February 11th…..“DID YOUR FATHER EVER BUILD SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR ONE OF YOUR SIBLINGS WHEN YOU LIVED ON THE FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA?”
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.
“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.
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.
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.