Gil & Hazel Lindgren Our Families Our Memories

I Remember Carleton Lindgren

Subject: Carleton Lindgren

Family Map: Frank and Amy -> Gilmore and Haze -> Dick, Ted, Carleton, Jon

Author: Jay Lindgren

Family Map: Carleton Lindgren -> Jay Lindgren

What I remember about my father is that in his eyes, life seemed to be one big science experiment.  Experiments were conducted on nearly a daily basis, frequently with several running concurrently.  The experiments were interesting, educational and sometimes dangerous and terrifying.  

Carleton’s undergraduate degree was in chemical engineering.  I remember several times being astonished at his ability to use chemistry in everyday life. This included being able to dissolve just about anything, a love for epoxy cement and a deep understanding of the chemistry of swimming pools and batteries.

Carleton’s interests were wide and varied.  There were experiments in chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, astronomy, psychology, optics, combustion, finance, simple machines, off roading, airplanes and car repair to name a few.

I derived more joy from the more physics oriented experiments, but they frequently came at a price of having to endure experiments on topics in which I was not as interested.  I remember the first time  I shot a squirrel and asked my father to teach me how to clean it.  The experience turned into a four hour lesson on the surgical techniques that could be employed to remove the intestines without contaminating the meat.  I learned a lot that day, but not really any practical way to clean a squirrel.

The experiments were not always rigorous.  One time we decided to measure the IQ of the family Basset Hound.  We hit the literature and found several tests to conduct. Basset Hounds are not known as smart dogs and within the spectrum of Basset Hound intelligence, our dog was at the bottom end.  Neither one of us had the heart to say the dog had a low IQ.  So we found unusual tests to conduct, cheated for the dog and declared him a genius.

One of the more dangerous experiments involved estimating the velocity of a bullet as it left a rifle.  The experiment consisted of suspending a block of wood from a string, firing a gun into the wood, measuring the height of wood’s swing and using the physics of inelastic collisions to estimate the initial velocity of the bullet.  Because it was a cold and snowy January, rather than conduct this outside, we decided to use our basement.  Luckily my aim was true, I hit the wood and measurement was successful.  Being that it is always easier to beg for forgiveness than get permission, we had neglected to warn my mother.  She simply heard a gunshot go off in the basement without warning.  I’m not sure if she ever really forgave us.

Later in life Carl’s passion for experiments evolved into simply feeding animals and enjoying their reaction.  He would go to a “day old bread store” and stock up on old, moldy loaves of bread, sometimes buying nearly a 100 loaves at a time.  I remember one time standing at the boundary of a zoo looking through a fence at an exotic deer standing right next to a big sign that said, “Please don’t feed the animals”, etc…  His face lit up and he immediately started to feed the deer as much bread as the deer would take.  I expressed my concern about the ethics and legality of this behavior and questioned if it would hurt the deer.  He just looked at me like I was as stupid as a Basset Hound and keep pushing bread through the fence.

Footnote:  In case you happen to be the owner of a Basset Hound, please don’t feel bad.  We further tested the ability of the dog’s nose and his ability to apply the information he got from scent.  We found him to have a truly exceptional nose.  When holding a treat and asking the dog to sit, he would put on a great show of effort and sit down in order to get a treat.  When asking the dog to sit and not holding a treat, he would usually just walk off, lay down or find something else to do.  Empirically I found this to happen100% of the time.  The nose could not be fooled.

Gene & Dick Dickerson Our Memories

Aunt Gene’s Painting


Aunt Gene Dickerson, as indicated by Pat Heath her daughter, began painting as a pastime after she retired.  The painting shown on this POST is one of many Gene produced and we would like to see more from her artistry and the collection Pat has in her home collection in Tulsa.  Aunt Gene, my father Obed’s oldest sister, was thoughtful and generous to give Verona our mother, and Obed one of these wonderful canvases.  We are grateful that Gene put the hours of work needed to produce it and then share it with our family.  As I would expect from Gene, like many artists, they often say it is the love of their work that drives them and not necessarily the appreciation shown by those that view the art.  We hope to see more of Gene’s work in future weeks and months as methods can be found to get copies onto  I knew Aunt Gene from gatherings in Fort Dodge and other reunions over the years and also visited their home in Dayton, Ohio. I knew Gene to be a Gardner like daughter Pat, who by the way is a certified Master Gardner, but I didn’t realize Gene had the artistic background in painting until I was shown this painting in our parent’s home in Richfield.  I also knew that Gene, like her daughter Pat were educators, both in Home Economics.  Again, thanks Pat and Gene for this wonderful gift.

