Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 28th

June 28th…“WHEN LIVING ON THE FARM IN MINNESOTA, DID YOUR MOTHER EVER TEACH YOU A CRAFT TO ENJOY THAT SHE HAD LEARNED WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG?”

#24=Clarice Sletten(Scarville, Iowa Graduation '37)
Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun at the time of her youth when she learned to do embroidery.

Cradled in the gentility of a mother’s loving heart are the desires to share the joys and knowledge she gleaned in her youth with her own sweet progeny.  Our precious mother, Clarice, did just that for my sister, Candice, and myself when we were little.   Mom’s sewing and embroidery prowess came from her being tutored by her own mother, grandmother and her extended church family.  Clarice had been raised in the Lutheran denomination of our Christian heritage and our darling mother warmly recalled being a happy member of an All Girls League (like a club) at her local church of worship.   The title of her girls church club was called, “The Lutheran Daughters Of The Reformation”.   On regular meetings, Clarice and other High School aged girls would meet at their church for Bible Study, spiritual training and also various homemaking skills and crafts.

NFS 6.28f
So much lovely skills to learn!

As time went on, at their club meetings, two elderly lady “spinsters” (our mother’s terminology for ladies who never married) volunteered to attend the League meetings to share their knowledge of sewing skills to the mid-1930’s generation of young women that included our lovely mother.

NFS 6.28d
Elliott’s Great Grandmother, Martha Larson Sletten, (in this photo) and his Grandmother Amanda Rogness Sletten were two key educators in helping Clarice be such a good seamstress.

It is only too evident that our beloved mother also gleaned more of her sewing and embroidery skills from her precious mother, Amanda Rogness Sletten.   Another gracious contributor to Mom’s needle knowledge was our Great Grandmother, Martha Larson Sletten.

Woman Using Sewing Machine
So many lovely items were made by Elliott’s mother, Clarice, for their family and others.

The culmination of Mom’s excellent sewing skills manifested themselves to our own generation by the beautiful creations she would make for our own immediate family and also as home-made gifts for others.  As just a partial listing, our sweet family matriarch created embroidered dish towels, fancy embroidered pillow cases, artistic wall hangings, gorgeous quilts and the list just went on and on.

NFS 6.28g
A type of stitching that Elliott and sister Candice would make with their mom’s help.

As is common for many little children, my sister and I would sometimes come to our mother with the age old saying, “Mom, we’re bored!!  There’s nothing to do!!!”  This whining became more prevalent during the cold and long winter months when confinement to the house, due to blizzard or icy conditions, was a norm for farm families.  Mother, in her wisdom and love for us, would bring out her sewing supplies and also our favorite coloring books.  First, we were directed by Mom to find a cartoon page that we wanted to use to create our very own special stitching project.  We’d then cut that page out of the coloring book.  Another step of this process of creativity was to lay a piece of black-looking paper, called carbon paper, over a piece of linen cloth (that we’d soon be stitching onto, and then finally, place the cartoon page over that carbon paper.  Mother showed us how to then take an old, worn-down, well-rounded pencil and begin to trace that pencil along the lines of the cartoon image we wanted to create on the linen cloth on the bottom of this tri-level project.  As we moved the dull pencil over the cartoon outline, the carbon paper was transferring its “ink” on to that line image of the cloth below.  When we finished every last line of the cartoon tracing, and lifted the coloring page and carbon……..THERE would be our stitching cloth picture; just ready for coloring in with stitching.

NFS 6.28a
Ohhh for all the lovely colors.

I distinctly enjoyed the rainbow of colors that our dear mother had in her collection of embroidery “floss”.   No, not like what you use on your teeth before brushing…..this was special sewing string called, floss.  Wooden embroidery hoops were also now employed to “capture” the cloth image tightly within a round frame so that we could begin stitching the outline of our horse or princess picture with whatever colors of floss we imagined that they should look like.

NFS 6.28e
“Sew” what, it was fun!

