Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 7th

September 7th…“TELL ABOUT THE PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT AT YOUR GRADE SCHOOL IN MINNESOTA DAYS.”

#106=Elliott, Dad, Aunt Bev & Brenda at Phil's Park
Tiny Elliott (lower right) was a “swingaholic” for having fun on a playground! 🙂

Ever since I was knee-high to a burp, I was happily addicted to any and all types of playground equipment that I could find.  Family picnics often happened at local parks and, while we were there enjoying a meal and family,  I’d get my “fix” on any playground equipment available.  Most often though, in my need for speed, were my daily delights on the playground equipment that resided at my most beloved Grade School in Kiester, Minnesota.

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Only grass now, but below the word “Playground” were a line of swings, teeter-totters, merry-go-round and a tall slide that made recess extra fun for Elliott and his classmates.

Back in those days, we had a REAL playground!!!  None of this namby-pamby, woosy  plastic junk they call playground equipment nowadays.

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A Mt. Everest type of slide!

We had a metal slide that was as high as Mt. Everest…..at least that’s what I thought.  Just teasing, but you’d need an oxygen mask as you’d reach the top of the ladder climb. 😉  That’s because, the ascending steps and side handrails made ya feel like you WERE climbing a Mt. Everest as you got higher and higher into the open spaces at the zenith of that silver giant.  Then, as you plopped your gluteus maximus down on the launch pad of that metal slide, you’d give a mighty pull with both hands on the rounded side ledges to rocket ya down that puppy at the speed of YAHOOOOOO!!!   As you shot past the slides’ bottom exit point, yer lil butt would resemble a rock skipping ‘cross a pond as you sometimes bounced, repeatedly, upon landing.   As Winter snows took over the playground each year, that same slide took on “speed of light” attributes.  A thick layer of snow and/or ice would “coat” and “grease up” the metal runway of the slide.  Instead of sitting, which would get yer butt wet anyway, I’d hunker down, in my rubber boots, and squat at the top of the slide’s launch pad.  As you ejected yourself from that top platform, you emulated the scene from the old TV show “Star Trek” where the “Star Ship Enterprise” kicks into warp speed and just slices outta sight!!!  Wahhh HOooooooo!!! 😉

Sierra Exif JPEG
Elliott’s merry-go-round was nicely painted, but the style was just like this one.

The little ones of today can all start being jealous now, because WE had a REAL merry-go-round on OUR playground!!  At times, the kaleidoscope of student’s colored clothing, coupled with the hyper-speed of kids pushing it faster, made the merry-go-round become a spinning  blur that took on the classic look of the “Spinning Top” toy of long ago.

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Elliott saw “stars” from feet.

There WAS the day, though, when fun on the merry-go-round turned into momentary horror ……..actually, more like torture!!  I was one of the “pushers” that day, along with two or three other guys.  The merry-go-round was packed with fellow classmates and us “pushers” were beginning to accelerate the speed of that playground equipment to a centrifugal warp speed when, all of a sudden, I tripped and fell beneath the peripheral outlines of that equipment.  Seemingly hundreds of young feet and legs were hammering my head and back incessantly!  The clobbering I took was painful and after what seemed like forever, I was finally able to roll out of the path of the pummeling, podiatric power plant and take an “Excedrin” moment of recovery.  Yowsa!! Did that every HURT!!!

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Elliott was a “monkey” on those Monkey Bars!

Of course, what playground from the good old days would be complete without the ubiquitous Monkey Bars!!  That mountainously sky-high assembly of metallic fun was great to conquer as we’d envision ourselves as cavalry soldiers of the Wild West and that apparatus would become our fort to hold off the attack of savage Indians (or some other formidable foe).  Without a doubt, us mighty midgets of mayhem came up with other game challenges while playing upon that tubular steel frame.  One crazy game we played was “King Of The Hill”!  Intense wrestling matches took place at the top of the Monkey Bars as myself, and fellow challengers, vied to “dethrone” the dude who thought himself to be “King” and resided at the top summit of that crisscross of steel piping.  As sure as a bouncing belch, myself or some other classmate would lose their grip on the pipes and became a “pinball”, of sorts, as our heads and bodies would then ricochet downward from the pulling force of gravity.   Our green-boned bodies were repeatedly bludgeoned as earth’s mighty pull took us down the rectangular maze of pipe squares that comprised that play equipment.   We went biddi-BING, biddi-BANG, biddi-OUCH!!!

