; graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1952 with his doctorate in Veterinary Sciences.

“Pebbles” was a cute, cuddly canine!

It was on one of Dr. Blohm’s numerous veterinarian visits to our farm, that he and our father, Russell, chatted about “Pebbles” and that “Doc” was looking for a more peaceful country home for the dog to be able to enjoy life at leisure and away from unkind meanies. We, as a family, were in between dog ownership at the time, so our daddy said, “Sure!”, and “Pebbles” came to live with us on our 120 acre spread of farm life.

“Yes, Ma’am, I’ll stay put!”

“Pebbles” obviously had been trained well, in his days as part of the Blohm family household. In unison, our whole family welcomed this black, curly-haired pal as part of our Noorlun clan. That pooch was bright, fun, and even politely obedient. Our dear mother, Clarice, was even impressed with “Pebbles” in that, upon entering our farm’s kitchen, she’d just have to say, “On the paper, Pebbles!”(because of his wet feet) and he’d be obedient to stay on the newspaper by the refrigerator until Mom saw that his paws were all dried off. It was then she’d give the command, “O.K., now you can go in the Living Room.” Then, and only then, did “Pebbles” happily trot into the Living Room to join us in our evening television watching time.

“Pebbles” loved to chase cars & tractors.

Maybe it was a propensity to protect his family’s territory, but “Pebbles” had a proclivity to chasing cars and tractors that passed by our farm. Sometimes, he ‘d hide in those shallow, grass-filled ditches along our home place, and then launch out at a car driving by. Thankfully, in most of those incidences, the car was way too fast for our black puppy dog to get more than a run and a bark in as he “scared the bad guys” away from his territory along the front of our farm proper. Unforeseen dangers, though, were hidden in the farmers coming by on their tractors that gave “Pebbles” a slower target to harass with barking and biting at their wheels. Sadly, it was on one of those tractor chasing occasions that “Pebbles” met his demise. As usual, he sprinted up from the camouflage of his shallow ditch and began his usual barrage of barking and biting at the front set of “tricycle” tires at the front of the tractor as it rolled along that gravel road. As a family, we did not want “Pebbles” to engage in this unwanted habit, so, when we saw this bad behavior we yelled out, “Pebbles, COME HERE!”. Well, as usual, he was obedient to the call alright, but, as he stopped and turned towards us, the giant, chevron-cleated back tires of the tractor rolled over our puppy dog and crushed him to death!!! “Pebbles” had been obedient to our call, but it meant his death by not taking into account the wide-mounted tires of that tractor still rolling along. We were all devastated and crying profusely from what we had just witnessed. Even our nice neighbor farmer, who owned the tractor, got down and cried right along with us that day. “Pebbles” was gone.

Elliott at the time of “Pebbles” and “Puddles”

Days rolled into weeks as we returned to life on our farm without a dog of our own to enjoy. It was then that sorrow was turned to joy when that same kind-hearted farmer, whose tractor had rolled over “Pebbles”, knocked on our back kitchen door one day with a brand new puppy to replace the one we had lost. He was black, like “Pebbles”, and even a cocker spaniel, just like “Pebbles”. We were all elated at our neighbor’s tender and generous heart to have found us a new playmate to take the place of “Pebbles”!!!

Now, it was the task of naming this little black fur-ball. Being that he was so tiny, Dad allowed him to live in the house with us till he was old enough to live outdoors on his own around the farm. Little Mr. No Name, like any puppy, would do his bathroom duty as he pleased. Our parent’s rule was, “Whoever sees it (the mess) first, needs to clean it up!!”. Like most kids, in those young, spry days, I spent a lot of my time laying on the floor watching TV, etc.. Sure enough, I’d roll over and look under the Living Room couch and there’d be another “puddle” (or worse) to have to clean up. I can still hear our dear family friend, Harry Bauman, roar with laughter as I’d moan……….“WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO SEE “IT” FIRST!?!?” That’s when the new dog’s name was christened as “Puddles” by this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!! 😉

“Puddles” was a pee pouring Pro of a pup!!! 😉

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


POEM – “We’d Say Goodnight, Not Goodbye” by N. Elliott Noorlun


May be just a number to you,

But for half a century, When we rang that phone,

We found a love so true.

