Our Families Our Memories Roots & Shoots

Dance for All

Dancing has a long history and ranges from simple folk rituals to dramatic ballet. It seem very natural to engage body movement, story and movement to express everything from tragedy to comedy. Too often those with physical disability are only able to sit on the sidelines and watch others participate.

Ann Ungs, daughter of Jon and Elaine Lindgren trained as a physical therapist. settled in Des Moines with her husband, Marty, also a physical therapist. Ann specialized in pediatric care and worked with children with spinal injury. Many of these young people observed dancing and wished they could participate. Ann and a dance teacher began to see opportunity where opportunity had been missing. They formed a dance school for all and called it Dance Without Limits.

Since beginnings 14 years ago they have worked with many children to preserve opportunity. Ann and Marty’s three daughters, Madeline, Juliette and Lily were all dancers and able to help as teachers and all around helping support for the school.

Twice a year the dance instruction culminates with a recital at the Urbandale, IA high school or another suitable site, where dancers can perform and an audience can appreciate and applaud the wonderful efforts and interpretations that flow across a stage recognizing that dance is auniversal way to move the human spirit to new heights, and do so without limit.

Below you can enjoy photos from recent recital and practice. .

Photo 1 DWOL
Dance Without Limits
Photo 4 DWOL
Julianne Ungs with a dancer.
Photo 3 DWOL
Madeline Ungs communicating in American Sign Language with a dancer
Photo 2 DWOL04
Ann Ungs with dancer.

I greatly appreciate the wonderful work of Ann and her daughters to enhance lives in Des Moines, IA.

Our Memories

Amy’s Wooden Bowl

My mother had a small polished wooden bowl in her house for many years, which had belonged to her mother, Amy Johnson Lindgren.  The bowl has a matching removeable lid with an inscription in Swedish burned into the underside, “Till Amy från Ida, 14/10/1919” (date written European style: day/month/year).  Translation: “To Amy from Ida, October 14, 1919”

Ida was Frank Lindgren’s sister-in-law.  Frank Lindgren was one of six children, all born in Sweden.  Four of the six – Frank and his older brother John (the sons of Peter Magnusson) – and their sisters Selma and Jenny – emigrated to America in the 1890s.  The other two sisters – Ida and Amanda –  remained in Sweden with their elderly parents Peter Magnusson and wife Ingrid.  The four who emigrated took the last name of Lindgren in America.  In May 1913, the year before World War I began, they received word that their mother Ingrid had died.  Frank and John planned to make the long trip back to Sweden after the war ended to visit their still-living father and other relatives. 

The Armistice was signed in November 1918, the war was over, and the brothers planned to go back in 1919.  But at the last minute, Frank felt he had to cancel, because his daughter Ruth (my mother), then 6, had become ill (according to Irene).  This was at the time of the great world-wide “Spanish” flu pandemic of 1918-1919, brought home to America and other countries by returning troops.  It killed millions worldwide.  The whole Frank Lindgren household except for daughter Gene had had the flu in early 1918.  They all recovered, but when 6-year-old Ruth got sick again the following year, Frank probably feared this was another bout of the flu, and that he would go to Sweden only to find that his little daughter Ruth had died while he was away.  So John went on to Sweden alone. 

It turned out that Ruth had scarlet fever (according to Roy), which was also a dangerous disease in those days.  Probably Ida meant to give this little bowl to Frank to carry home to Amy, but Frank’s brother John took it back to Amy instead.  Ida probably had to plan a year ahead as the bowl was especially made, turned on a lathe and polished, and prepared with the inscription and date burned into the removable lid.  The date says 1919, but John may not have gone until 1920.  This was Frank’s only chance to go back to Sweden, as he began to establish a new life in America, and then his father died in 1924, so he never did go back.

Editor’s Note:

Photographs below were provided by Linnae and her neighbor Lana Tyssen. Linnae’s hand provides perspective on the size of the bowl.

With recent communications, Linnae is sending the bowl to Laura Gardner in Ames, IA. Laura will pass it along to her daughter, Grace, for safekeeping for another generation. Thanks to all for preserving this important artifact.