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Similar to Elliott’s swing sets on his playground in Minnesota days.

If a kid really wanted to “get up in the world”…..all he or she would have to do is plant their boney lil bottom into the seat of a swing on our classic swing set.  A few steps of pushing back with your feet would set you into a gentle swinging motion that you could accelerate into higher pendulums of upward heights by “pumping” with your legs as you’d also pull hard on the suspended chain uprights with your arms.  Eventually, some kids almost became astronauts as they’d climb higher into the stratosphere with each magnificent power pull of their swing as it attempted to lift off from earth’s gravity into the great beyond.

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“Snowbank, here comes Elliott!!”

Wintertime proved to be the utmost in fun, when it came to our swing sets.  The vortex of our school building’s placement usually culminated in extra deep piles of snow near the swing sets.  Thick, fluffy, deep drifts of snow just waited for kids to launch themselves from their swing and into the air as they’d reconnect to earth in a fluffing sound of snow beneath them.

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Twixing teeter totter times!

There was just something tricky about our teeter totters on that playground.   Maybe it was the inbred prankster in all of us that allows the mischievous side to come out to antagonize or plot to make someone be launched into space by “cracking the whip” of your side of the teeter totter so that the other playmate’s butt is catapulted off the board’s seat.  Orrrrr, I’ve seen more than one “mean widdo kid” jump off his end of the teeter totter to get a devilish grin from seeing his play partner suffer bruised buns when their side of the board slams to the earth!! 😉

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True, those times were happy ones!

Ahhhhhh, for the good old days when playgrounds were made out of metal and wood and proved tons of fun for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 6th

September 6th…“DURING YOUR YOUNG DAYS, IN MINNESOTA, DID YOU EVER PLAY A GAME AT RECESS CALLED KICKBALL?”

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Recess King!

I’ll bet you didn’t know I was a valedictorian…..wellll, I was!!!  At least when it came to recess. 😉   I was always at “the head of my class” when it came to rocketing down those vast, double-decked stairs and bursting through the doors that led out to the playground and RECESS at our Grade School in Kiester, Minnesota.   Even the crows in the trees, that surrounded the playground, were “CAW”lling me out to have fun and take part in our ever-perennial game of KICKBALL!!!

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Elliott and his buddies were daily consumed by the excitement of this fun game!

Recess was the one subject in school where I was an “A” student!   And I’ll bet you can guess what my Grade Point average was in that fun subject, ya?  It was a 4 point “OHHHH boy, let’s play!”

#578=Grade School, Kiester, MN; July 1998
The playground area on the left is where Kickball games happened at Elliott’s old Grade School building in Kiester, Minnesota.   Elliott (on left) is showing two of his daughters where he enjoyed his young days in his beloved hometown.

The most popular game during recess, back in my day, was Kickball.  The game parallels baseball, only instead of a bat and a tiny ball, a person kicks a soccer or rubber ball and then runs the bases for a team point.  After the Winter snows had melted, Spring was warmly upon us once again.  The sparkling sunshine of those days empowered us with even more energy than kids our age already had coursing through our young veins.   The two “Captains” of the day had the rest of us conglomerate ourselves together as we lined up in front of them.  In succession, each “Captain” chose his respective team and we were then up for the day’s happy combat of Kickball.  Our teams were dominantly boys.  Girls either didn’t care to play, or we discouraged them from doing so for the sake of their woosy girly kicking attempts.  In retaliation, the poor girls scorned from our game would either stick their tongues out at us and stomp off to play with their girly friends….OR, some of the gals would become cheerleaders along the sidelines of our play area.

#1057a KHS 1963 Rosie 001
Elliott’s big sister, Rosemary, (lower right in this photo) was on the “A Team” Cheerleader Squad in 1963 at Kiester High School in Kiester, Minnesota.  We were the Blue n White Bulldogs 😉

It was the author, Oscar Wilde, who said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.   That quote tied in well with our mini-cheerleaders.  I can just see Lynn, Julie, Lori, Janet and other girls on the sidelines of our game each day as they imitated the “grown up” High School Bulldog Cheerleaders like my sister, Rosemary and her other “A Team” Squad that they’d seen cheering at football, basketball and other school functions of our town.  Standing in the outfield, I couldn’t help but smile as I’d see my wannabe girl classmates leap in the air and scream……

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Rah Rah Rah!!

