As a youngster my grandparents Andrew and Minnie Olson attended the Estensen family reunion as often as there was one held in the community. I came across a newspaper clipping from a reunion that was at Lake Campbell near Brookings SD, decided to share this with my blogging friends. I’m sure there are many names for everyone to remember. I recall attending with my grandparents, even as a youngster it was a fun event. My wife and I attended our last Estenson reunion it Renner South Dakota in the early 1970s.
Family reunion were annual events at one time, or as close to annual as you could get. Reunions seem to be out of style in many families today. My wife came from a large family in Michigan and she loved to return to the family reunions in July as often as we could. I realized those reunions were very important to her so we attended often, even though it was a long drive. This year she didn’t want to wait until July so she went to the reunion in April, not to Michigan but that Huge Glorious Reunion where the streets are paved with gold. There is an eternal reunion with friends and family waiting, that is truly out of this world.
I have known this country music legend since we were teenagers and caddies at the Watertown Country Club, near Watertown South Dakota. Sherwin devoted his entire life to entertaining people with real music, Country Music. Listen and enjoy or visit him at one of the places on his schedule
I have to laugh my furry little old butt off at times. They talk to me like I’m a person but those two still think I’m a cat! Lee is such a pushover, I knew if I acted real sickly and underfed he would bring me into the house and that’s exactly what he did, many, many years ago. Rose is gentle and filled with love, as every good mother should be, she is my baby.
I worry about Rose, her health hasn’t been very good lately, she is suffering from every lung condition in the books, along with diabetes, even dementia. That makes days very hard for her, so I try to be really nice to her and show her lots of love and affection. I sleep by her feet all night and always sit on her lap in the recliner, she pets me constantly.
Lee doesn’t seem to be the Rock Hudson, she thought she was getting when she married him way, way back. I love to just sit with Rose and I know my presence makes her feel good, which is very comforting to me. She yells at me at times, about not to do certain things but I know she doesn’t really mean it. She hollers, “watch your claws a lot,” while I make biscuits on her stomach, or scratch the furniture. That’s what cats do, for crying ‘meow’ out loud!
Lee is always coming up with special names for me like Dumb cat, or Damn cat, my name is Princess. I have a Royal Countenance about me, everyone can see that. If Rose asks, “Did you feed Princess?” He always says something really dumb, like, ‘have you got an alligator?’ He thinks his so-called Terms of Endearment are really cute. When he does these things I have something special for him. I have the power to make a sore pop out in either one of his nostrils, or both, like an ingrown hair and it will stay sore for 3 or 4 days. I could put a boil on his butt too. He is very fortunate, I did like him a little at one time.
The hair on my back almost stands straight up when he forgets to empty the cat box on time, which seems to be quite regular. I thought he was going to have a heart attack one day, I pretended to do my job next to the Box. I got a big laugh out of that one. He was screaming at Rose, “Your cat is peeing on the floor.” Rose knew better because she knows me and trusts me in a special way. Lee asked, “Why has it been my job to empty the cat box since day one?” You brought her to the house! Why should I be punished for doing a good deed?
My tired, sore old body was still in bed at 9:00 AM today. I had a busy, half scary, long night thinking about our families, my own and my wife’s family, and the many cats our families have had through the years.
This following message came to me in a dream. My mother-in-law passed away at age 80, that was approximately 17 years ago. She did make a promise to me, it was something like this. If there was a way, ‘she would make life very uncomfortable for me, if I didn’t treat her daughter Rose right.’ It was more or less a threat. No, It was a threat, “You be good to my baby girl or you will have no peace and rest in your lifetime.
It then hit me, I brought princess into the house 17 years ago, shortly after my mother-in-law passed away. It surely can’t be possible! Did she come back as Princess? Her hair was snow-white, like the cat. If that is the case she wasn’t in limbo long, that is understandable, the keeper of the gate just looked the other way.
Rose, “I will feed Princess and take the cat box out right now.”
What kinds of experiences stir emotions for the past within you?