Gil & Hazel Lindgren Our Families Our Memories Roots & Shoots

Remembering Ted

We all mourn the passing of Ted Lindgren but in spite of hope and some sense that he would live forever, we understand that all life ends with death and that our existence ends … The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte was wrong in one sense because every life, like Ted’s, lives on with something, that is not nothing. Memories are living things and our memories of Ted are of amazement and wonder; his accomplishments are unforgettable and will remain an example for all who follow. Those who follow may not match his accomplishments academically and those parts of life that brought him joy. Because of his disability from a stroke, over nearly two decades, much of his mindfulness may be fragmentary and left with those who were closest to him across those years. We saw Ted on Zoom calls from his nursing home bed and always felt joy with his smile and wave to us.

I for one regret that so much passed across time between my brief encounters with Ted as a teenager, playing ball with a younger cousin on the lawn in front of the big porch of the Lanyon farm house, and the life-changing event his stroke. During those nearly 60 years, I was too busy with my life and struggle to put into place a structure for living, working and enjoyment of what was closest to me. In those missing years, I knew that Ted graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in engineering, that he and his brother Carleton had moved beyond Ames, living and working on the east coast, but there was too little that passed from the RR to me through my parents other than as small talk that could be recognized but passed off in favor or more immediate matters of mind. I knew that Ted went on to more advanced study and degrees, as it turned out a PhD in electrical engineering and inventions of brushless motors that led to patents and probably issues of what are now known as technology transfer matters involving the financial exploitation of intellectual property.

That story is important to our family and my hope is that Anne, John and Lisa will write about it for all of us to learn and reflect on Ted’s accomplishments and struggles. Those years must have had enormous meaning for Ted and Bet as well as their children’s lives—family life in Texas, Up state New York and Florida was undoubtedly impacted in too many ways to count. We always know far too little about the life of another. That applies most directly to the physical part of life; when and where events occurred, what happened, what changed. We can create timelines — our physical chronology — of those physical event of birth, death, marriages, children, divorces, attending schools and college, hobbies and recreations, memberships in organizations and employment in place and time; but our access to the cognitive and even emotion (unless these may have physical manifestations) is often at best elusive. The cognitive may have physical manifestations such as writing and recording, with drawing (sketches or meticulously detailed, artistically executed, beautiful paintings), photographs and movies or video, and especially writing of notes, journals, letters, or formal papers and applications are important artifacts to sustain memories of a life.

Our hope is that Ted’s life is remembered through those physical artifacts that he left with his children and now his grandchildren who remember better than his more distant relatives ever could. We are reminded of our questions that were not or could not be asked of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents. These questions not asked don’t linger well, but nevertheless are points of importance for the future because they represent a part of our gaps, our ignorance most which cannot be recovered.

With death there is always a loss. Love lingers and is now represented in memories, only memories and the special thoughts that arise when we encounter the artifacts of a life once lived and now gone for eternity. From earthly eternity. Earthly life goes on and an important part of what remains are memories, which are fleeting but supported by the physical artifacts. I hope we all rededicate our efforts to capture those memories and artifacts of our ancestors; parents remembered by children and recorded … digital recording and the analogue film and vocal files are ephemeral or potentially ephemeral. We can capture our moments for the future now with written records of what we remember. It is hard but important to take a blank page and begin simply; “I remember …”.

Gathering memories and artifacts are certainly for us but should be mostly for our offspring who otherwise will never know of the amazing accomplishments that surround our lives … no matter how big or small … no mater of impact … no matter how seemingly mundane or how stimulating. We are not judges but only recorders for some future time that we cannot fully appreciate or even contemplate. What we have missed may bring tears—but our hope that all of those tears are of joy aid not overwhelmed by our notable sadness at the moment of passing. Life is amazing. Ted’s life was certainly amazing and we will cherish our memories of his life and accomplishments and his family.

Our Memories

Paper Routes

All three sons of Obed and Verona Lindgren had paper routes in Richfield, MN in the 1950s. Bruce was the first to deliver the Minneapolis Star to about 60 homes located in the blocks between Lyndale and Harriet avenues and from 70th to 72nd streets. The papers, wired together in bundles, were dropped at the southeast corner of 70th and Harriet about 3pm where Bruce would cut the wire of a bundle with the nipper he carried in his pocket. Arriving on his bike, he would fold the paper and secure them in a cloth shoulder bag, which was either strapped to the rear fender of his bike or over a shoulder. The route proceeded South on Harriet, North on the East side of Garfield, then South on the West side of Garfield. and then North on Augsburg avenue to end with delivery to about three houses on the West side of Lyndale.

