The last couple of weeks I’ve written about music. Lucy is one of the people in my life who epitomizes musical talent. When I first met her she sang with the Fargo Sweet Adelines. In the many years she sang with them she was part of multiple quartets and performed around the country. One of her personal triumphs was the trip the Fargo chorus made to England. Many times Lucy told me about the “little girl from Gardner, ND who sang in Royal Albert Hall in London.
Lucy’s love of and talent for music caught on with Judy, too. For years she sang with the Rochester chapter of Sweet Adelines and the church choir. Her highlight was singing Bach’s Mass in B Minor. The Rochester Chamber Chorale performed the piece again this year and we attended the concert. What a thrill it must have been to sing at such a beautiful event. These days Judy plays drum and sings with a local band called Ravensfire. A bodhrán is far easier to transport than a tuba.
Watch for letters about Lucy’s adventures with the Sweet Adelines.
Thirteen was a magical year for me. We left the farm. The day we left I looked out the door and made a vow to myself “Never never have anything to do with a farmer!!” Continue reading
There’s something special about meeting someone nice for the first time. If that spark is in the air, you want to know everything about the other person. By the end of the evening you know all sorts of things about the new someone. Those stories become the foundation for a new, wonderful, relationship.
That sharing of stories didn’t happen between my mother and me until I was over forty years old. So many things seemed more important for those first forty years. I needed my allowance a day early, or it was time to get a driver’s license, or my own life filled my brain. Then I met Judy and stories about the past no longer mattered. Stories about Judy became my goal.
Since Grace died twenty years ago we’ve visited the Kunkel farm where she grew up a couple of times, and I’ve often visited the Fairview Cemetery where she’s buried. In the summer of 2015 the extended family gathered at the Luehr plots in Fairview to bury Grace’s older sister. The wind blew off our hats, and swept our words onto the wheat fields. Grace and her parents experienced that same wind, on those same hills in the first half of the twentieth century.
As much as the climate was similar, just about everything else was different.
To my four dear sons, their wives + children,
I want to start this story with some events that shaped my life before I was born
The story I’m enclosing was told to my sister-in-law Elaine. It’s about the farm where we lived in Buckeye township south of Lake Williams, North Dakota. Continue reading