Aunt Gene’s beautiful painting gifted to my parents in 1965
Gene’s note on back of her painting in 1965
Our Families Our Memories

Photos from Aunt Irene

Ed. Note: Linnae Coss is the daughter of Ruth Lindgren Coss

January 2021:

Below are six photos which originally belonged to Irene Lindgren Lessing, who passed away on December 7, 2013 at age 96.  Aunt Irene sent these photos to Uncle Em’s daughter Sonja Noordeloos several years ago (Sonja’s daughter Farah Irene is named after Aunt Irene).  Sonja sent the photos to me in December 2020, while she was clearing things out in preparation for her and Jon’s move from San Diego CA to Tucson AZ.  I have approximately dated the photos based on the birth dates of the Lindgren children pictured here: Roy – 5/15/20; Irene – 8/7/17; Ruth – 1/15/13.

Four of the six photos are snapshots, probably from a small photo album which Irene put together as a teenager.  (Irene’s sister Ruth had a similar album.)  The photos were glued to the black paper pages (rather than using photo corners), so there is slight damage to the photos which were removed from the pages. 

I have labeled the first two photos “ca. 1920 (Irene 3, Roy 6 months)” and “ca. 1924 (Ruth 11, Irene 7, Roy 4).”  They are still attached to a single black album page, measuring 5×8 inches.  The 1920 photo shows Irene and Roy wearing warm clothes, so it was probably taken in the fall of 1920 (Roy was born in May of that year, and looks to be a few months old).  Most of the page has been cropped digitally when scanning it, showing only the photos and the captions underneath. 

The third and fourth photos have been peeled or pried from the black album pages.  I labeled them “1920s, Lanyon school ” and “ca. 1928, Roy and Irene, ages 8 and 11.”  Bits of black paper are still stuck to the backs.  There are notes written with a pen directly on the front of each photo, in a shaky handwriting, probably by Aunt Irene toward the end of her life, when she was taking the album apart to send photos to various people.  On the school picture, she wrote: “Our School, 5-12 grades, Lanyon,” and on the 1928 photo, she wrote “Irene, Roy.”

The fifth and sixth photos are the front and back of an 8X10 glossy photograph taken professionally in 1954 (when Irene was 37 years old).  The subjects are Aunt Irene and “King Kong” (looking a little the worse-for-wear).  It is a just-for-fun photo from her career days.  The scanned copy of the back of the photo shows Irene’s inscription, in her then-typical bold handwriting: 

“Irene L. Lessing, 1954. Taken in a television studio – for fun!  Irene had a cooking show on ch. WFBM-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1953-58, in an adjoining studio.”

Gallery Note: to view the full image, right-click. To return to the gallery view use your browser’s back button or ALT-Left arrow.

Top Row: “ca. 1920 (Irene 3, Roy 6 months)” | “ca. 1924 (Ruth 11, Irene 7, Roy 4).” | Lanyon School.

Bottom Row: “ca. 1928, Roy and Irene, ages 8 and 11.” | Aunt Irene and “King Kong” | Irene’s inscription.

Gil & Hazel Lindgren Our Memories

I Remember Hazel Hill Lindgren

Memories: Hazel Hill Lindgren 
                        by Jon Gilmore Lindgren
                        December, 2020

Hazel Hill Lindgren was my mother, married to Gilmore Lindgren, son of Frank and Amy Johnson Lindgren. I was the youngest. My three older brothers were Richard, Ted and Carleton.

My mother’s obit has her official record of life so this is to fill in a few recollections about her long life. As an overview, her life was like I suppose the majority of married women of her time. She ended up living her adult life in her husband’s community instead of her own. This, of course, happens today to both men and women but then it was mostly women.

She grew up a Methodist and spent most of her life in the Covenant Church of my father’s community. She told me late in her life it wasn’t quite as comfortable for her but she enjoyed it nevertheless.

Mother Hazel had a strong curiosity of the art and intellectual life. She combed over the two or three newspapers my parents subscribed to as well as several magazines looking for poetry. She clipped out poetry she liked and carefully preserved it in note books. At church and community events she was asked often to read a poem she thought fit the occasion. I know she enjoyed doing that.

When I was in High School there were various student evaluations and achievement tests to fill out. I remember on a couple of occasions the question, “Does your family subscribe to any of these?” One listed was The New Yorker. I would guesss there were few farm children within many miles who marked yes. It did not occur to me that was probably unusual. It was the kind of reading our mother enjoyed.