Lake Poinsett Nostalgia
The word that was suggested for the one-word prompt recently was nostalgia. It was a photo challenge, but the photos I’m using here are not current. The beautiful lake named Lake Poinsett in northeastern South Dakota is where I will take you on my nostalgia trip. I was born in 1940 and grew up witnessing many changes at the lake. With this post, I hope to take a short trip back down memory lane and recall different things about Lake Poinsett. It has seen dramatic changes in usage, population, residences, year around homes, food, drink, bait and tackle places and a multitude of water level changes.
We lived on a farm less than a mile south of the lake, our parents were Frank and Frances Olson. A lot of time was spent either fishing or swimming in our lives. Our great uncle Simon Hoel built a stone house on the hill just east of the park in 1885, part of it still stands. My grandfather Andrew Olson helped him farm the land.
Simon Hoel Olson home 1880’s
Tall, virgin prairie grass grew for a mile along the south shore of the lake. Simon and my grandfather cut hay from it for forty years. There is a beautiful state park on that land today, trees and campgrounds everywhere.
A few tall original cottonwood trees were growing along the shoreline but through the centuries ice knocked most of them down. A wagon trail can still be seen in places, it went to the east boundary fence and on for another mile to the Hendrickson farm, what is now Runia’s farm. There were no homes or cabins on any of that land.
Just to the west of the State Park property, there was a very lively, noisy dance hall named Smith’s place. It flourished in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was a very lively dance hall, where many big name bands played as they traveled through this area. We knew Charlie Smith the owner and his family very well. Their daughter babysat the three Olson boys on occasion.Karlton, Harlan, and Leland. My brother Harlan was a banker, writer, and collector of artifacts who helped start the Museum at the state park entrance. Harlan loved every minute of it, even the many volunteer hours. He passed away on March 8, 2016. I can see him searching for artifacts on old Heavenly terrain now. I would imagine there are some very nice artifacts to be found near those streets of gold.
Smith’s dance hall and the property was all sold to the Methodist Church, they may have become the first church to have a beer license. The original dance hall building where Lawrence Welk played still stands, in the same place on that stretch of shoreline. Today it is used for meetings and as a dining hall, that says something for old-time construction.
Arlington Beach, the next place west was run by a lady named Ann Oburn. This picture is of the Lake Poinsett water slide in the 1920’s. I think it was located at Arlington Beach, as far as I can tell from looking at the Hills and the trees in the background. I will be glad to edit this story and change the location if it is wrong. Ann Oburn had a few rental cabins, cafe and bait house.
Bud Mueller from Estelline gave boat rides at Arlington Beach in the 1940’s. This was his fancy boat.
In the nineteen forties or early fifties it was purchased by Russ Weiland and his wife who operated it for many years. Russ was possibly the original Evinrude Johnson dealer in this part of the country. His daughter and son-in-law relocated Weiland Marine, which is now on Highway 81.
West from there were only two or three houses until you got to the little hill top farm with the goats. I think Madsens lived there. There were only two cabins between there and Mundt’s Resort. Mundt’s had several small cabins that they rented out. There was a farm between Mundt’s resort and what is now Pier 81.
There was another dance hall that later became Wieland Marine on Highway 81 just north of the corner by the Poinsett Cemetery, it closed after the War. It was near a gas station, some called Hilltop, others Ann’s Place. She served lunches and usually had a lively crowd, Ann and Clyde served beverages to those with the most discriminating tastes. The place later became Ole’s repair shop. It was Gene’s repair until Weiland Marine bought it.
Ernie Edwards moved a building to the lake and started Edwards resort, possibly in the late 40s early 50s. Edwards served good food and had a bar and live music.
Edwards Resort had dances through the 50s 60s and 70s mainly Country Western and Rock and Roll music. They usually had very good crowds. I believe it was sometime in the 1960’s a truck driver must have gone to sleep at the wheel and he tipped his semi over in Edwards parking lot wrecking cars and almost taking out the gas pumps. I can’t imagine the call that fellow had to make to his company explaining he just wrecked a few dozen cars while tipping over at a crowded dance. I was there that night I recall there was a lot of commotion. It was a miracle that no one was even hurt, many people were outside.
On the west side of the Lake, there was a resort called Sportsmans Lodge owned by Nessen’s, the Hawley family was there too, it burned down. It was a very long large building with a restaurant, I believe they also had cabins and rooms in the lodge that they rented out.