Elliott and his mother.

We’d get advice, or recipes,

Our mom was always there,

Especially when a loved one needed,

Her gentle fervent prayer.

Her first born loyalty, And zest for right,

Her desire to always be fair.

You just had to ask, No matter the task,

Her love could never wear.

On Saturday night, I’d call her up,

To see if I could bring,

Some supper for us both to enjoy,

As we’d watch “The Welk Show” sing.

Mom would talk about, The latest news,

She saw in our hometown paper,

And we’d sometimes giggle, About the family back home,

And what was their latest caper.

What tender times there, With our mom,

Just being near her then,

To reminisce the sweet days back,

In the golden you know when.

Tiny Clarice with her mother, Amanda.

And anytime you mentioned,

The name of Clarice’s mother,

Her countenance glowed, And easily showed,

Intense love like no other.

As life moved on, It carried me,

Across the deep blue sea.

Our Saturday nights, Were to be no more,

T’was a fact that had to be.

So Thursdays became, A time for us,

To connect by means of phone.

To hear her voice, Was elixir to me,

A happy comfort zone.

We’d chat about, Each other’s life,

About family and friends,

We’d laugh about some silly times,

Until we’d get the bends.

And when our call, Would wind its way,

Down to a placid close,

I’d nurture the moment intentionally,

To capture the sweet repose.

It was just like when, I was so young,

At day’s end for this child,

Mom offered a blessing, At the end of each call,

To me was loving and mild.

Rather than just say “Goodbye”,

With its finality,

We’d say, “Good Night!”, At the end of the call,

For it held possibility.

For at this child’s, Time for bed,

We’d say a gentle, “Good Night”,

For next came our “Good Morning!”,

At the dawn of new day bright.

This was the last time Elliott saw his mother. Her 98th birthday was March of 2017.

But on June 15th, Of ’17,

T’was the last time I would hear,

Mom’s voice that always lifted my heart,

Her voice that was so dear.

So that “Good Night”, At the end of our call,

Was the last time I would know,

The soothing sound, Of our blessed mom,

Before our tears would flow.

For on June 23rd, She received His call,

A Direct Line from His Glory,

It was time for our mom, To “answer that line”,

And call to a close her story.

I am so glad, Even through my tears,

That we ended our calls in our way,

For it’s not, “Goodbye Mom!”, “It’s just Goodnight!”

Till we meet in Heaven’s Day!!! ><>

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..February 14th


POEM – “True Temper Is Good” by N. Elliott Noorlun

True temper is good, When used as it should,

For temper is strength, In-built strong.

It’s only when anger, Consumes one’s life,

Then temper is lost and all’s wrong.

Elliott’s farmer father, Russell, drives an old jalopy on the farm.

Once a lesson was taught, From my father who sought,

To teach me the care of a tool.

This tiling spade was given by Elliott’s Grandfather to his dad, Russell, over 80 years ago. It is still strong and ready to be used here in the year 2020 and beyond, thanks to being cared for.

Far deeper in meaning, Were his words to my leaning,

And in them I’d found a great jewel.

A shovel that lost it’s temper (strength). It rusted and fell apart; just like some folk do when they’re angry….they “fall apart”.

“Son, when you’re done working, Be sure you’re not shirking”,

“Clean this shovel, And coat it with oil,”

“For it’ll keep its strength, And serve you at length,”

“Through life as you face any toil.”

Elliott’s father, Russell, is on left.

“But if you should shirk, This part of your work”,

“This tool will be consumed with rust.”

“Its strength (temper) will be gone, And you’ll sing a sad song,”

“When during work’s stress it will bust.”

This Bible verse helps Elliott remember that temper is a good character trait.

So in life, when you’re soiled, Get clean and then oiled,

From God’s Word that you hold inside.

You’ll be strong, solid through, With His temper true,

Slow to anger as in Him you abide.

