The Bernie Maler Farm

Sheet071Last month Lucy’s letter discussed their first house. In this letter, Jim discusses the farm his mother and dad moved to at the same time he headed off to Junior College. Jim’s description of the house reminds me of what my grandmother and grandfather purchased in Kidder County, North Dakota. I cannot imagine moving into a place like any of them. When people tell me about camping, which Judy and I used to love doing, I tell them that now we consider Motel 6 roughing it, and we never go that cheap.

Jim writes:

One mile south of Bisbee is the Bernie Maler farm. It consists of four quarters of land (640 acres). One of those quarters was six miles east of Bisbee and was primarily pasture and hay land with a creek running thru it. Eventually about 60 acres would be tilled and put into crop. The only building on the farm that was in any presentable shape was the barn. The sheds, graineries were in a miserable state of disrepair and all were in sad need of paint!

The only water available was from a well with a hand pump located near the barn. The land had been rented out for some years and the buildings left without tenants. The house, especially, was a dismal disappointment needing paint inside and out, cracked plaster and uneven floors … Continue reading

Best School Friend

Mark is on the far right corner.

Mark is in the right corner.

Mark was a close friend even before we were born. My mother was pregnant with me, her first child. Mark’s mom, Esther, was an experienced mom pregnant with her third child. They met at the local store, Peterson’s Grocery, on second street, about three blocks from the Pink House. That store is where my mother, nineteen years old, probably learned the important things about getting ready to have a baby.

Mark and I went to the same grade school and high school. We became very close friends during those years. We had the same teachers, friends and experiences for years. His phone number was 252-3024, somehow that number comes to mind right away as I write this. He had two older sisters, Joanie and Susie. They seemed so much older then. They may have been in senior high when we were in grade school.

They lived in rented housing and moved several times, always in the same quadrant of town as I lived in. No matter where they lived Esther always welcomed me with a smile and cookies. Mark and I enjoyed a lot of the same things, science, radios, music, reading, and whatever it is that young boys do.

They threw parties for us in junior high; overnight pizza parties! They would cook up a couple of pizzas. Mark , our buddy John and I would stay up ’till late, talking and playing games. His parents always had board games on hand for us. That and records. They even had a piano! A favorite pastime was to go sledding in the winter. (Well, not really sledding, but who wants to say cardboarding?) Schwartz’s was always the home of choice to go to afterwards because they would have hot chocolate and cookies waiting. After one particularly long winter event at “Cardboard Hill” we stood my frozen jeans up over the hot air register in their living room and watched them thaw out.

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