What is now Lakeview Resort was a small resort opened by Ole Mikelmier. It later became Fish Haven, home of the famous Carp Sandwich. They had a secret BBQ sauce, It brought out the best in a big chunk of carp. From Lakeview North, there were two or three homes.
The Grape Farm had no homes until the first one was built right on the point in the 1950s. From there North to Saarinen’s the state purchased part of the shoreline and later sold Lots to private owners. That closed it for skinny dipping. From Saarinen’s Point North there were a few homes because it was close to the highway.
Nitteberg’s Resort was just east of the Stonebridge. That highway washed out west of the bridge in the spring of 1969 as flood waters from over a hundred inches of snow came in from the river and Dry Lake.
Nittebergs must have had a couple dozen summer cabins that they rented out along with boats and bait. They also had some carnival rides in the summer months and afternoon roller skating in the dance hall. The dance hall was built over the lake at one time, but ice damage made them move it back to shore. It was a family run business.The brothers John and Clair ran the bar and maintained most jukeboxes, pinball and other game machines in a large area, their sisters operated the cafe.
The Dance Hall was very busy and a lively location during the 50’s and 60’s and into the 70’s. There was all types of music, old time music was the most popular for many years, until Rock and Roll moved in. There were many big-name bands playing at Nittebergs Resort in the early years, the Model T and Model A days. Lawrence Welk who was from Strasburg N D played there in his younger days. Miron Florin from Rosholt South Dakota managed the Welk music when Lawrence stepped down.
Leo Fortin’s Orchestra was a regular at Nitteberg’s Stone Bridge Resort for many years.
They had Thursday night dances in the fifties. I recall our football coach at Castlewood kept telling us “you guys have a good football team but just think how much better you would be if you didn’t spend all night at the dance on Thursday night.” I guess he had a good point there.
We danced a lot to Big Tiny Little’s Band who played with The Lawrence Welk Orchestra. He was born in Worthington Minnesota and was a regular there in the 50s and 60s.
Dry Lake was north of The Stone Bridge. In the dryer years, it was full of muskrat houses. The Game Warden Ed White with his Smokey the Bear Hat would fire a shotgun to open the trapping season. From what I have heard it was like the Boomer Sooner land rush in Oklahoma. Trappers made a mad dash to claim as many muskrat houses as they could.
The County’s had a bounty on pocket gophers at one time. It was rumored that some entrepreneurial muskrat Trappers took the front paws from their muskrats and turned them in to claim pocket gopher bounty in the spring.
When you went east from Nittebergs cabins, there were only one or two houses, the one right below the hill was named ‘The Mouse Turd Inn.” The west side of that hill was real steep, just a dirt trail going straight up, many Model A’s some Model T’s, later newer cars had drivers who challenged each other to make it to the top. The dust really flew! I think some got sideways on occasion and rolled back down the hill.
The resort on top of the hill was known as Jim Bagley’s place. A long wooden staircase went down the hill to the lake. They also had a café, fishing equipment, and bait. The name was changed to the Hilltop Resort later when owned by Louie Morales and his family. Louie rented out boats at Thomas Lake one summer when perch fishing was hot.
Just down the hill, east of the hilltop resort, there were three or four homes before you got to Hammer’s pasture and to the outlet of Lake Poinsett, that led to Stark’s Bridge where flood gates were installed. There have been several fish winterkill years when oxygen in the lake got so low most of the fish died. Dead fish in windrows around the lake at one time. The worst spring brought out the National Guard with front-end loaders, trucks and lots of shovels.
The Bakke farm and Cemetery took up most of the east shore. Two homes were on the hill overlooking Prestrude’s Landing. Lots were developed and cabins built to the south of the boat landing in the 1950’s. Goulds opened a beer and bait place there in the late forties but it didn’t last. The next mile of shoreline was only recently developed by the Hansen family. Going south from the Hansen development to Hendricksons or now Runia’s there were two cabins.