While some conveniences came along during her decades as a wife, mother and farm partner the physical and mental demands of farm life had to be tough ones. Until I was maybe six years old mother used a wringer washing machine and a clothes line. There were six in the family so the volume was daunting. She cooked those years on a cookstove that burned corn cobs. I remember how my brothers and I would hang around that cook stove and talk in the winter because it was the warmest place in the house. She, on the other hand, would be asking us constantly to move out of her way so she could tend to things on the stove.

I have the impression she was a steady hand and safe ear for other women in the neighborhood. Over time I learned of things they confided in her but were matters not to be shared with others.

In her youth she was a track athelete. I believe she ran the hurdles. She seldom talked of this–I recall seeing a picture of her in her track outfit. Since I was the youngest by a few years I spent time around the farm house with her when my other brothers were in the fields working. I recall once at maybe five or six years old running as fast as I could and being quite amazed at myself. Mother, being the only other person around, had to hear me brag about how fast I could run. I said I was sure I could run faster than her. So, we had a race. She dashed past me easily. I felt rather sorry for myself thinking others had no right to tarnish my ego–I complained to her about beating me. She replied with a smile, “I’m really competitive in running, I don’t like to get beaten either.”

While for years she often did not feel well, she ended up being the caretaker of our dad. She kept his spirits up during his several years of illness. After he died the entire family wished she would not stay in the farmhouse. But, we could not come up with an alternative we thought she would like. Then, she figured out herself the right place was in Ames near Iowa State University. She was happy there for several years. It was a fitting reward for so many decades of spartan rural life.

Obed & Verona Lindgren Our Families Our Memories Uncategorized

Letter to Sweden

Discovered by Dave Lindgren

The following was discovered by Dave Lindgren in Obed F Lindgren‘s papers, which Dave acquired when OFL moved from Richfield to Bloomington MN in the 1970s. Dave prepared the typescript (below) from a handwritten translation of unknown origin.


DRAFT/Publish after proof with original translation (This copy by Dave L)

Paton, Iowa. December 9, 1899.

Dear parents, sisters. Hope you are feeling fine is my daily wish. I will now answer the welcome letter that I got today. It was so good to hear that you have your health and feel fine and I have the same good gift.

Soon we will have Christmas and I wish I could come home, but I’ll have to live on that hope one more year. You probably didn’t think I’d come home and I hadn’t planned much on it because I think I’ll go to Chicago and if I get work will stay there till next fall when threshing starts. Then when threshing is finished I will come home. So am I planning now? This if I live and God is willing. He has my way planned and I must go where that is.

Well, I must wish you a glad and lucky Christmas and a good new year, and may God be with us all on our separate paths – then all will go well. If we have Him then we have enough wherever we are.

I wonder if Ida will come here. I don’t know what it is with her, she writes so seldom. If you girls want to come here then it would be best if you come as soon as Amanda comes home for the winter. If you wait till then she can tell you about the trip. If I go home I may stay home a year and you can’t wait that long. I haven’t seen Amanda for a long time so I don’t know for sure if she’ll come home, but I believe she will.

I am thru picking corn. I am going to have an auction so it is only three days more that I will have four horses. I am also going to sell some machinery, then I will go (to Chicago).

When you write tell me all the news. You know it is good to hear the news from Sweden. Tell me if all the Hamneda girls are married by now or if there are any left for me when I come home.

I must now close for this time. Greet all acquaintances, but first you are greeted, my dear parents and sisters.

Frank Lindgren

I will greet you from John and his wife. Write soon again.


Swedish Letter

For further information, please contact Dave Lindgren (see contacts).

Our Families Our Memories

Amy Johnson Lindgren

Amy Johnson Lindgren was a remarkable woman born in the nineteenth century and living through the dramatic changes of the twentieth century with equanimity born of confidence and faith. She survived and thrived for over a century. She died at age 103.

On celebrating her 100th birthday, Amy Johnson Lindgren was joined by her eight children. From left; Roy, Ruth, Regina, Emory, Ev, Irene, Gilmore and Obed

What follows are photographs of the John Peter ( J. P.) Johnson & Fredrika Swenson families and relatives.