Elliott is grateful for his parent’s wisdom, both direct and indirect, in dealing with life on the farm and beyond. ><> 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..February 13th


POEM – “Buck-A-Hoy Boy” by N. Elliott Noorlun

This prickly plant is a “Cocklebur”, but tiny Lowell called them, “Buck-a-hoy”. They got stuck all over his clothes.

Tiny Lowell was the “Buck-a-hoy Boy”,

When they farmed on Cocklebur Hill.

Near Vinje (Vin-gee) Iowa, In ’45,

He gave our folks quite a thrill.

Though tiny guy, Lowell could really fly.

Like the time Mom set him, Out to play,

But when she’d turned around,

She came to quake and shake with fear,

He was nowhere to be found.

Did that pig flip his wig?

When near the hog pen, She did find,

His cap and little coat.

For all she knew, He may have flew,

Right down that old sow’s throat!!

Tiny Lowell rode inside the wagon while his daddy handpicked their field corn. He got covered with Cockleburs.

Then there were the times, In chilly Fall climes,

When Dad was handpicking corn,

Little Lowell inside wagon, Could do some braggin’,

‘Bout them sticky, round Cocklebur thorns.

Their tiny son, After corn picking fun,

Tried to share of his farming joy,

He said, “Look Mommy, I’m cubbered all ober,

Me clothes wit them’s “Buck-a-hoys”!!

Tiny Lowell couldn’t pronounce the name of Alice Ulve. To our brother, she was “Addis”

For a grand finale, Lowell ditched down the alley,

Of corn rows to neighboring farm.

He knew Wilford and Alice, And sought their palace,

To enjoy their hugs n charm.

Mom n Dad were frantic, At Lowell’s latest antic,

Where’s their boy, Was there any malice?,

When there came their boy, With a smile of great joy,

Carrying donuts from his favorite “Addis” (Alice)!!! 😉

Happy endings were common in those days when farming relatives and friends looked after the good welfare of any little ones………including our wunnerful brother, Lowell!!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..February 12th


Clarice Sletten in 1938.

Clarice’s clement and youthful footsteps could be heard against the country gravel road beneath her. The sultry summer of 1938 had her on a mission, that day, to purchase milk for her Sletten family table there in the tiny hamlet of Scarville, Iowa. The village, named after a pioneer known as Ole Scar, nestled within the northern boundaries of central Iowa and was a mere mile, or so, from the Minnesota border. Being just a year out of school, since graduating with the Scarville Class of 1937, Clarice’s slender Norwegian frame enjoyed the journey to the K.M. Knutson farm just outside and down the road a bit from her hometown’s city limits.

Cousins Wilford Ulve and Russell Noorlun. Mid to late 1930’s.

As if cheering her on towards her task at hand, a myriad of Meadowlarks fluted their happy songs to Clarice from the pastureland on one side of her and reciprocated to the green and vibrant cornfields that stood at attention upon the other side of that country lane. Meadowlarks were a favorite among many country folk because of their brilliant yellow breasts that could only be outdone in color by the summer sun that radiated above Clarice as she walked along. Coupling their winged-beauty with their bright song; these little harbingers of joy must’ve made Miss Sletten’s walk all the more pleasant as she approached the handsome farmstead of Mr. Knutson and began to relish the cooling shade of his tree-lined driveway.

Fresh “white delight” from a hand-milked cow by Wilford Ulve.

In her possession that day was a metal, capped, one gallon milk can with a bail handle for carrying her “white delight” back home to their house in Scarville. Stepping through the Knutson barn’s “dutch” doors, Clarice caught the fragrance of alfalfa being fed to the herd of Holstein cows. Reminiscent from the days when her family had their own farm, another familiar sound could be heard down the line of bovine bodies. It was the sound of someone hand-milking a cow. A liquid-metallic zinging sound could be heard as the “hired hand”, Wilford Ulve, shot milk from a firm squeeze on one cow’s teat and then the other. Pretty soon, that liquid-metallic zing just became a creamy zlosh, zlosh, zlosh, zlosh as that milk level climbed higher in the milk pail that he had firmly placed beneath the large, milk-laden cow’s udder.

FREE was a good price!