“Doug can do it, Yes he can, If Doug can’t do it, Then Elliott can!!”  Their squeaky little girl voices would be cracking at the explosive decibels of their cheer!!

Our class was predominantly made up of farm families, therefore, most of us boys came to school in our heavy-duty leather work boots that were laced up to at least the ankle or mid-calf area.  So, when the game began, we all had the notion to boot that ball into the next county!  One of my classmates was Doug Trytten.  He was blessed with the height, muscle and build of his daddy and was a powerhouse of a player to reckon with.  I can still see the Pitcher turn to us in the outfield and yell, “BACK UP!!!  Doug’s up to plate!!”  We knew Doug’s legs were pure dynamite when it came to kicking that ball, so we DID back up in anticipation of an “outta the park” ball.   The Pitcher bends over and lobs the ball to the ground.  A few little dribbles in direction of the Home Plate while Doug “cocks that rifle” of his mighty leg and “ChaPOING!!!!” that ball almost goes into orbit while the tiny cheerleaders on the sidelines go berserk with prepubescent squeals of joy for their hunk of a hero as Doug lobs along the bases while us guys in the outer limits of the playground try to retrieve his “rubber meteor” and get it back to Home Plate.

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Kickball was a KICK!!!

I’m so glad that I enjoyed childhood in the BVG (Before Video Games) Generation!!!   It wasn’t just our thumbs that got exercise, but our entire bodies and BOY was it ever fun for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!

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Many of those tiny Kickball cheerleaders grew up to be “A Team” pros for the Kiester High School Graduating Class of 1972! 😉

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 5th

September 5th…“DID YOU EVER ENCOUNTER A BULLY AT YOUR GRADE SCHOOL IN MINNESOTA DAYS?”

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Turgid Tommy Tyrant

Seeing that this is a public forum, and not wanting to incur legal liabilities or hurt feelings, I will change the name of the person I’m about to “spear” in this story to “Turgid Tommy Tyrant”.

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Big bad boy booger blowing bovine equals a BULL!

 

 

Growing up in the culture of farm life, I found it interesting that in today’s topic, the person in question is referred to as a “BULLY”.  The male bovine animal is called a BULL.  We owned at least one or two of those over-muscled monsters on our family farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.  In most cases, from my personal observations of the male bovine, they are obnoxious, spit-spewing, nose-drooling, booger-snorting behemoths of titanic tons of testosterone.

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Turgid Tommy Tyrant

Those same treacherous traits were easily transferable to the human framework of “Turgid Tommy Tyrant”.    “Tommy” was a member of my class from Kindergarten through 7th Grade.  The following August, after school was out for the summer,  my family moved to Washington State, so I lost track of this person after 1967.

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Ready to explode!

 

I ponder if maybe a bull may have stepped on his head (or other parts) to have made “Tommy” so ornery and troublesome.  That young kid possessed a crazy, maniacal, wild look in his eyes all the time.  As far as the turgid part of his nickname……you never wanted to cross that youngster in the least of ways or else he’d BURST all over you and “go off like a firecracker”!

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Where was Tommy?

I noticed that that bully was not in the photos of the 1972 graduating class of my hometown.  Maybe he finally met his match, or stepped in front of his bovine namesake and got boosted into the stratosphere.  He’d deserve it.  I was always scared of that mean-spirited whippersnapper.  It may not sound very diplomatic of me or tolerant, by today’s politically correct standards………but those are the feelings of how I felt about a bully I knew, says this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 4th

September 4th…“WERE YOU A MEMBER OF A SERVICE CLUB WHEN IN HIGH SCHOOL?”

#1054 KHS Film 600 001
Elliott (in light colored shirt to left) is in the Projectionist’s Club at Kiester High School.

I have always been happily “addicted” to a good story.  Therefore, it’s easy to see why Hollywood, with its magical ways of stories on film, has had me spellbound with so many great sagas viewable on celluloid over the years.