Image from Google. Source for attribution unknown.

Bruce’s school friend Victor Spano had a morning Minneapolis Tribute route, and during family vacations, Bruce would substitute for Victor, which required getting up around 4:30am to deliver the papers befor 6-6:30am. That route was in the neighborhood around 76th Street between Lyndale Avenue and the RR tracks. There were relatively few customers compared with the afternoon Star, so delivery took longer even though the number of papers was fewer than on our routes.

Every once in awhile, Bruce’s friends, usually Terry Conway or Brain Carlson, would help out. This usually happened when all of his friends wanted to do something during normal paper delivery hours in the summer, or if they had been doing something fun and the paper delivery was in some danger of being late. People wanted their afternoon paper before 6pm. It was also not infrequent that Bruce’s brothers would pitch in to help. This was particularly true for delivery of the Sunday morning papers. Bruce’s mother would usually drive the car and with papers in the trunk, Bruce and his brothers, Dave and Steve would hand carry enough papers for all houses on a block and run from door to door making delivery. They would then meet the car at the end of the block for another arm-load of papers for the next block. During many years Dave also had a route and both routes would be done this way on Sunday morning.

Dave sent the following along as an email: I remember the dog incidents for sure. Joey and Jimmy were a big help on occasion with the big route especially. I can’t remember having a problem with backups for sickness, other conflicts to interfere with the on-time delivery–we must have worked that out between the three of us and the Carlsons. I’ll bet Dad had to, on occasion, deliver the papers. Collecting was the biggest pain and the cent and a third come (maybe 3 cents for Sunday) back for the daily effort per paper delivered–helped my math skills. I can’t remember how and when the employment ended–Krispy Kreme, or Red Owl, or ?? The Doodle Bug (check it out here) was a major time saver and I can’t ever remember any complaints voiced for that questionable maneuver. I don’t remember giving the keys to the Doodle Bug to either Bruce or Steve, but think they used it on occasion–not sure. I don’t remember the amount of time start to finish to complete the route every day (walking or ever calculated miles walked or calories burned) and I think it was basically the afternoon and Sunday paper–never morning on weekdays. The manager, as I remember, was pretty easy to work with, but I don’t know if he took the collection money or how that was handled. Organization to the little receipts given to the customer was a simple and foolproof way to audit the money end of things. I liked–not sure if either Bruce or Steve did–the coin changer on my belt to quickly give the customer change for ones, fives, or maybe even tens. The manager took the orders for bundles of papers needed each day–I think. I don’t remember a major glitch in getting the papers out within the expected and established time frame, but that detail slips completely. It seems like there would have been some snow or rainstorm where a delay wasn’t a problem on deadlines. I think we had to stuff the papers in plastic (back in Bruce’s day there were no plastic bags) if rain was anticipated. Generally, this is about all I remember other than more detail about the dogs. I’ll try and elaborate a little more on that later.

Since I (Steve) am the youngest and the last to have my own paper route, it fits nicely in this sequence. Needless to say, I learned a good deal about paper routes from both Bruce and Dave my two older brothers. However, it did not deter my desire for making money delivering papers in Richfield, Minnesota, USA.

In the fall of my first year at West Junior High School, a friend of mine broke his arm and needed to be replaced on his paper route which was also a Minneapolis Star delivery route to about 100 doors on Emerson Avenue and the east side of Fremont Avenue from 73rd to 78th Street. This included an apartment complex on Emerson Avenue at 77th and the Clover Leaf Motel which was a healthy hike through the “woods” on a well worn path from Fremont Avenue.

Fortunately, my Dad designed a trailer for my bike which allowed me to pick up all the papers at the “paper shack” on 75th and Lyndale and transport my bundles to an evergreen tree perfectly positioned for shelter at 75th and Emerson Avenue South. Incidentally, the tree is still standing today some sixty years from when we first got acquainted. Today, there is a wonderful little neighborhood park which my two children later enjoyed regularly.

This location was strategically located for me to carry enough papers in a sack like the one pictured above. Using a crisscross pattern heading south on Emerson, I carried a heavy bag of papers heading to the apartment complex.