Wilford Ulve (and his lovely wife, Alice) was a “hired hand” that worked for Mr. K.M. Knutson on his farm there. Since being widowed, and now alone, Mr. Knutson needed and appreciated the youthful strength and companionship of the Ulve’s to keep his farm going. Clarice had come to know Wilford and Alice as good friends, over her many trips there for milk, and she enjoyed Wilford’s teasing ways as they’d banter back and forth with every visit. Today’s visit was to be enticingly different. “Heyy, Clarice, I’ve got this handsome cousin by the name of Russ Noorlun. He’s really nice, too! How’s about meeting him, blind-date style, and you two can go with us to a free movie night they’re having in Leland, Iowa?” Well, free was a good price, in those hard days of the 1930’s, and if this cousin was as good lookin’ and fun as Wilford was…….sure, why not! Mom’s answer was, “Sure, sounds fun!!!”

A handsome Russ Noorlun, in his flashy bell-bottom corduroy slacks, enjoys the view from the running boards of his 1929 Chevy in anticipation of meeting this new gal, named Clarice.

The magic date night had arrived when, banking into the Knutson farm driveway, a 1929 Chevrolet came rolling to a stop in front of the farm house. Out of the driver’s seat stepped a fellow Norwegian by the name of Russell Conrad Noorlun. Wavy dark hair, combed to a curled perfection, graced the head of this handsome young man. He was bedecked in a white shirt and tie, up top, and bell-bottomed corduroy slacks that made for a handsome spectacle of possibilities in the new friend/romance department.

Clarice’s favorite actors!

Their blind date is no longer blind, now that introductions have been made by the host and hostess, Wilford & Alice Ulve. Full of good spirits, it was time for the four of those young folk to climb inside that ’29 Chev and enjoy the late afternoon drive through the gravel roads and croplands down to Leland, Iowa for the free movie night.

If Clarice would have her druthers, she likely hoped for seeing a movie that starred her two favorite movie idols……Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald. Projecting on silver screens across the nation, in that summer of 1938, was the musical, “Girl Of The Golden West”, starring Clarice’s favorite duo. During that film, Nelson Eddy, being empowered by his masculine, baritone voice sings the song, “Who Are We To Say?”. Whatever the free movie that night may have been, there is pondering, on my humble part, that maybe Clarice and Russell may have asked themselves, “Who are we to say? Maybe this friendship will lead to something more!” Like the old adage says, “To make a long story short”…………a friendship was sparked from that first date that eventually led to marriage for Russ and Clarice and the birth of four little Norwegians…….one of whom is this Norwegian Farmer’s Son! 😉

Clarice Sletten and Russell Noorlun in their courtship days of the late 1930’s there in northern Iowa.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..February 11th


A castle for Princess Candi.

It’s possible that her Prince Charming (alias Daddy) sensed the susurration within the quiet heart of our little sister Candice Lynn ( we all knew her then, and now, as Candi ). Somehow Dad discerned that he would appropriate time and resources, from his busy farming lifestyle, to build his little princess a “castle”. It is a bit of a mystery as to the source of the inspiration that brought our farmer father to the point of deciding to building our little princess her very own playhouse there northwest of Kiester, Minnesota. A possible variable in our dad’s decision could have stemmed from the time when our elder brother, Lowell, had commandeered one of the small chicken houses on the farmyard and had transformed it into his very own clubhouse. It was an exclusive male-dominated hideout for big brother and his buddies. Another plausible genesis to this tiny castle idea may have come from our beloved “other grandpa”, Mr. Harry Bauman. Although Harry was not related to our family by blood, he was just as entwined in our hearts for as much as we all loved him.

Elliott’s parents, and older siblings, are on the left in this photo from 1948. Our beloved “other grandpa”, Harry Bauman, is on the far right.

“Grandpa” Harry was the possessor of a deeply generous heart. Even before our sister, Candi, entered the world in 1955, Harry often gave of his time, care, love and even his car when our young family had a need. There was the occasion when our mother wanted to visit her brother, Robert Sletten, and family way up in the northern Minnesota town of Mahnomen. Dear “Grandpa” Harry offered his reliable Ford as a chariot that safely hauled them all to northern Minnesota and back home again.