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The handsome campus of Kiester High School in Kiester, Minnesota

My love for those good stories and movies culminated into an enjoyable experience in my 1966 – 67 school year.  In my beloved hometown of Kiester, Minnesota, we had a six year High School.  So, as I entered into my 7th Grade year of High School, I was eligible for membership into what was known at the “Projectionist’s Club”.   For my children and grandchildren’s sake, I’ll help you young ones understand that the club I belonged to was a necessity in our school life long before any of today’s high-caliber, digital technologies took over our common culture of life in media.  If a school classroom wanted to see an educational film (or even an older Hollywood movie),  the only way it could be shown to the students was by use of a machine known as a 16 millimeter Film Projector.

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Bell & Howell 16mm Film Projector

The 16mm film itself was wrapped onto a large metal reel that was clipped onto the front of the projector and an empty metal “take up” reel was at the back of that movie machine.  The concept was to thread that film through a variety of geared spools that moved the film along to pass by a strong light source that then shot the image through the projection lens and up onto a giant white screen at the other end of the classroom.  The adult mentor of our “Projectionist’s Club” was our highly respected and good-natured High School Principal, Mr. T. D. Tveten.   Under his wise tutelage, Mr. Tveten patiently taught us youngsters how to properly thread that film along the many geared spools and snap clips that would eventually allow the film to exit out the back of this magical device and be wound up onto the “take up reel” at the back of this impressive conglomeration of nuts n bolts.   Later models of film projectors had an “auto-load” feature that could be pressed down, at the first sprocket gear, and the film would load itself through the rest of the projector.

Detail of an old-fashioned 16mm film movie projector with the light on
Elliott, and his fellow club members, felt special.

Having inculcated us with the rudiments of film projecting, Mr. Tveten then sent us out into the various classrooms of both Grade School levels and High School to now be a special cog in the mechanization of education in showing movies.   I can only speak for myself, but I, for one, felt honored and special to be “chosen” as one responsible for bringing education and/or entertainment to the classrooms of our great school via our knowledge of the Bell & Howell 16mm movie film projector.  And, if the classroom we were heading to didn’t already have a white projection screen in their room, then we’d carry along a portable screen that folded out to a tripod setting for the movie to be projected onto.  The movie projection screens were usually quite large and white.  The surface of the screen, itself, was aluminized to reflect the film image more brilliantly.  Some movie screen surfaces were even impregnated with tiny glass beads for more brilliance in the image of the film being shown.

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At Battle Ground High School, Mr. Earl Harmon ran the Projectionist’s Club.

In 1967, upon our family’s arrival at our new hometown of Battle Ground, Washington, I eventually joined the Projectionist’s Club at Battle Ground High School.  For one class period per day, it was my duty (along with fellow club buddies) to transport our movie projector on a rolling cart across this very large campus for showing films to various classes.  Our mentor, in this film showing adventure, was our teacher, Mr. Earl Harmon.

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Elliott’s film buddy, Gordy Ostriem

 

 

On one fateful day, I had a “projector pal” coming with me on a film showing across campus from the Old East High Building.  He was an older classmate by the name of Gordy Ostriem.  Gordy was always fun to be around.  He was gregarious, with a great sense of humor and ohhh did the girls ever go “Gah Gah” over that handsome young buck.  I think, in another life, Gordy could’ve been a Hollywood producer by the way the girls flocked around him hoping he’d ask them for a date!  😉

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The poor thing was in pieces!!

As we were returning the cart and projector back to the Old East High Building, Gordy and myself stopped and chatted at the bottom of the stairs just inside the west entry.  We both knew, well and good, that proper protocol required that we first carry up the movie projector and then return to the bottom of the stairs for the rolling projector cart to carry that up last.  Alas, when you put two teenage brains together, ya barely have one full brain to think with.  As a result, we two brainless boys decided that we’d “save time” if we just carried the cart AND the projector (resting loosely on top) up the stairs at the same time.  NOT!!!!

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Mr. Harmon was steaming MAD!!

The “double duty” climb up those stairs began with each of us carrying his respective side of the cart with the wobbly (and expensive) film projector on top.  One of us boys made a wrong move and, in the blink of an eye, the expensive movie machine flew off the top of that cart and landed at the foot of the stairs with a horrendous CRASH!!!!  It was just like slow-motion in the movies as we saw the projector begin its descent back to earth!!!  We were both terrified as to what was going to happen to us now!!  And, to make matters worse, this old building had the loudest echoing hallways.  That nasty crash was heard for “miles” down that hall.  Sure enough, teachers, students and nearby office secretaries came out to see what in the world just exploded in what was , a few minutes ago, a silent sanction of learning repose.