This has been a rather selfish nostalgic trip around Lake Poinsett. I’m really young to have nostalgia for the water slide or for the swimming attire. So actually I feel a lot younger by taking this trip back just a few years before my time. I thought I would like to share these memories of Lake Poinsett while I’m still able to share them. The changes at Lake Poinsett are hard to imagine if you didn’t witness them. The number of very large homes today must reflect a great prosperity in this country or something?
At night the lake and all of the country side was darker than pitch, this was in 1945, before REA, no all night yard lights, no electric lights period. We played cards with light from a kerosene lamp on the table. This country at night was a whole lot darker, the small glow in the sky to the west was Lake Norden’s lights. The smaller glow to the east was Estelline in the Sioux River bottom. You could barely make out a tiny glow for Brookings, that was a long way off. You might say nights were a bonus for ghosts and goblins in those days. On a night with no moon or stars, you best hope your lantern did not go dry. Can you imagine going back to live in those times?
NOVEMBER 15, 2016 / LELAND OLSON HOEL / EDIT
Swimming attire has gone from one extreme to the other throughout the centuries. In classical antiquity, swimming and bathing were done naked. The swimming suits here from the 1920’s seem a wee bit extreme, the weight of the wet swim suit could pull you under. Now close to 100 years later we saw, peered, peeked our way through the teeny weeny, polka dot bikini era, we are almost back to swimming in the nude again.
What goes around comes around, with nostalgia or Murphy’s Law.
Somebody in our family got the idea a while back that it would be just great if we all got together and had dinner out. Of course, the first question that came up, where to eat? Some wanted to go to McDonald’s, others wanted Chinese buffet. We had a few younger ones voted for Italian. One grandson with the oriental wife wanted Japanese sushi. I shouted, “this is getting us nowhere, we are all going to go to Ralph’s Gizzard Kitchen and pull a few tables together and enjoy a family dinner.”
We all finally got seated at Ralph’s Place. I ask, “how about ordering.” Each one wants to order from the menu by themselves. Immediately I shouted, “No way José, this is not going to work, it will drain my bank account.” We can all have the special and I will pick up the check. If each one wants to order separately we will go Dutch. No one wanted the special, as I thought, with a breath of relief. Orders finally were all placed, waitresses started bringing out all the different meals.
Everyone was relaxing and enjoying their meals when we heard some police siren’s out in front. Pretty soon a policeman walked in the door with this big old fellow, who looked like a lumberjack. The policeman asked, “Is somebody here named Leland Olson.” That’s me, I replied.” The policeman says, “This old geezer was wandering around in the middle of the street looking for a restaurant called Ralph’s Gizzard Kitchen. Nobody in town seemed to know where it was.” Whoever picked this place to eat must not get out of the house much! So anyway, “This fellow claims to be the great-grandfather of Leland Olson. He got the message to meet everyone here for a family dinner.”
I jumped up and gave my great-grandpa a big old hug, you look great, you died in 1914. I started banging a glass with my spoon. Can I have everyone’s attention, “This is great-grandpa Ole Hoel, he came all the way from Canada to have dinner with us.” Sit down and join us. So, “how have things been going with you grandpa, what would you like to eat?” Salted herring and lutefisk are out of season right now. They have excellent walleye fillets, I heard you always liked fish, we all did. Grandpa said, “That will be just fine, “but I don’t seem to have the appetite I had working in the woods all day.”
I asked, “How long can you stay,” They said, ‘until dinner is over’ “I thought maybe you could come out to the house and stay awhile.” ‘Well, that is not part of the deal.’ I’m here to just have dinner with you and your family, to see what you all look and act like.’ “Frankly, I am shocked, It looks like you all have a lot of confusion and bad manners.” “You should all be eating at one table at your home.” ‘Grandpa things change.’ He says, “Don’t know why things got to change that much, only been a little over a 100 years or so since I left here.”
So I asked him, “If you’re leaving after dinner, I hope you’re not walking all the way back to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.” No way, “Walk that far, you nuts? I did it once in 1905! “I will be returned to Canada the same way I got here. Something beamed me up, I didn’t have my Derby hat so they beamed me back down, got my hat, they beamed me up again and it brought me here. I hope they get it right going back.”
Thanks for supper, it was nice to meet your family. Leland, What did you say you do? Blogging? Never heard of it, “Now logging, I know a lot about log………
Fears evolve over time. What is one fear you’ve conquered?
