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Old Cowbelle: Staying Put

There are a lot of good people in our world today, people who really care about helping others.  A “Staying Put” chapter is being formed in our area with the purpose of providing assistance to those who need help to stay in their own homes as long as possible.

Details are being ironed out at the present time, and more information will be available soon.  If you are interested in being on the “helping end” or want to “Stay Put” yourself, contact Lena Aumann at 715-273-6780. (Pierce County ADRC and someone will contact you.)

Missing Violet

Another friend has gone on ahead of me.  She was my sister-in-law Violet Kuesel. My whole life I longed to have a sister, but never did; and when I met my Husband, his sister Violet became that missing part of my life.

When Husband and I got married, I was the “new kid on the block”; a Norwegian among the residents on “German Street.” I didn’t know much about cooking, never had milked a cow, so no one there was very impressed with me. The only thing that redeemed me was that I could drive the tractor while baling hay.

But Violet was always kind and considerate to me. She took me under her wing and taught me a lot of things she knew about cake decorating, making panoramic sugar eggs, flower arrangements…all with a lot of patience and laughter.

We had a lot of fun in our younger days.  For several years, we entered the “costume balls” that took place in Elmwood.  She would dress up like the man, complete with high hat and trousers, and together we would create a fancy ball gown for me to wear.  We used a lot of crepe paper, paper flowers and imagination.  Usually the skirt of the gown had an underskirt of stiff crinoline that made it impossible for me to sit down in the car.

So I would stand in the back leaning over the front seat as the “boys,” Herman and Wayne, would drive us to the dance.

Several times, Violet and I won first prize, 10 silver dollars.  We used our winnings to take our husbands to Club 10 for dinner.

In later years, Violet and I would share space at Craft Sales, in different malls or outdoor flea markets.  She would sell beautiful artificial floral arrangements and crocheted items, or corn people and other hand made creations. I would sell my painted rocks and wooden painted Welcome wall hangings. Sometimes, I would sell my “Welcome Rocks,” which were great big standing rocks with Welcome signs and flowers painted and then sealed.

Occasionally, I would drive to a neighbor’s rock pile and bring home these big rocks in the back of the pickup, for painting, and Husband would shake his head and look the other way. One year, I made small nativity scenes…a wooden plaque with a rock holding the Holy family with a gold cross above.

I don’t think we ever made a fortune, but it made good memories for me.

As we both grew older and could no longer do all those things, we spent time on the telephone, talking about our “good old days.” I miss her.

--Ina Murray