Frederika Swenson
1892 Photograph of Fredrika Swenson and her family.
Identification Key
1. Edith Burman Roos11. Alice Burman22. Ida Castenson
2. Hannah Main12. Esther Renquist23. Esther Johnson
3. Martin Main13. Sophie Burman Carlson24. Lizzie Johnson
4. Nellie Johnson
14. Nellie Main
25. Frank L Johnson
5. Matilda Burman15. Dan Main26. John A. Burman
6. Christine Renquist16. Obed Johnson27. Emil Renquist
7. Fredrika Swenson17. Amy Johnson
28. *
8. Clara Main18. Hannah
Burman Eklund
29. *
9. Johanna Castenson19. Albert Renquist30. young girl*
10. Johanna Dorothea Johnson20. Hannah Renquist31. *

2l. Ed Castenson32. J.P. (John Peter) Johnson

* These unidentified people must be three sons-in-law – J.A. Renquist, John Castenson and John Main – and the daughter of one. The fourth son-in-law was John Burman (#26).

Notes on the original photograph: Written in pencil on the back – “1892”. Written over this, in ballpoint pen (later), are the names of those in the photo, in Gene Dickerson’s handwriting (Amy Lindgren’s daughter). Married names are given for some of the girls. Four people are not identified (see asterisks). Some names were damaged by glue used to hold the photo in an album. Gene’s siblings Irene and Roy helped identify these in 2004.

Siblings of Amy Johnson Lindgren

The Johnson siblings with their school teacher, around 1884. (The original photograph is a tintype, printed on a thin metal sheet, about 2.5 x 3.5 inches.)

Children (L to R): Amy Johnson Lindgren (age 6), Frank I. Johnson (age 10), Lizzie Johnson Lindgren (age 13), Esther Johnson Rohden (age 14). Center: Hannah Johnson. Amy Lindgren’s daughter Aunt Irene identified the photo and provided the following information: The six Johnson children attended a one-room country school near Lanyon, Iowa, where one teacher taught grades 1 through 8. Such school photos, of the teacher with the siblings from one family, were customary at the time. The two youngest Johnson siblings are not in the photo – Obed Johnson (age 3) and Nellie Johnson Anderson (born 1887).

[Thanks to Linnae Coss for the photos and identifications. Identification of Teacher was established by a notation from Great Aunt Nellie Johnson Anderson as recorded by Uncle Roy.]

Gene & Dick Dickerson Our Memories

Pat Remembers

What follows are excerpts/transcripts/copies from e-mails that Pat Heath sent to Bruce in June 2020. Lightly edited by Jon Coss.

One of my earliest memories, when I was three in 1937 was one of my Aunts, I think either Ev [Evelyn] or Ruth took me on a train from South Bend, Indiana to Minneapolis. I remember standing by the tracks and a big black, loud train pulled in. Someone lifted me up and put me on the train. I remember a car taking us to a white house in Minneapolis. Then I remember wearing dresses with big skirts and my two aunts (Ev or Ruth and Verona) curling and brushing my hair every day!! I bet Obed and Verona were newly wed and he was away on a train for some days.  I don’t know how many days later my mother called and told me I had a new baby brother. (email 6/19/20)

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and planned to go to Iowa State College (as it was called in the 1950s). Then my Dad got a job in Dayton in the middle of my senior year.  He let us stay in Michigan until school was out.  I was so mad, sad, hurt, I said “If you’re doing that I’m going to go to Michigan State.”  He said, “That’s a party school. I will not pay for you to go there.”  So I went to ISC and got married after two years and only went to Dayton very few times because they had a cottage at Coldwater Lake in Michigan. I spent the summers there so that’s where we went to visit.  I probably did go to Dayton 10 times to visit!! Ted and Carlton were both at ISC when I was there and one of them had a car so I went home with them many weekends and I even drove a tractor and plowed/disked fields! So all that’s not for family history, but my memories!! (email to BFL 6/18/20)

My brother was born May 18, 1937.  On Halloween 1949 he came down with Polio. He was in the hospital until around Christmas Eve. Then he was in a hospital bed in the dining room for…I don’t remember how long.  I think it was the next summer we (Mother and I) took him to Warm Springs, Ga. I think it was President FDR who built that and went there often. Jim ended up with a serious curvature of the spine. He was able to go back to school and I can’t remember where he went to college the first year, somewhere south and east of Dayton. Then he went to the University of Dayton the last three years. I think he got married around 1960 and had Scott, who I think is about 58 now and lives in Florida, and Kathy a couple years later. Jim died in 1992 of lung cancer. It was on the healthy side [of his body] and the other side was squeezed down by the curvature so they couldn’t operate.   Love, Pat (email to BFL 6/22/20)

Our Families Our Memories Roy & Dixie Lindgren

Dr. Roy Lindgren

I Remember …

Roy’s contributions to the “I Remember” documents (the “Lindgren Memories”). Lightly edited by Linnae Coss. Her notations are in brackets.