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“Don’t kill me teacher!!” 😉

The worst was yet to come.  Our mentor/Projectionist Club Director (Mr. Harmon) came out of his classroom, at the top of those stairs,  just seething with anger because of what us two dangerous dimwits had just done!!!  “What in the world possessed you two to think you could keep that cart level up those stairs???”  Trying to tell him our time saving idea was only fuel for the fire as a ton of “humble pie” had to be eaten that day by this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!

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That was the end of THAT Film Projector!!!

 

 

 

 

POEM – “Our Quilter’s Hands”

Today I step aside from my usual writings to share a poem I created (with tears in my eyes) on the day our beloved mother, Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun, left this earth for the loving Shores of Heaven.   That day was June 23rd, 2017.  She enjoyed a wonderful 98 years and 3 months here on earth.  Oh sure, she experienced the natural bodily limitations of nearly a century of living, but this precious lady was the most thankful soul I’ve ever known!  I recall her saying on many occasions, “There’s always SOMETHING to be thankful for!!”  Amen!!, Mom.    Mom LOVED to quilt!  It was her creative way of giving to, not only her immediate family, but also to homeless shelters, little babies at her church, etc..

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1QHa
Elliott came home for his mother’s birthday every year on March 30th.

Our Quilter’s hands are silent now, Life’s tapestry complete.

The embroidery of her 98 years, Now lain at Jesus’ feet.

Her quilting frame lays silent, too, Just like her earthly frame,

No longer to hold, Its creators quilts, Signed with Clarice’s name.

1QHb
Even with fingers going numb, Clarice loved to get a quilt going on its frame.

Like a quilt, Life happened “one stitch at a time”, Each “color of thread” just right.

And like a quilt, She made us warm, As we’d bid each other “Good Night!”.

I’m sure that during her adventure of life, A “stitch” maybe came undone,

But with the Lord’s power, She’d “stitch up” life,  Her praise always went to God’s Son.

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Clarice in 1919.  Such a cutie she was!

The “frame” of her life, Began for Mom, On a snow-bound day in ’19.

The doctor came by horseback, Across that blizzard scene.

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Clarice on the lap of her beloved mother, Amanda.

The “batting” to make Mom’s “life quilt” warm, Came from her mother so dear.

Amanda’s love, For little Clarice, Was a weld that held them near.

Though times were hard, And sometimes sad, Our mother rose above,

She strove for all, That’s fair and kind, For within beat the heart of a dove.

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Clarice & Russell’s Wedding Day  June 21st, 1941

Clarice’s “life quilt”, Grew “block” by “block”, With her marriage to our dad,

And the “blocks” of four children, Graced their life, Two girls, a son and this lad.

That mother of ours, Had such a heart, For others she chose to live,

Therefore her quilts, Became a source, Of love for her to give.

Family, friends, Young mothers in need, Even homeless received her creation,

To know a soul, Would sleep warm that night, Gave our mother such sweet elation!

Though tears fill my eyes, Such joy fills my soul,

To have known and been loved by our mother,

Heaven knows this boy, Received the joy, Of her love that equaled no other!!!

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Clarice carried yellow roses on her wedding day in June of 1941.  To honor her memory and their cherished father, Elliott brought a dozen yellow roses when he tended and dressed up their grave located in Vancouver, Washington.

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 3rd

September 3rd…“WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR VERY FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN AT KIESTER PUBLIC SCHOOL?”

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No need yelling…Elliott was wide awake already 😉

My parents should have told the family rooster to take the day off on my first day of Kindergarten.  His robust, “COCK A DOODLE DOOOOOO!!!”, was totally unnecessary.   Geeee twilligers, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before Mr. Rowdy Rooster even peeked his eyes up over the edge of his nest in our chicken house.   I was beside myself with the excitement of stepping up from babyhood into the big kids world of school buses, playgrounds, color crayons and pencils the size of tree trunks!  No longer would I be relegated to just standing in the doorway of our house to gaze at our elder siblings rocketing out the front door for Marie Meyer’s bus each morning.  Now, I would join them in their adventure within the hallowed halls of…….”education”.