Now, the two of us little ones were happily lost in our world of woven wonderment.  Sister and I enjoyed countless hours of pleasant pleasures of our own fabric artwork while “Old Man Winter” howled benignly outside of our cozy farm house walls.  Those were soft and peaceful memories for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

#272=Clarice & G. Amanda at family reunion; June 27, 1954
Clarice and her other sewing teacher…..her beloved mother, Amanda Rogness Sletten (on the right in this photo).  Such a deep, abiding love they had for each other!! 😉

 

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 27th

June 27th…“WHEN GROWING UP ON YOUR FARM IN MINNESOTA, SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT SOMETHING THAT WAS A MYSTERY AND PUZZLEMENT TO YOU.”

POEM – “A Hammer Named Stammer”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

NFS 6.27a
Hmmmm???

There’s a lot of questions, For each little boy,

As he encounters, Every daily joy.

“How come this?” and “Why is that?”,

Like, “Why did God make a calico cat?”,

A moment like that, Came to me one day,

As far off towards, Our woods I did play.

 

#78=Kiester farm, February 1959, W towards shop & barn
Elliott’s daddy, Russell, was hammering on some metal equipment in front of this white shop building that you see on the left side of this photo from 1959.

I could see our dad, Real far away,

As far as a football field I’d say.

NFS 6.27b
That hammer would stammer….in Elliott’s opinion.

With muscled arm, Dad’s hammer would fall,

And yet, for a second, No sound at all.

Then, like magic, Sound reached my ear,

And only then, Could I hear.

NFS 6.27d
“Stammer” the hammer 😉

T’was if that hammer, Didn’t know how to talk,

It seemed to stutter, It seemed to balk.

Being too young, To understand science,

I could only draw on, Boy’s brain reliance.

So, then and there, I named that hammer,

His name then would be, The hammer called, “Stammer”.

NFS 6.27f
Later in life, Elliott learned how sound travels and how fast.

As I got older, And went to school,

Learning facts, And the Golden Rule,

I was taught about, The speed of sound,

And just how fast, Across the ground,

That sound can travel, Once it’s made,

And where we stand, Will change the grade,

Of when our ears, Can listen in,

From whence that sound, Did begin.

So, “Stammer” the hammer, Was a learning time,

As I have shared, Within this rhyme!!  😉

NFS 6.27c
Always so much to learn when growing up on that farm in Minnesota 😉

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 26th

June 26th…“WERE YOU EVER IN A FIGHT DURING YOUR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS?”

POEM – “Ping Pong POW!!!”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

NFS 6.26e
Elliott’s Physical Education teacher, Mr. Robert Lynn.

Back in the days of P.E. class, Where each of us boys reports,

Ol’ Mr. Lynn, before he’d begin, Had us dress in our P.E. shorts.

NFS 6.26c
Fun times!

Upstairs to the gym, back when we were slim, It was time for our ping-pong teaching,

Yet we didn’t suspect, or even detect, What pain would soon be reaching.

NFS 6.26d
YEEOUCH, that hurt!!!

That Terry T., was a jerk, you see, With an evil twist of prank,

He’d sneak up behind, our butt cheeks to find,

And with paddle would give them a SPANK!!

NFS 6.26f
Elliott and Terry tussled!

As we filed downstairs, I grabbed him by hairs, And threatened he spank me no more,

And true to his form, he started to swarm, And we tangled for I was quite sore!!!

With one hefty shove, I changed from a dove, And sent that doofus a flying.

He landed in hamper, and away he did scamper, I even thought I heard crying.

NFS 6.26b
Terry T. had learned his lesson.  Now we could play ping-pong in peace.

Needless to say, from onward that day,  Butt cheeks were no longer molested,

For Terry T. knew, the reason I “blew”, Not wanting my anger be tested. 😉

NFS 6.26g
The Boys Showers/Locker Room, in these bottom windows of Battle Ground’s East High building, was where the Ping-Pong POW fight took place between Elliott and Terry T..

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 25th

June 25th…“DID YOU EVER TRY TO DO SOMETHING, LIKE YOUR DAD, THAT ENDED UP BEING AN EMBARRASSMENT?”

POEM – “Ya Gotta Know How to Blow!”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

NFS 6.25c
Elliott made a mess trying to be like his daddy! 😉

You may think it’s funny, But it’s SNOT,

That dribbled down my face.