I Remember Dad (1968)

I remember the enormous amount of patience that Dad had with kids who did things that weren’t very bright. He never did say much, if anything, but somehow we rarely made the same mistake twice.

I remember on a warm day Dad would come in the side door and head for the coolest spot in the house, the water tank in the basement, because there on the cool floor would be all those jars of homemade root beer.

I remember answering an ad about a correspondence course in drafting. Not long thereafter a salesman appeared and told me I had signed up for a course and owed him $200. About that time Dad came along and not long thereafter the salesman disappeared.

I remember that Dad figured every day except Sunday was a work day, summer, winter, spring, or fall. There was always some work to be done. I think it was Obie who figured out that if all the other work ever got done we might “sort the corn cobs” just to keep busy.

I remember Dad repairing the corn picker under the “yard light” and getting up at 2:30 a.m. to pick corn for a few hours before the sun thawed the ground and turned it into sticky mud. I also remember Dad drawing house plans.

I remember Dad’s idea of how to meet a train – be there at least an hour early. Many are the times we left home at 7 o’clock to meet a 9 o’clock train in Boone, 30 miles away. It must have been a carryover from trips to the State Fair in the old Buick when we had all those flat tires.

I remember the inventing and improvising that Dad used to do. The list would be endless. The butter churn that was hooked up to an electric motor. The corn sheller that was taken apart piece by piece and reassembled “upstairs” in the corn crib. The two barns that were made into one. The unusual bathroom that he created at the first Fort Dodge house by knocking a big hole in the back wall of that brick house. [They bought the brick house in 1946. Not until 1950 or ’51 did they move to 301 K Street, the house Frank had built for them in Fort Dodge.]

I remember when Dad had a heart attack and was supposed to stay off his feet for six weeks. In spite of this, he moved the telephone from the dining room into the bedroom so he could use it. But he followed the doctor’s orders – he sat in a chair and Mother pulled it here and there while he switched the wires around.

Things I Remember (1969)

Things I Remember (1969)

I remember when Mother would rock me in that big leather chair with the curved wooden arms (my very earliest recollection) and the weather would be warm and I would put my hand on the back of her arm and her arm would always be cool.

I remember at a very early age “helping” Dad in the basement when he mechanized the old barrel churn: built a frame to hold it and added a pulley so it could be run with an electric motor. At that age he called me “Peter” and Irene “Honey.” I remember how Mother would make rice pudding in the oven of the big old stove. The rice took so long to cook that the top of the pudding would get brown and have to be skimmed off two or three times before the pudding was done. How I loved to eat that brown crusty top. Then I remember the huge metal pan which Mom used when she made the dozen or so loaves of bread plus cinnamon rolls and biscuits every week. The pan was designed to hold the dough while it was rising and had a dome-shaped lid to match the shape of the dough as it puffed up into a big mound. I remember the big bread drawer in the kitchen, which in the summer also held long sticks of summer sausage and hunks of home-cured dried beef.

I remember, at the age of seven, driving Mother to Lanyon in a Model T with the intention of picking up Grandma and taking her with us to Rohden’s [Esther Rohden, Amy’s sister]. Needless to say, Mother and I drove on to the Rohden’s by ourselves. [Roy’s later note: His mother could not drive. The early cars had to be cranked and were not easy, and since there were always lots of people available to drive, she never learned. They used the car for hauling things on the farm and Roy could drive it at age 7, although Grandma did not want to ride with him.]

I remember how spry Grandma was in her early 80s. She would walk “up town” but it was reported that when she reached the turnoff at the church on her way home, she would be more or less running.

I remember the “fruit room” [in the basement], cool and damp because of the brick floor. The potato bin which was piled high with spuds every fall. Also huge stone crocks which held the corned beef and the hams cured with “smoked salt.” It seems to me Mother always aimed to can no less than 100 quarts of tomatoes each summer. Also, peaches, pears, rhubarb, corn, and the greatest treat of all – grape juice made by cooking the grapes and squeezing them in a square towel (flour sack) hung by the four corners over a broom stick held across the back of two chairs.

I remember the coolest spot in the house, before the first ice box, was the basement floor next to the big water tank. That’s where the milk, butter, and root beer were stored. But nothing was as cool as a pitcher of water pumped by hand from the old well. I remember that heavy glass pitcher – how it survived all those trips to the well in the hands of all of us is a wonder.

I remember that at about 6 a.m. every cold winter morning Dad would shake the house. There was a long iron handle on the side of the furnace which was pulled back and forth to let the ashes fall through the grates. Since the furnace was connected to the pipes and the pipes to the radiators, the whole house seemed to be vibrating.