#66=Elliott, Lyle N.&Rosie in '50 Ford pickup,April '60
Elliott (with eyes closed) and big sister, Rosemary, are hopping in the pickup so that Cousin Lyle Noorlun can drive them to school.

Even though it felt like Kindergarten lasted all year long (speaking of it in the positive vein, of course), our beloved mother, Clarice, shared in later years that my first exposure to public education was a mere six week endeavor in our small farming town of Kiester, Minnesota.  Class commenced in April of 1960 and joyfully lasted to the end of that school year.

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Elliott entered the blue door, center, and found his Kindergarten classmates in the basement.

If our mother’s chauffeur service wasn’t available for getting me to my Kindergarten class on a certain day, then our Cousin Lyle Noorlun gave myself (and elder sister, Rosie) a ride in our black, 1950 Ford pickup.  Either way of transportation was fine with me, cause I was beyond excited to get to be part of the “older crowd” now!

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The word, “Kindergarten”, is from the German language and means…”a garden of children”.

The time had finally arrived.  I was growing up and entitled to now enter the world of my big brother, Lowell, big sister, Rosemary and our Cousin Lyle who had been living with us for over a year or so.

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Those Kindergarten pencils seemed to be the size of Elliott’s leg!! 😉

 

Between the experience of learning to hold those giant pencils, to our sweet, smiling teacher, Mrs. Wigern, I was ready, set to GO for learning!  Upon arriving at the school each day, my tiny scrubadubbed body was ushered to the southeast corner of this stately brick edifice of education that had been built back in around 1928.  With energy to spare, I bounded down those concrete stairs till I entered the super colorful “Kindergarten Clubhouse”…….well, at least to ME it felt like a clubhouse;  all cozy with tons of things to see and do.

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Elliott’s parents felt that an 8 pack of color crayons were enough for Kindergarten.

Accompanying me in learning the ABC’s, were my very own, brand new carton of Crayola Brand crayons.  Eight basic colors were just waiting for me to wear down those beautiful sharp tips as I colored every page Mrs. Wigern gave to us in our learning activities.  Inadvertently, I also learned something else in class…… indirectly.  That was my first taste of crayon envy as I saw some fellow students waltz into the classroom with a fat pack of 48 Crayons to use during THEIR school day!!!  And, my jealous drool salivated when an obvious “rich kid” hefted in, under his armpit, that massive, rectangular box of a whopping SIXTY FOUR pack of crayons that even had a crayon sharpener built into the back of the box.  Talk about Kindergarten Cravings!!! 😉

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RECESS!!  Whoopee!

 

 

Being that our classroom was located in the basement of the school, the windows were narrow and located high up on our walls.  The imprint upon my memory banks is of when I’d gaze out those windows during the older kid’s recess times.  About all I could see were kneecaps flying by housed in either dresses or blue jeans while those older students exuberantly made all the noise they could muster while enjoying the playground just outside our narrow, horizontal windows.

#1052 Kindergarten Teacher for El

Without a doubt, the real heroine of this tiny child saga was our beloved Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Henry Wigern.   I can still see that her greatest beauty was that she possessed, within her, a genuine loving heart and soul that she graciously shared with us little babes in her class each day.  When the graduating class of 1972 would look back to 1960, we truly were her “Garden Of Children”.  She was like a genteel “feminine farmer” who nurtured her “tiny plants” that each of our lives represented.   From her loving care, in those gentle days of the Spring of 1960, many young lives grew up to blossom where they were planted in life.  And, like a mature flower brings joy to all who gather in its beauty, the garden of children Mrs. Wigern cultivated, now bless uncountable others in the ripples of life’s stream.

#26.a=Candi & Elliott Noorlun(1959)
Little E. in the Big K.

As I reflect back over the many decades of life since Kindergarten, and why its indelible mark is made upon my psyche, I muse upon the concept that maybe I should have been a psychologist.  It has fascinated me, over the years, that I have an intense need to analyze every issue and event that I’ve encountered.  I guess I’m always looking for the deeper meaning in my life of the age old question……..why?  What is it in we human beings that chooses to embed some memories in our brain and let other moments in our history dissolve into the abyss of gray abandon within our brains.

I do know this, I shall always be grateful for God’s provision of loving parents, siblings and others who put me under the warmest care of Mrs. Henry Wigern who launched me into the educational flow for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 2nd

August 2nd…“DID YOUR PARENTS EVER SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS WHEN WORLD WAR TWO CAME TO AN END IN 1945?”

