Listen to the Weekly Radio Readings by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member
Recorded June 2020
June 7, 2020: My Aunt Marilyn Kvien Flaten died in January of this year. Today would’ve been her 89th birthday and I’ll read a little bit from some of her memoirs she wrote for her girls.
I was born June 7, 1931 in Sheldon, North Dakota where my Dad worked farming for his aunt Mrs. Opdahl. I was born at home. Mother had a hard time in delivery as I was born breach. I was baptized Marilyn Olive Kvien, Marilyn after Myrtle and Olive after Olaf.
In the fall of 1931 we moved back to Pinecreek where we lived at Grandma and Grandpa Heskin’s till Dad bought the Steneus Benson farm. Dad grain farmed and also had cows, pigs, and chickens. We had about 10 – 15 cows. Some calved at different times of the year so we had some milking at all times. We separated the milk. Then the milk was used to drink and also was fed to the young calves. When we had enough we fed the pigs some, too. The cream was used for cooking and for cream and bread. Also we would make ice cream.
Most of the cream was sold at the creamery. We churned our own cream to make butter. This was a job we did not enjoy. The cream was put in a wooden barrel churn and stood on a stand. The barrel had a crank which turned the churn. We would sometimes have to sit and crank this for hours before we got butter. Then we drained out the buttermilk and washed the butter in cold water and then added salt. In the summer when the cows ate grass, the cream was yellow and made nice yellow butter. In the winter it was pale colored so we added food color to the butter.
We always had chickens. We had eggs to eat and the eggs were sold at Knutson Store in Pinecreek. The eggs we exchanged for any other groceries we needed. Also if we had more butter than we needed this was also traded at the store. This store sold gas, groceries, yard goods, some overalls, gloves, shoes.
We raised pigs to have for butchering. Our main meat was pork and deer meat. Mother would can the meat as we had no freezers. Also sidepork and hams were cured and smoked. I get hungry when I think of that good home-cured ham and bacon. We never had beef to eat. When a calf got big enough to butcher it had to be sold to get some money. Times were very tough. No one had much money, but they all helped each other…listen for the rest of the story.
June 14, 2020: Today’s story was submitted by Linda Blumer for inclusion in the Greenbush Centennial Book in 2005.
In the years following the stock market crash in 1929, the United States suffered through deep depression. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Policy enacted an Agricultural Adjustment Act in 1933, which initiated crop and marketing controls. In 1935, the AAA was amended to provide government funds for the purchase and removal of excess agriculture products.
One surplus crop was cotton in the southern United States and under AAA act, the government purchased the excess cotton and nationwide project of providing cotton products for the low- income population was born.
The government bought the unsold excess cotton and donated it to each state and distribution was dispersed through the local County Extension Offices. This cotton was used to construct coats, dresses, overalls, and mattresses, which in turn were offered to needy families in each county for little or no cost.
In the later years of the 1930’s, it would seem the economy was slowly recovering from the great crash. But many families, especially in the rural areas of America were still enduring, hard times. In actuality, these farm families had more opportunities to provide for themselves than the population in the city or urban areas of our country. The family farms provided produce from their gardens, milk and meat from farm animals, but they had very little cash money.
Mr. Wangness was the Roseau County Extension agent during this time. He led a group of several residents to St. Paul to request the needed cotton for Roseau County residents and also learned the process of making mattresses. Albert O. Anderson represented Greenbush.
All city and rural residents were eligible to receive the materials if their income was less than $500.00 per year. Local city communities and officials soon realized very few families made $500.00… listen for the rest of the story.
June 21, 2020: Last week I read about a mattress factory in Greenbush during the 1940s, which was made possible by the government’s purchase of surplus cotton from the South, and distributed to the states to help low-income families during the Depression.
Genevieve Chrzanowski Gonshorowski, Robert E. Nelson, and Maybelle Schaller Wilson share memories of their first mattresses … listen for the rest of the story.
June 28, 2020: Today’s story was submitted by Peter Quist for the Greenbush Centennial Book in 2005.
Alice Quist first worked for her uncle, Sankey Dufwa, in his café as a young lady. Alice moved to Greenbush from Karlstad in 1944 with her son Peter. Merle “Bobby” was in the Navy at the time. The family had moved to Karlstad following the death of her husband, Peter Quist. She opened a small café known as Alice’s Eat Shop on the east side of Main Street just north of Temanson Chevrolet. Emma Nesteby and Alice Throngaard were part of the kitchen help. Some of the waitresses were Mabel Flaten, Thelma (Solom) Morrude, and Rose Marie Kukowski, who was probably in High School then.
They lived almost directly across Main Street in a small building that was owned by O.K. Christianson. After that, she and her sister Clara Mortrude owned and operated the M&Q. In 1946, she married Matt Barto. Sometime after the marriage, Alice and Clara severed their partnership. Matt and Alice built a new building on the site previously occupied by their residence and opened the Coffee Shop.
The name Coffee Shop was somewhat a misnomer because the business was actually a hotel with a small café consisting of a horseshoe counter and five booths. Eight rooms were located on the second floor of the building. Seven of the rooms shared a single bathroom and the eighth, which we regarded as the “luxury” room had its own bathroom. The rooms rented for $2 a night although there were special rates ($7.00 a week) for those who stayed a week or longer…listen for the rest of the story.
Thank you to for letting us share the history of our county with your listeners.