I remember the big garden west of the house with horseradish which we never ate growing over against the side of the machine shed, asparagus all across the lower end, two rows of rhubarb and a very large strawberry patch. The long row of grapes which we took to school in our “dinner pails” in season. Then there was the smoke house and just south of it a flowering almond and an old-fashioned yellow rose bush.

I remember that every fall as cold weather approached we would go through the ritual of catching the chickens. All summer they took to roosting in the trees and on the machinery in the sheds. We had to apprehend them somehow or other and lock them in the chicken house for the winter. It was a job that was kind of fun for about the first five minutes.

I remember when we had quite a few cats who used to like to take their ease behind the stove in the kitchen. When Mom wanted them out she would take the broom, open the door, and poke around vigorously behind the stove until they got the general idea. Later, it was only necessary for her to pick up the broom, open the door, and stand back out of the way.

I remember all of those potluck picnics over the years and how Mother usually made corn pudding and salmon pudding – still my favorite dishes when made the way she made them. We also had sliced tomatoes which we wouldn’t have dreamed of eating without a liberal application of sugar.

I remember many a Sunday afternoon in the summer when, at Mother’s instigation, we would go “to the woods,” meaning a certain spot more or less directly east of Lanyon near the Des Moines River. I remember the incomparable sunsets in the late fall after the corn was picked, and I would see them when I went out in the 40-acre corn fields to get the steers home for the night. I remember blizzards so blinding that you couldn’t see the barn from the house, and how one January the temperature never went above zero for two solid weeks, and was minus twenty every night. I remember that the first rites of spring consisted of sowing the peas – two horses and the “lumber wagon” with the spreader on the back.

I remember the incredible amount of patience that Dad exhibited in the face of some of the absolutely incredible things that I did and didn’t do in those growing up years.

I remember when Aunt Nellie and Uncle Ernest lived in Lanyon [1928 to 1953], their immaculate house, the cow named Susie, how fascinated I was with their egg cups, and how after the folks moved to Lanyon [when they retired in 1941], there was a path worn through the tall grass which represented the shortest distance between those two houses.

I remember that I was taught to say grace in Swedish at a very early age and continued to say it as I had learned it for many years. About 30 years later, I learned how the words were really supposed to be pronounced and it was quite a surprise.

I remember the Christmas programs and how, believe it or not, Irene and I [ages about 10 and 7] sang a duet and what do you think we sang? “Let the lower lights be burning”! [Irene and Roy’s later note: This was surprising because this song is a hymn, not a Christmas song at all.]

I remember when we put candles on the Christmas tree and lighted them! And how the best part of the Christmas Eve feast every year was the creamed lutefisk on mashed potatoes.

I Remember Mother (1985)

I remember Mother as a magician at distracting fussy babies and small children.

I remember Mother as an incredible discipliner – or was it just that we were such incredible disciplinees? I remember occasional mention of the possibility that she would have to use the “shaving strap” but it never once came off the hook in the broom closet to my knowledge.

I remember (don’t we all) Mother’s standard Sunday morning breakfast – “gravy bread.” The bread was home-baked white and the gravy was white, made with milk in the drippings from lots of thick-sliced uncured or maybe salt-cured bacon. Fortunately cholesterol had not yet been invented so we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

I remember Mother as the inventor of an instant and absolutely sure-fire way to dispatch any chicken destined for the frying pan. It involved the use of a steel rod laid over the neck of the chicken, etc. She did it herself until I became old enough to take over.

And I remember, “Remember the starving millions.” (Or was it, “Think of the starving millions.”) For the grands and great-grands, those were code words that meant, “Don’t leave food on your plate” (Don’t waste food).

I remember hearing the words a hundred or a thousand times over the years: “Look it up.” I think Mother wore out at least three dictionaries looking things up. Once in later years I believe Irene put her to the test. “How do you pronounce c-o-m-p-t-r-o-l-l-e-r?” The answer, without hesitation, “controller.”

I remember hearing about someone explaining to Mother that they needed to build a new church, because the old church was on a side street where people couldn’t see it. She said, “They find it when we have a Swedish supper.”

I remember how in later years someone was complimenting Mother on her family, about this and that and the other, “and none of them have ever been in jail.” Mother said, “Not yet.”

I remember her plants, when she was age about 75 or 85, were everywhere [at 301 K Street, Fort Dodge]. The “greenhouse” room off the hallway was like a jungle including, even, the famous night-blooming cereus which really did bloom from time to time. (Grands and great-grands, “Look it up.”)