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Representatives of the Emperor of Japan, on board the USS Missouri Battleship in Tokyo Harbor, sign the formal document of surrender that brought peace again to the world

I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to have been alive back on September 2nd of 1945.   The exuberance must’ve been palpable to have witnessed the shear energy of elation that exuded from every freedom-loving man, woman and child in the world after the carnage of World War II finally came to an end!!!  There, in Japan’s Tokyo Harbor, sat the mighty USS Missouri Battleship.  Overhead, seemingly unending masses of American fighter planes and bombers flew in celebratory formations past the battleship as the delegates of the Japanese Empire put their signatures to the surrender document that once again brought peace to our world.

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For Uncle Sam & Country!

 

In today’s sharing, I want to let my young readers (and other friends that tag along here) to know of men from both sides of our Noorlun/Sletten families that served in that great conflagration.  The young men, of our respective clans, were part of the mighty force of 16 million men and women who, collectively, conquered the evil alliances that sought to domineer and dictate the world in ways that were the antithesis of all we believe in as Americans.  And, how very grateful to God we are that all of our family soldiers came home safely.  Not so, for other families, though.  Over 407,000 American men and women died in World War II, paying the ultimate price for the freedoms that we still all enjoy to this very day.

#261=Clarice Noorlun & siblings; circa 1943
Left to right: Uncle Robert (Bob) Sletten (US Army Tank Corps – Europe), Elliott’s mother, Clarice.  Clarice’s sister, Beverly Sletten Smith.  Uncle Delmaine (Del) Sletten (US Army Infantry – Italy).  This photo is from the year 1943 and Del had just finished Boot Camp training.

Our mother, Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun, saw both of her brothers serving in the Army during that giant, global conflict.  To my recollection, her brother, Bob, served in the Tank Corps in France and other areas of Europe during the war.  He even brought home an accordion that he found in a bombed out house in France.  He learned to play it and serenaded us at family picnics with his war souvenir.  Mom’s other brother, Del, served in the Army Infantry in the country of Italy and took part in the arduous mountain fighting against their very tenacious German enemies.   His regiment received the Presidential Citation Award for their gallant and valiant actions against the Germans.  In her reflections of the war, I remember my mother sharing with me…….“We (she and our father, Russell) were living on a farm called, “Cocklebur Hill”, just south of Vinje, Iowa.  When we got the news that the war was over, all I could think of was….NOW, Del and Bob can come home!”

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Elliott’s Uncle Doren E. Noorlun.  US Army –  Rank of Sargent

My father, Russell, saw two of his own brothers enter the US Army and served Uncle Sam as they left Minnesota for parts across the world from where they grew up.   If I remember, My Uncle Doren E. Noorlun served as a motorcycle messenger which was vital in getting documents and orders to the front lines of battle so that high-ranking officers could then make proper judgement calls for troops to move accordingly towards victory.  When I learned of Doren’s motorcycle-related duty during the War, it made so much sense to me, for he handled a Harley Davidson motorcycle like a professional.  Especially the time when he took tiny me for a ride that I loved so much!  I can still smell the leather saddlebags and hear the “scrunching” leather sound as we climbed on and off that handsome Harley of his.

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Elliott’s Uncle Erwin Noorlun.  US Army – Paratrooper.

My dad’s other brother, Erwin, chose a specialized path of adventure while in the US Army.   He joined the Paratroopers.  These were young men who went through very rigorous training AND, learned how to jump out of C47 aircraft (DC3 in civilian life) with parachutes on.  In order to earn your “Wings”, you had to gather the courage to make not just one, but FIVE different parachute jumps from out of that aircraft and land successfully.

#901 Russ Noorlun n siblings w G. Edwin. 1945 Clearwater, MN
Everyone celebrates the two Noorlun boys (Doren & Erwin) who came home safely from the war.

Even though my Grandfather, Edwin A. Noorlun, (far left in photo above) was a very quiet man, he STILL must’ve been beside himself with joy as his two sons came home safe and sound from their experiences while in the Army.   To have peace again in the world, after millions experienced such unimaginable death and destruction between 1941 and 1945……well…..such a celebration there must have been.  Forever shall there be a grateful heart for them all inside this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

NFS 9.2g