I will have to say one fear that I finally conquered was getting married. I have had talks with myself through the years. They would go something like this. Hey self, ‘yes,’ “you sure your not gay,” ‘self, of course not, no way.’
I played high school football and had several different dates in high school. This one young lady and I had a bad case of puppy love that lasted about a year. Then a cheerleader from another town came along and that became more serious. She sent me a Dear John letter while I was in boot camp. I got to thinking later, never hit many home runs in high school, then I didn’t play baseball either. A second cheerleader was very special, she kept in touch with me while I served two years in Japan. I should have been far more considerate of her, for my future and hers.
I told myself dad beating up on my mother every other week had no bearing on me and my female relationships. My stepdad was a sex pervert who liked boys, that should’ve had nothing to do with me, he might have been an altar boy at one time.
I got sent to Japan for two years in 1960, a young lady working in our squadron coffee shop and I knew at first glance, THIS IS IT, we grew to be so close, it was as if our souls became one. In 1962 we said goodbye to each other at the train station in Tokyo. Half of me flew home the next day, the other half never made it back to the USA. We exchanged letters for a long time.
In 1964 my back was broken in a car wreck. If you are lucky enough to get your neck broke there can be some sex after spinal cord injury. My fracture was in the thoracic-lumbar region, bowel, bladder, sex and one leg affected. I have often thought, that was my payback for being inconsiderate of my female friends and a coward when it came to marriage.
I tried living the life of a hermit for a couple years in Northern Minnesota. If you want to be a hermit, you better like lonely, that’s about all I can say about the hermit lifestyle.
My cousin like a brother was driving a refrigerated truck from Sioux Falls South Dakota to Arizona and California every week. He talked me into working with him. If we had a load of meat for Tucson Arizona, we stayed at the same motel every week, it was nice and they had a pool, bar, and a small dance floor. That is where I met my wife to be, this was 1969. At that time the family was even starting to look at me with that look in their eyes, is he or isn’t he, like marriage is supposed to be for everyone? I don’t think so!
Rose Marie and I dated, parked out in the desert and talked while listening to the Martians, desert sounds, etc. We did lots of dancing, some drinking, then decided to get married, sort of a take care of each other in old age deal, that’s now where were at. She had four daughters and a grandson when we got married. After 44 years I have lost track of how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren there are.
My life has been under constant change living with a spinal injury. I lose more ability to do things almost daily. It is an effort anymore just to do daily things that everyone takes for granted. Life is still good and it will go on as long as the creator has something for us to do. We may as well make the most each new day that we are given.
An older brother said one time, “married men live longer,” ‘no,’ “it just seems longer.” He said it as a joke but I do believe married man might live a little longer.
Rose Marie’s Brother David Bowers took us on a trip to Hawaii in 1980. We stayed out at Makaha in a two bedroom condo for two weeks, rented a car and saw everything there was to see on the main island. It was a super fantabulous trip for sure. David’s wife Renee, their daughter Renee Junior and David’s father met us when we got off the plane at Honolulu. There was a swimming pool right outside of our bedroom window. We took in the usual Luau, ate on the Oceana, went on a disco Cruise, visited Brigham Young University, pineapple and Sugar plantations, Sea World the zoo, Wiamea Falls. The huge waves on the North Shore, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, the whole ball of Wax.
The world is going to hell in a hand basket! Speed talking should not get my hackles up, make me want to throw something at the TV set. Listening to talk on a soap opera you can understand, every word of it. That is because they are expounding on the sound of each word, so you hear and see their great acting ability. The love scene language may not be all understandable, as the scene reaches a crescendo with drums, heavy breathing, and music.
If you watch the news or hear a commercial. The speech is so rapid you are lucky to understand every tenth word. It resembles automatic weapons fire. You have no idea what the supersonic motor mouths are talking about, as they fill your brain with verbal bullets. They make an auctioneer sound like a slow talker with a lisp. The networks evidently pay by the word or it cost megabucks per second to use that precious airtime. The speed talkers want to get their money’s worth, that is more than evident.
A faithful deserving public should get together and boycott all the networks using speed talkers.