I remember being home (for, I believe, one of Mom’s birthdays) when she was in her 90s. There were five or six of us there. She had a music box in the kitchen, a present from Ruth, which she would put on the dining room table and play to call us to dinner when we would come visit as adults. When dinner was over, she picked up the music box and carried it back to the kitchen, saying, “I’ll take this – I don’t want it to get broken.” As Obie observed at the time, there wasn’t a soul in the room under the age of 50.

I remember Mother correcting herself when she was reminiscing about something. “When we were little, us kids used to… we kids used to…” This happened sometime after her 100th birthday.

I remember Esther [Mocklebust] telling how, sometimes when Mother wasn’t feeling too great, she would say, “I feel like I’m a hundred years old.” After she passed 100, she changed it to, “I feel like I’m two hundred years old.”

I remember when Aunt Nellie and Uncle Ernest lived in Lanyon [1928 to 1953], their immaculate house, the cow named Susie, how fascinated I was with their egg cups, and how after the folks moved to Lanyon [when they retired in 1941], there was a path worn through the tall grass which represented the shortest distance between those two houses.

I remember that I was taught to say grace in Swedish at a very early age and continued to say it as I had learned it for many years. About 30 years later, I learned how the words were really supposed to be pronounced and it was quite a surprise.

I remember the Christmas programs and how, believe it or not, Irene and I [ages about 10 and 7] sang a duet and what do you think we sang? “Let the lower lights be burning”! [Irene and Roy’s later note: This was surprising because this song is a hymn, not a Christmas song at all.]

I remember when we put candles on the Christmas tree and lighted them! And how the best part of the Christmas Eve feast every year was the creamed lutefisk on mashed potatoes.

Em & Ruth Lindgren Our Memories


Uncle Emory (Em) and Aunt Ruth were missionaries in the territory of Alaska in the 1940s and 1950s. Alaska did not became the 49th state until 1959. Two books were written by Emory about their experiences. The books were encouraged by Emory’s brother, Dr. Roy Lindgren. Unalakleet AK is located on the West coast, next to the Bering Sea about 145 miles from Nome, AK and 380 and 400 from Anchorage and Fairbanks respectively. It is mainly accessible by air. The mission in Unalakleet was established decades before 1940. Competition for the belief systems of Native Americans (Inuit) between Catholic Priests and the missionary’s of two protestant sects was described by Emory.

Em & Ruth in Alaska ...
Emory and Ruth Lindgren often displayed these parkas when speaking to supporters at churches in the United States in the late 1940s.
First Book
Self published in 1999.
Second Book
Published by iUniverse,; Bloomington IN 2010.
Covenant church in Unalakleet AK. This facility was updated after the tenure of the Rev.Emory Lindgren. The church’s bell was located in Minnesota by Obed Lindgren, at the reque4st of his brother, Emory, carefully crated and shipped by rail, boat and air to its installation in the church steeple.

First published June 15, 2020; updated December 27, 2020

Obed & Verona Lindgren Our Memories

The Early Years

This is a brief notation about my parents, Obed and Verona Lindgren. There is much to write about my memories of both parents. Recollections begin before age three while we were living in West Richfield, MN on Russell Avenue. As a three year old, my impression of the home was that it was large and sat atop an enormous hill, which of course was probably less thatn ten feet above the Russell Avenue road bed. But in the Winter at about age three, I received a gift of skis and used them to descend the front yard; not likely with much success. Skiing didn’t take hold until about age ten. One time out in a foot of new snow, after a Thanksgiving dinner and I was hooked.

In point of fact, all of my brothers were also (eventually) hooked on skiing. We each pursued the sport with intensity. My involvement was mainly with the National Ski Patrol System, including Ski Patrol Director at Buck Hill. Dave and Steve also served with me on the Buck Hill Ski Patrol. Dave went on to become a Ski Instructor in Northern Minnesota during his college years in Bemidji, MN. Steve pursued Alpine Ski Racing at Richfield High School and was on the initial Buck Hill Racing Team with Coach Walt Eustis. Steve worked his way through college by establishing the Hoigaard’s Racing Team and coaching young racers for Hoigaard’s. He also established the Burnsville High School Ski Team in 1971.