Dad made it look easy, But when things got breezy,

The mess I made was disgrace!

NFS 6.25g
Our farmer and son painting would be on a red International Farmall tractor.

Our farmer dad was lean and lanky,

And sometimes too busy for proper hanky.

With one finger he’d ply, And let nostril fly,

But was a ghastly mess for this little guy.

NFS 6.25h
Now THAT didn’t work!!!

“Protein Propelling Prince” I was not,

And at first I really got upsot.

But with practice each day,

I got better each way,

In clearing face “tunnels”,

Of protein’s whey.

NFS 6.25b
His nose was on the run, for that silly farmer’s son.

So gross, you say, And I know it’s true,

Not prim or proper, some’ll say boohoo.

But when your busy, And you’ve got the urge,

Just look out and blow, And give them a purge!!! 😉

'Finger' Teacher teaching Class of Noses, saying 'Pick me!'

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 24th

June 24th…“AS A CHILD, DID YOU EVER HAVE TO BE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL?  WHY?”

#144=Elliott in Mom's arms; circa September 1954
Tiny wobbledeebobbledee Elliott

Gravity has never been a very good friend of mine.  From the time I was allowed to wobble from my mother’s protective hovering, I’ve been “attacking the floor” ever since.  Seems that in Heaven’s holding area before birth, I must’ve contracted a pixie disease called, “Clumsyitis Maximus”!!!!  That malady even extended to my mouth, in that I was always tripping over my own tongue with dyslexic words or just plain having the same mouth size as shoe size.  I often have been guilty of the proverbial clumsy condition of “sticking my foot in my mouth”.

You’ve heard the expression of, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”, ya?  When I finally survived life to the era of my Third Grade level in school, I really pulled a woozy doozy of a doofus dive that almost killed me……..cause when I fell, I fell HARD!!!!

 

NFS 6.24e
Indoor Kick Ball almost knocked Elliott “out for good”!

When the majority of us farm boys came to school each day, we were wearing high-topped leather, heavy-duty work boots.   They were good for either kickin’ a cow, or in our case, good for kickin’ a ball on the playground at recess.  Those clodhopper work boots came in handy, cause instead of the All-American pastime of Baseball, we farm kids loved to play a parallel version called KICKball.   It was played identically as baseball, but we’d just use a rubber ball instead.

#83=Elliott with coin bank from Aunt Doris Hawley
Too fast for his own feet, Elliott went KAHBLAM! head-first into that door.

Usually, we’d play our Kickball games outdoors, but, during the winter months, we’d also play it in our school gymnasium as a planned curriculum of our Phy.Ed. (Physical Education) class.  Only difference was that those farm boots had to come off and we’d wear some designated gym shoes to protect the lovely wooden gym floors.  Part of that gymnasium facility also included our elevated school stage for putting on plays and other public events.  Under that elevated stage were low profile storage compartments for racks of folding chairs.  On that fateful day, our teacher had placed the 3rd Base marker right next to one of those chair storage compartment doors.   Kickball, that day, was a rousing game of fun for all and it was my turn to be up at Home Plate and be a farmer so’s I could “plow” into that ball.  The “Pitcher” rolled the rubber ball my direction and that gym shoe of mine gave that ball a colossal clobbering KICK!   If that ball could talk, it likely yelled OUCH as it went sailing away to the far end of the gym “outfield”.  On that thrilling cue, this lightweight little Norski body flew past 1st Base with no problem and I “clipped” 2nd Base with an increasing blur of my feet “engines”.

NFS 6.24b
Elliott was “heading” for trouble!!!

What happened next, though, seemed to happen in slow motion.  Somehow, on the way to 3rd Base, the blur of my feet got in the way of each other and I ended up tripping over my own feet.  With my equilibrium totally askew now, my whole body went into this wobbledeebobbledee conundrum of movement that sent me rocketing in a uncontrollable collision course with that chair storage door at 3rd Base just under our school’s stage.  KAHHBAAAMM!!! was the sound that was made as the top of my head connected with that chair storage door at my top velocity speed.  I blacked out for a second or two as my whole body was stunned by the tremendous impacting shock of that chair cart storage door slamming shut.  Needless to say, I dropped right there at a dead stop (and for a second, I thought I was REALLY dead)!!!

