Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 16th


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The trains rolled right past Grandpa Noorlun’s home and garden on the hill.

The clangiteebang, clangiteebang of the slow, chugging freight train cars sent a rumble up the small hillside and right into Grandpa Noorlun’s garden where I stood on a knoll above the scene I mentioned.   I’ll bet the vibration helped to shake loose the potatoes in the ground that he was beginning to harvest.  Grandpa Ed’s version of farming nowadays was in his small garden here on the outskirts of the town of Lake Mills, Iowa.  He, and our grandmother, Marie (Tollefson) Noorlun were now in the ‘early winter’ of their years and had stepped down from the full scale farming they used to do with horses in years gone by.

#969...1948 Haying Lake Mills Iowa Ed on haystack Erv and Doren
Elliott’s Grandfather Edwin Noorlun on a load of hay with two of his five sons assisting.  Circa 1948 near Lake Mills, Iowa.

Our paternal grandparents were blessed with five sons and three lovely daughters.  With a crew of kids like that, it was time for a family rebellion………errrr, ummm, make that a family reUNION at Ed and Marie’s comfortable home there in Lake Mills.  😉

#906 Aunt Lillian Noorlun Greenspun

It was a grand occasion to see uncles and aunties gathering to share the shade of the lovely elm trees on their parent’s property.   With each family’s arrival, more stories were shared about each other’s kin and life in the various parts of our United States from whence each family came for this celebratory event.

#130=Elliott at Levorson farm; July 1957
Torn out tooth time 😉

Even though I was a tiny tyke of 5 or 6 years, at the time, I was mesmerized by the beauty of my father’s youngest sister, Lillian!  She, and her handsome husband, Gene Greenspun, resided in the giant “Big Apple” metropolis of New York, New York.  Lillian’s stunning beauty had garnered her a job in the fashion industry as a model.  Uncle Gene had made a name for himself, also, in New York, as a toy manufacturer.  Gene had even designed and marketed a silly bedtime slipper called, “Crazy Feet”.  His inspiration for creating those slippers came from a clay carving/molding he had done of an exaggerated prototype of Lillian’s own feet while they were playing cards with their friends one evening.

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Elliott’s gravity grabbing gallop!

Aunt Lillian’s arrival was kinda like the grand finale of this family time, since other brothers and sisters were already clustered under the cool shade trees and jabbering away.  As my gorgeous aunt and uncle’s little sports car wheeled its way into the wide yard, a holler was sent up the knoll to my grandparent’s house and announced, “Lillian and Gene are here!!!”.   Hearing that happy news, I zipped out of that patriarchal abode and commanded my little feet to fly down that knoll to meet my lovely auntie for a hug!

Most of us have heard the saying, “Haste makes waste”.   Well, its mantra sure proved true in my case that day.  As I descended that knoll at full speed, gravity began to accelerate my flying feet.  My “command control center” (brain), radioed a message to the rest of me saying, “DANGER, DANGER!  TOO FAST! TOO FAST!”.   Sure enough, I was quickly losing my balance.  The widening eyes of Dad’s brothers and sisters confirmed to me my feelings as they saw I was about to crash.   And, so I did, with an abrupt face plant into the dirt right in front of my darling Aunt Lillian.  As she graciously picked me up, from grass level, and began to dust me off, she noticed (and I could feel) that my baby front tooth had been bludgeoned from it’s original place in my mouth.

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A gap in his smiler.

The remnant of my tooth was now hanging from its proverbial thread.  One little “toink” from my auntie and it was now a piece of dental history in my hand.  She even took a Polaroid picture of me holding that tooth.  As the photo magically developed before our eyes, it was evident that I held that tonsorial trophy up proudly as if I had been a big game hunter on safari in Africa.  From now on, when I smiled, I could feel and hear that wind blow through the cavern in the itty bitty mouth of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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