Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Some time ago, I posted a transcription of a journal that my great aunt wrote a few years before she died. After reading it, I learned things about my great aunt that I never expected. Today, I came across a newspaper article from 1941 that mentioned several of my relatives, including my mother and my great aunt.

Probably like most of us, it was hard to think of my parents as once having been children, let alone young adults. This newspaper article, like Aunt Eleanor's journal, revealed a glimpse of her and my mother when they both were young. My mom was only 18 and Aunt Eleanor was 36.

On July 17 and 18 in 1941 in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, my mother played the role of a riverboat sweetheart in a musical called "A Hillbilly Wedding." It's hard to think of your mother as a sweetheart, let alone a riverboat sweetheart. The names of some of the other characters were quite amusing as well as revealing that a sense of humor has been with us for a long, long, long ... time.

I was actually glad that my mother didn't perform the roles of Pucklewortz, Judge Itchiebritches, Ura Pumpkinhead, Ima Goosepimple, Lizzie Zilch, or Misery. Ima Goosepimple hit a bit too close to home.

When my husband and I were trying to agree on a boy's name and a girl's name after I learned that I was pregnant with out first child. We were so far apart in agreeing on the name for our daughter should we have one. I got crazy and suggested that we name our daughter, Ida, Inn, Dee or Rea. Since my married name is Kline, we both laughed and finally were able to agree on a more suitable name for our daughter.

The article would seem to imply that the musical was brief as there were "specialty acts" that followed. One such act was the Peterson quartet. My mother had cousins named Peterson, but in Minnesota, Peterson was like Smith.

Another act was square dancers. One of the couples was Clarence Peterson and Eleanor Stoutenburg. My great aunt had been a widow a bit over a year when this article was printed. Aunt Eleanor never remarried after her husband's death. Her journal gave no indication that she was a square dancer, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that she was still enjoying life.

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