NFS 6.24f
Injured Elliott

The teacher in charge ran over to scoop me up off of the floor and ushered me over to the bleacher seating to let me rest and recover.  The game went on and as our class period came to its close, I was already beginning to lose my eyesight due to the blurred vision and a major headache setting in that was beginning to pound in my little nine year old cranium.   Upon witnessing my physical deterioration….our classroom teacher spoke with the school Principal, Mrs. King, out of concern for me.   Mrs. King, in turn, called my parents to drive in from our farm and transport me as soon as possible to immediate medical attention.  By the time Dad and Mom arrived at the school, I was so “blind” that I couldn’t walk on my own.   To the rescue came our very kind Music Teacher, Mr. Arden Torbert.  That kind-hearted man assisted my mother, Clarice, in getting me down the stairway from the second story of the school and safely out to our family car.  At this point of the injury, I was becoming a bit comatose and unresponsive to my folks as I sat next to my mother with my head against her shoulder.

NFS 6.24h
This is the hospital, in Wells, Minnesota where Elliott was admitted to and was under doctor’s care for at least three days.

Fading in and out of consciousness, I didn’t recall much of anything as we arrived at the hospital in Wells, Minnesota.  But there is one incident that happened at the hospital that day that I vividly recall.

NFS 6.24i
That poor, dear nurse!!!

To rule out a fractured skull, I was laid on a gurney (flat, rolling table) and taken to the X-ray Department.  The x-ray technicians and the attending nurse had me lay on the table on my stomach with head turned away from the nurse who was caring for me.  She was standing close to the x-ray table on my left.  Another x-ray was needed, so the nurse asked me to roll over and turn my face towards her this time.   As I did, I made with a projectile vomit that sprayed the whole front of her nice white nurse’s uniform.   Even in my sick condition, I was mortified that my incapacitated body had done such a nasty, messy deed to this poor woman of the medical profession.  I can still see her using her two hands to pull her puke-saturated uniform away from her slimy torso.   Immediately, I asked for her forgiveness and said, “Ohhhh, I’m so sorry!!!”   Her grace, in that moment of horridness, was exemplary!!!   I’d even wager that that dear woman was likely a Christian for how she responded to me, saying, “Ohhh wellll, it’s part of the job!!”

NFS 6.24j
That nurse deserved a crown!

To this day, over 50 years later, I never even knew her name.   And, in my sickly blurred vision, I never even saw her face.  Yet, I pray that our good Lord gave her extra jewels in her crown when she got to Heaven because of the godly kindness she had shown to me that day!!!  A true angel of mercy, she was.

NFS 6.24c
Elliott was almost a “goner”!!!

For the next three days, I was under constant surveillance in my hospital bed.  Nurses woke me up every half hour, or so, to make sure I didn’t slip into a coma and possible death.  One day, as I was feeling a little bit better, I realized my parents were in the hospital room with me and were talking to my doctor.  The three of them thought I was asleep, but I actually was half awake and listening to their conversation.  The doctor told them, “If Elliott ever suffers this kind of injury to his head again, one of two things will happen.  Number one, it may kill him instantly, or, number two, he may end up a “vegetable” for the rest of his life”!!!  Even though I have incurred other head injuries throughout my days, I remain so grateful to our Lord Jesus that He has allowed a long life for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.  ><>  😉

NFS 6.24a

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 23rd

June 23rd…“DID YOU EVER GO SKINNY DIPPING?”

#34=Elliott(with Little Lady at Heitzeg's farm 1965)
Skinny dippers Dirk & Elliott

 

Boy plus boy equals mischievous joy!  That’s exactly the genre of fun that awaited for myself and the new friend I had met in the summer of 1965.  Dirk was, to the best of my knowledge, a grandson to our farmer neighbors, Charlie and Mable Heitzeg.  Dirk had come to enjoy some vacation on his grandfather’s farm that year and we enjoyed each other’s company immensely as we turned on our imaginations for fun times.