For baseball fans, the apartment building was the baseball season home to MN Twins pitcher Camilo Pascual and his young family. I didn’t speak Spanish, but there was never a problem collecting from them. The apartment complex also was home to a number of Northwest Airlines Flight Attendants and while the swimming pool for the complex looked awfully inviting on many hot afternoon days, I never took up the invitation to use the pool to cool off.

The return trip heading north on Fremont Avenue started by walking down a long path through the woods to the Clover Leaf Motel which was then on the northeast corner of 494 and 35W. Even though I only delivered one paper to the east side of the Motel to the owners residence, I want everyone to know they always gave me a generous tip.

Monday-Saturday the routine was the same, but Sunday mornings my Parents would enthusiastically help out using the car. There were a few times over the two years where weather (or a cramped schedule) entitled me to some help, but it was rare.

Paper routes are a great learning experience and I am reminded of a passage from a book written by the Founder of Best Buy, Richard M. Schulze, where he recounts his experiences as a paperboy growing up in the Twin Cities. The Conclusion to his book (the last chapter) is only three pages, but is a wonderful story about a young man (Jeff) who came to the Schulze home on a Saturday to collect. Mr. Schulze provided some instructions to the young lad. The youngster told the story to his father who decided to invest in what was called then Sound of Music (later named Best Buy) and turned a $330 stock purchase into $34,000. As the father later told Mr. Schulze, “It paid for Jeff’s college education.” Page 285 in BECOMING THE BEST.

Best Buy’s Corporate Campus was built and opened in 2003 in Richfield. Thank-you Mr. Schulze!!! I enthusiastically supported building this addition to my hometown. Steven Obed Lindgren, President Emeritus, Richfield Chamber of Commerce

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.

Our Memories

Spared by a Kind Gentleman

My name is Steve Lindgren. I am privileged to be a Grandson of Frank and Amy Lindgren and truly indebted to them for bringing my father Obed Franklin Lindgren into this world on November 4, 1910. Unfortunately, my Grandpa Frank passed away in 1953, slightly before I turned four years old. Therefore, I did not witness first hand some of the wonderful stories about this courageous Swede. Fortunately, I am able to read about the experiences of my Grandfather as a result of the writings of his eight children. To this I say a grateful thanks to their eight children including my father.

Both my Uncle Gil and my Uncle Emory chronicled in the “I Remember” series a poignant story about a kind gentleman by the name of Henry McLaughlin who held the paper on Grandpa Frank and Grandma Amy’s farm in Lanyon, Iowa as Americans were challenged by the Great Depression. As we understand the story, Grandpa and Grandma Lindgren traveled to Storm Lake, Iowa to meet with Mr. McLaughlin in 1930 to inform him they simply were not going to be able to make the mortgage payments. This kind gentleman spared the Lindgren Family from a likely foreclosure and even gave them encouragement. I understand it was something along the lines of there is nobody better to care for the land, as well as we are in this together. He allowed them to make delayed payments and eventually were able to purchase the farm. His remarkable gesture was not widely copied throughout the United States during this difficult time. Somehow, someway I want to figure out a way to say thank-you to the McLaughlin Family. My, how life could have been so much different for so many in the Lindgren Family.

By 1930, my father had made his way from Lanyon to Lincoln, Nebraska to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska. I never heard the story about Mr. McLaughlin from my father. In fact, his time spent in Lincoln and working his way through those college years with an incredibly demanding schedule balancing work and education to achieve his goal of a business degree were remembered by him and told to me as a marvelous learning experience. Surely, he was aware of the kind Mr. McLaughlin and his gesture. Undoubtedly, he knew the story about the Lindgren farm being in jeopardy. He always spoke with great fondness about his years growing up in Lanyon, the farm, the school building, sports, and his family. And I learned from him the impact the Great Depression had on this country. Yet, the kindness of this marvelous Mr. McLaughlin never was mentioned.

Today as I reflect on this period in the Lindgren Family History, and as this world is challenged by the COVID-19 virus and the devastating economic impacts it is having on people, it brings to my mind the question: How many other Mr. McLaughlins exist today who will rise to the occasion and extend their kindness to others?

Steven Obed Lindgren in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

July 17, 2020

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).