Dad and Mom – Obed & Verona Wedding Photo (1936)*

I remember delivery of ice and coal as well as milk from Golden Guernsey Dairy in their yellow milk trucks. The Milk Man would come to the door with a wire carrier filled with our usual and customary products, but returning to his truck for anything unanticipated as requested by Mom. Milk was bottled in glass and typically in quart-sized containers. Pasteurized but not homogenized, the cream was contained in a bubble-like feature of the milk bottle. Ice was delivered by a horse drawn carriage, but infrequently because we had an electric refrigerator–Frigidaire, of course. Coal was delivered by truck and shoveled into a coal chute to the basement coal bin. The first phone number I learned was on the Whittier exchange — WH3270.

When Mom had delivered Dave, to keep her more comfortable, Dad built a cooling device made with an automobile radiator, a fan inside a wood frame. Cold well water was supplied by a garden hose. His inventiveness was always amazing.

The house at 6624 was heated with coal until around 1946-1947, when natural gas lines were installed in the street and a lateral tunneled into the basement. The coal furnace was converted to gas and the coal bin cleaned and repainted for another use including something of a play room for me and my brother Dave.

When I was five, Mom sewed an Indian costume. The fringe on the leggings caught fire while I was playing with friends near a trash fire across the street and a bit down the block from our house. Mother was at home and when I looked down and saw the fire flaming from my leggings, I began running for home. Fortunately, I tripped and rolled partially extinguishing the fire. A neighbor saw what was happening and helped extinguish the fire before carrying me home. Both Mom and Dad took me to the emergency hospital, Minneapolis General. The burn was 3rd degree and I was admitted to the hospital for several days. The Minneapolis Star ran a short clip of the incident with a headline: “Boy 5 Burned in Bonfire.” In 1945, the only anti-microbials available were sulfur compounds. Mom meticulously cleaned and re-bandaged the wound daily for weeks. Fortunately I have no memory of the pain that must have been present.

When I was six, I very reluctantly entered first grade at Woodlake School. Richfield at the time had no kindergarten, except at the Catholic School, but this was apparently never an option considered by my parents as they were both adherents to very fundamental, and I must say anti-Catholic, Protestantism in the denomination of the Covenant Church. It is likely, but beyond my immediate memory, that I was introduced to “schooling” as Sunday School at First Covenant Church in downtown Minneapolis. My memories of that church should await another time and location.

The trauma of First Grade is still palpable over seventy years later. Mrs. Greenhall was the teacher and the classroom was in the “portable” building just to the East of the original Richfield school building. The first grade classroom was the last room on the long hallway extending from the front door. The desks were arranged in rows, but each desk and its attached chair was separated.

By 1948, Dad acquired land on Harriet Avenue in central Richfield and very close to a new elementary school that was being built. I finished third grade in Richfield and sometime after the start of 4th grade the family moved to St. Louis Park, another first ring suburb of Minneapolis, but to the West rather than South. I finished 4th grade at Fern Hill Elementary. During the year away from Richfield, a new home was built. Still unfinished, we moved into 7212 Harriet Avenue before the start of school where I began 5th grade at the new Central Elementary with Miss Alice Kockum.

In 1949 Steve was added to our family. Here we are with our new brother just 10 days after he was born. We were still living at 6624 Russell in Richfield. Within a few months we moved to St. Louis Park while the new home in Richfield was being built. Dave tells us he still has that rocking chair in his attic.
Here we are a few months after Steve was born. Our dog then was a AKC registered Cocker Spaniel we called “Blackie.” The pups were sold and shortly there-after, Blackie went to a “new home.”

Mom and Dad were both committed to education for their sons. Mom graduated from the Red Oak High School in Iowa, intending to become a teacher. But leaving the University of Wyoming to marry, left her dream behind. However, in later years, from the mid-1950’s and through the 1960’s she was deeply involved with PTA (Parent Teacher Association), particularly at Central Elementary where Obed and Verona’s three sons attended through 6th grade. She became a leader in the state PTA organization. I remember many meetings at our home with principals, teachers and other parents.

In those early years we made many trips to Iowa to visit Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. Gas was rationed, but Dad had purchased a new 1941 Chevrolet before the start of U.S. engagement in WWII. Because he worked for the United States Postal Service as a Supervisor in the Railway Division and was considered an essential worker, he was not drafted. The trips to Iowa always seemed long and in those days were certainly much longer than now. Highways were only double lane. Many of the trips were at night with parents and brother Dave. I remember Dad smoking a few cigars to “stay awake” while driving. Windows of the car were partially opened, particularly the hinged vent windows.

There is so much more to add with stories about Boy Scouts, Skiing, Swimming, Boats & Water Skiing, Paper Routes, and High School.

Last revised 15 November 2020

*Hauck Skoglund Studio – Lincloln, NB.