NFS 6.23h

That summer was so full of excitement and mayhem.  For one thing, Dirk loved to ride my pony, Little Lady.  Sharing turns in her saddle, we saw many happy hours pass daily as we’d play Cowboys & Indians throughout the large, treed windbreak surrounding his grandfather’s farm.  We’d climb to the upper reaches of the family’s wooden corn crib and pretend that that sturdy structure was our “cavalry fort”.   From that wooden bulwark, we’d fend off hordes of imaginary savages that were clamoring for our blood.  We’d shove our long stick “rifles” through the venting slats, of that edifice for drying field corn, and fire away until our imaginary enemies knew they’d had enough of our blazing lead and rode their Indian ponies off in retreat.

NFS 6.23i
The nail went right through Elliott’s tennis shoe!!!!

Sometimes, our blood and guts of little boy pretending became a reality.  All was fun and games that day in the wooden corn crib until I decided to take an exiting leap from the tall structure to the ground below.  While in my “flight” back to earth, I noticed a board on the ground with a long, pointed rusty nail protruding up into the air.  It was too late for me to change course as my ankle-high tennis shoe connected with that vertical metal “spear”.  The impact forced the nail right through the rubber sole of my shoe and deep into my foot.  OWWWW!!!!  When I picked up my stricken appendage, the board along with the nail came up off the ground, too.  Stepping on the board with my “good” foot, I yanked the skewered member off of its attacker nail and could feel my socks filling with blood inside my gushy tennis shoe.   Playtime for that day came to a quick end as I headed for our farm and medical attention from our mother who applied a poultice to help draw out any infection from that rusty nail.

NFS 6.23a
Ahhhh, the freedom of no clothes on a bright Minnesota day!!!

With my foot happily healed, a more humorous adventure awaited us two little stinkers at Brush Creek.   This gently-flowing stream meandered along the southern border of our family’s farm property and ran from west to east as it meandered its way, eventually, to the mighty Mississippi River.  That flowing creek, over its lifetime, had cut itself deeply into the surrounding agricultural landscape, resulting in a type of topography where two conniving boys were able to “disappear” beneath its tall embankments.  On one of those classically beautiful Minnesota days, Dirk and this Norwegian Farmer’s Son were having a grand time catching crawdads, tadpoles and enjoying the overall pleasures of mud, water and just being a boy.  Being a normally humid Midwest summer, we minor males pulled off our shirts and had rolled up our blue jeans to the knees so we could enjoy the coolness of the creek water.  One of us came up with the idea of, “Heyyy, why not peel off these blue jeans, too, and just go skinny dipping?!!!”  So, off came the last vestige of human coverings and we guys were as naked as the day we were born.

NFS 6.23l
The look on Dirk’s face was classic in his shock!

There we were…..two brash, brazen and bare-bottomed boys frolicking in the creek while hidden from any cars or tractors that would pass over the nearby bridge.  Fun and frivolity ensued until Dirk blurted out, “What happened to my jeans???  Where’d they go???”  Poor Dirk!!  His blue jeans had become a type of denim “submarine” that had submerged into the depths of that murky water and, for all we knew, were now possibly being carried by the current to the Mississippi River.   Naturally, we were both becoming a bit frantic over this unfortunate incident.   If Dirk had to go back to his grandfather’s farm NAKED, there’d be a ton of questions as to why and how this skin-exposed situation evolved in the first place.  While visions of embarrassment, spankings and scoldings danced in our guilt-ridden minds, we reached deep down with our arms and legs sloshing from one side of that creek to the other in a radial searching for those underwater body coverings.  Finally, one of us rose up with a happy holler, “I GOT ‘EM!!!!!”  Both of us little nudists breathed a collective sigh of relief that we could finally go home to our respective farms that day in a respectfully acceptable way……….CLOTHED!!! 😉

NFS 6.23d
Dirk was like a magician that day cause his jeans went POOF! and vanished 😉

Oh the skinny-dipping times of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son

NFS 6.23b
But only if your clothes are secure nearby!

 

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 22nd

June 22nd…“DID SOMEONE EVER PLAY A PRANK ON ONE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS?”