When our sister, Candi, came upon the scene in 1955, “Grandpa” Harry was just thrilled as he watched her grow and grow. He noticed that our little sister was just “as sharp as a tack” when it came to arithmetic and dealing with dollars. He marveled at her ability to “make change” with any dollar amounts given her. I, for one, surmise that “Grandpa” Harry, to show his love and esteem for Candi, teamed up with our father to make it a joint effort in creating a darling little playhouse “castle” for our sharp little sister to call her very own. What made this endeavor even sweeter is that Candi, being a tender heart, had never made an issue of even asking or badgering our dad for a playhouse. That youthful and honorable character trait is what made the creation of said dwelling that much sweeter.

Elliott’s nephew, Seth, stands at the door of “Princess” Candi’s little castle that her dad and “Grandpa” Harry built circa 1964.

So impressed was “Grandpa” Harry with our sister, Candice, that he once told our mother, Clarice, that if he were still alive at the time of our sister reaching college age, that he wanted to help put her through college. What love, what a heart of kindness was shown by this dear man!

Day by glad day, Dad and Harry gathered materials and began building our little sister her very own castle. Oh sure, cows had to be milked, and field work had to be accomplished, but, whenever time allowed, you’d find the Norwegian (Dad) and German (Harry) “Dynamic Duo” out there just north of our family home banging away on this cute creation.

Tiny Seth Noorlun plays inside Candi’s castle.

All the accouterments of modernity graced Candi’s “castle” playhouse. An elegant feature was a “Living Room” bench that had a lifting lid that revealed toy storage underneath. Stylish vinyl flooring greeted one’s entrance. New, metal-framed windows were installed that opened and closed by latches. They even possessed screens to keep out the summer bugs. There was even a sweet little metal awning over the windows for shade or inclement weather. Somehow a precious munchkin-sized cabinetry was found to house all of our sister’s empty food cans, condiments and silverware. The midget cabinetry was just the right size for a little lady to turn on her imagination and play the day away there in the shade of the maple trees just north of our family home. It was a delightful time for not only Candi, but also for girl cousins who’d come by for visits. She even allowed this brother of hers to grace the doorway of her “home away from home”.

But, just like in the song, “Puff The Magic Dragon”…….”Jackie Paper came no more”. The year 1967 brought the end of our chapter of life on the farm there in southern Minnesota and our sister’s little castle had to find a new home because we were soon to leave on our journey to Washington State. Thankfully, during our farm auction, on July 22nd of that year, our big brother’s mother-in-law (Alpha Braund) bought Candi’s “castle” for her little grand prince and grand princesses to play in. In a way, Candi’s playhouse “castle” still stayed in the family of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Without a doubt, Elliott’s sister, Candi, likely said, “I LOVE YOU, DAD!” many, many times for his building her her very own playhouse castle.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..February 10th


POEM – “Hope In The Rope” by N. Elliott Noorlun

Elliott’s father, Russell, tied heavy ropes from the house, top right, to their large barn, bottom left.

The blizzard winds screamed, That winter’s night,

Taking our barn, Clear out of sight.

A condition called “White-Out”, Where shadows got tossed,

And as a result, Could get someone lost.

With high winds and snow, a person could get lost and freeze to death.

Many a story, T’was shared o’er the years,

Of families mourning, And brought to tears,

By one of their own, That had missed the mark,

And wandered off, Into frozen dark,

Only to be found, In the light of day,

Frozen and dead, Having lost their way.

There was hope in the rope!

But our wise father knew, There was hope in the rope,

So we, as his loved ones, Just had to grope,

One hand o’er the other, On this life-saving yarn,

Until we safely, Reached our barn.

Winter’s beauty, on Elliott’s farm, also had to be respected for its powerful potential in causing injury or death.

Those long ropes were truly, A “line of life”,

That protected our father, His children and wife.

We’d live through this blizzard, For another day,

To enjoy our farm life, And go out to play.

Elliott’s big brother, Lowell, and his father, Russell, enjoy some winter playtime around 1947 on their farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.