We have retitled the “Weekly Radio Readings” to “Historic Happenings.” Each week’s story will be posted in its entirety. The stories can also be heard Sunday mornings around 10 am on WILD 102’s “Looking Back in Time” program.
Weekly radio stories are researched, compiled, and read by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member.
Available recordings are also linked to the Wild 102 “Looking Back in Time” page.
March 19, 2023
My (Sheila Winstead’s) dad, Gilmore Flaten, wrote this story down about a blizzard he experienced many years ago.
It was March 1950. Bert Corneliusen and his cousin Irene Corneliusen came over to our house in Pinecreek for a visit with my sister Irene and myself. We decided to go to Roseau to a movie on this Sunday evening. It was snowing a little but didn’t look too bad. When we got 10 miles down the road it started getting pretty bad, hard to see the road, the blowing snow was now getting to the engine. It started missing and finally stopped. We had high banks of snow on the side of the road so the snow was blowing over the top of the car. It was getting so bad that we could just barely see the highline poles and the fence along the road at times. We knew we had better stay with the car waiting for the storm to get over. The wind was so strong we could feel the car rocking. We felt that for quite a while until the snow went right over the car, then everything got quiet. The snow on the leeward side of the car left a space so we could open the door and get out. We had some grain sacks in the car we could put our feet in so we could stay a little warmer.
It got pretty dark in the car and it didn’t make any difference when night came. We sat in the car all night. We started getting a little hungry in the morning. Bert had a little package of cookies in the back window so that was our supper and breakfast. We didn’t have any idea when this was going to be over so we just stayed in the car, telling stories and lying and bragging to each other.
This went on until 3:00 Monday afternoon, when we heard noise behind the car, and went out to check. It was Clarence Wold with a cat and dozer checking the road for stranded cars and people. Very nice to see him. He said you better come over to my place until the storm is over. We walked behind the dozer for about a mile. We stayed at his place for 2 days until the storm settled down.
Then they were kind of getting low on food. They had a big family and there were 8 extra people at their home who were snowbound. The 2 Adams brothers from the Roseau Times-Region were there. They had got to Wolds’ before we arrived. The storm was kinda letting off Wednesday morning, but snowplows could not get through. Someone called Roseau to have a car come to Fox and pick us up. We walked 4 miles to Fox. The snow was so deep we walked over the top of the cars that were stranded.
Iver Lislegard had his car stuck about 1 mile south of our car. He was just east of the Oscar Johnson farm so he walked there that evening. When he got there no one was at home. They were out visiting the neighbors. He sat and warmed for a little while, then went out to the barn and fed the cows so they would be in good shape. I don’t know when the Johnson family came home.
When we got to Roseau, Bill Adams took his plane out to Clarence Wold’s and picked up the girls and took them to Roseau. Bert and I stayed with Clarence Corneliusen. I’m not sure how long it took to get the road open to our car, but it was at least 4 days. The V-plows could not open the roads. They had to have the rotary plow come from Crookston. It was quite a job to get the car going. We had to have it pulled in and put in the Chevrolet garage. Under the hood the snow was just packed. You could not even see the engine. Bert and I spent most of our time in the VFW. The manager was George Rugland. He was a great storyteller so with our vodka and story time, time went fast.
That was quite an experience.
Thank you to (www.roseauonline.com) for letting us share our county’s history with your listeners by donating air time, studio time, and production staff every week.