#1020 George Morris. Late 1940's
George Morris

Some babies are born with a wink and a giggle at the first slap on their bottom from the doctor at birth.  Our fun-filled family friend, George Morris, was one of those babies.

From just a few of the stories I’ve gleaned about this pixie-spirited soul, I knew our dad had met a kindred spirit in the realm of making smiles when they first met, in 1967, at Glenwood Heights Elementary School.  For you see, up until that point in time, we, as a family, had known the brunt of many of our own daddy’s teasings and pranks on US over the years.  In his new buddy, George, Dad had not only met his match, but he would be bettered on a number of occasions when it came to silliness and guffaws!!

For one thing, these two friends had come from the same generation.  George had fought with the United States Marine Corps in the South Pacific during World War II.  Our farmer father, Russell, fought his own type of war with the plows n cows on the Home Front in Minnesota during that global conflagration.  Decades later, for the good Lord to bring these two pranksters together in Washington State in 1967 was kismet.

 

NFS 6.22e
Just like the truck Elliott’s dad was driving that day.

Part of our father’s duties, as a Head Custodian for the Battle Ground School District, was to deliver inter-district mail and supplies from the main District offices in Battle Ground down to the schools of Glenwood Heights Elementary and Laurin Intermediate School each morning.  To accomplish this task, he’d park our family car on the school grounds and drive a 1958 Chevrolet pickup truck that belonged to the school system.  Inside the canopy of that truck, he’d haul everything from mail to boxes of books, to cases of food, etc..  He’d return that truck to the District campus each evening and then take our family car home.

NFS 6.22a
An old lady’s purse was the “bait” for our dad.

George, in his prankster glory, knew that our dad was faithful to the minute each day as he’d swing around behind Glenwood to drop off the Laurin School mail via an access road that went between the two schools.  So, like a spider setting a trap for a fly, George began to “weave his web” to catch our father in a choice prank.  Both of these fine men were raised in God-fearing Christian families that honored what was the right thing to do in any given life situation.  George had a strong notion that our dad would want to do the right thing if he saw what he THOUGHT was some poor lady’s lost purse in the roadway.  The “bait” purse was placed, by smiling George, right in the center of that access road between the two schools.  That was the same access road that Russell would soon be driving on in a few more minutes.  George then tied some clear fishing line to his “bait” purse and let the spool, of almost invisible line, unravel as he played it out for quite a few yards until he could then hide around the corner of the school building.  Now, with spider stealth, George quietly peeked around the corner of the building as he waited for his “fly” (our daddy) to drive up and see the “web” of this purse scene.

NFS 6.22c
When the purse flew off, this is likely what Russell’s face looked like!!! 😉

Like the faithful tick-tock of a clock, here came that old 1958 Chevy pickup as Dad cruised in between the two schools.  “Uhh ohh!”, is likely what Russ thought, “Some lady must’ve lost her purse.  I’ll pick it up and take it to the school office so they can return it to her.”   I can just imagine the metallic sound of that old truck door popping open as Dad climbed out to see if he could do a good deed of returning this purse to the lady who had lost it.  All the while here, that six foot tall pixie of a George is peering around the corner of the gymnasium building just waiting to give that fishing line a hefty yank!!!   Russell begins to bend over to reach for that purse, and gets within inches of it, when dear ol’ prankster George gives a mighty YANK on that fishing line and the lady’s purse, like a streak of light, goes flying off into the grass!!!!  Our shocked father must’ve jumped clear outta his skin (and maybe left a puddle on the ground) as that magic purse took on a flying life of its own!!!   George, unable to contain himself with laughter, begins his stifled chortling from his hiding place around the corner of the building.  After our father’s heart rate came back to normal,  I’m sure he joined his fellow prankster kinsman in a hearty howl of laughter and ribbing!!!

#38.1=Dad n Mom picnic (1948)
Russ always enjoyed a good laugh! 😉

 

 

 

For many years to come, George Morris and our father injected each other’s lives with many more times of endorphin-laced laughter.  They teased, talked and tricked each other with glee over their many years of friendship together.   These moments of happiness will forever remain in the happy heart of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

NFS 6.22f