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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.

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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.