11/21/2012 (1652)

No blog yesterday.
For the record, I did not get a blog posted yesterday.
Message posted on our Website.
City_State_Country: Vancouver, Canada
Comments: Hi There! I am doing an ancestry search for my mother in law and
came along this blog. One of the older postings May 3 2009 shows a picture
of her maternal grandmother. My mother in laws name is Bessy Margaret Klein
(nee Lafournaise) who also lives in vancouver. I am wondering if there is
any way that I am able to get in touch with the person who posted it as we
have been looking for quite a few years with no avail. Thanks!
Name: Nicole Bedford
Hello Nichole,
I am hoping you will see this message so you can provide us with some contact info. I tried, but was unable to locate a phone number for you in Vancouver, Canada. Can you also let us know the name of your Bessy’s Maternal Grandmother too. Viewing the May 3, 2009 posting, I could not figure out which lady she was.
Feel free to call me too. If I am not around, please leave a message. (360) 362-1222 
Thanks, Gary Stokes

Reply to Larry Hackman’s Marble game boards
From Dick Johnson (’68):  Dunseith, ND
Gary and Friends,

     Larry Hackman surely did a nice job on making the old fashioned
marble game boards.  My grandma had one that was similar and I don’t
know where it went through all her moves from place to place.  It was
very old even back in the ’50s.  She taught us how to play several
different games on it.  We shook dice to get our points to move/add the
marbles.  I remember she kept the marbles for the board in a special
little black tin that had a removable lid.  The marbles were a little
different than the ones we played with at school as they were solid
color and a little bit smaller in diameter.  Her game board also had a
wooden border around it that was slightly higher than the board.  For us
kids  that was good because without fail,  someone would bump the board
and send the marbles all over as they just sat lightly in the holes.
With the old hardwood floors, we would have been looking for them all
over the place. Thanks for the memory Larry.  Quoting my old friend
Larry,  from his story–‘We couldn’t find any marbles.  My daughter
finally found some in New York,  through the internet’.  Larry you are
confirming something we already were suspecting for years.  You lost
your marbles.  I couldn’t resist that for old ‘Half Pint’.  Thanks Gary!


Dunseith Story
Posted By Larry Hackman (’66): Bismarck, ND

Chapter 4

                          Hanging Out at the Used Auto Parts Store 

AUTHOR:  Larry M. Hackman         


New Years Eve

Henry Hackman class of (65) and I, were having a discussion one evening awhile back.  It was right after I submitted that last story about New Years Eve, to Gary.  We were trying to remember when the last New Year’s Eve dance was held in the City of Dunseith for young people.   We came up with Dec. 31, 1958. The reason we remember this date was because a young lady froze her feet that night while walking back into town with only a pair of high heeled shoes to protect her feet from the cold.  Now we think it was a New Years Eve dance, It could have been Prom Night as everyone of the young ladies and gentlemen were dressed to the nines and as we all know it can storm on a given date in North Dakota. The dance would have been in the old City Hall that burned down in the sixties.

The evening started out fairly decent, the weather was cooperating for the big dance.  The young men were all decked out in their suits and ties, the young women were in there prettiest dresses and high heels.  In particular, I remember the dresses the young ladies were wearing. Some of the dresses were very different.  Some were shaped like balloons and some were called sacks and they were of every color and shape.  Apparently the fashions were changing at this time or maybe it was just that my hormones were beginning to pop and I was beginning to notice girls.  I was all of eleven years old at the time, but approaching 12 fast if you what I mean.  There was a lot of excitement as the young men and women went hustling and bustling around town getting ready and getting together for the big dance. 

The reason Henry and I were so aware of what was going on, was that, at this period of our lives we were hanging out in the evenings, up on Main St. at Orville Sutton’s, Used Auto Parts & Repair business that was located in the building across the street from the Crystal Café.  This building was previously known as Richards Variety Store, and after that as Suttons Used Auto Parts Store, After Suttons the store became Berg’s Electric and eventually became Joe Morinville’s Grocery Store.    Mr. & Mrs. Sutton (Orville and Mildred) actually lived in the back of the store with four of their five daughters, Joyce, the twins, Janice and Janet and the youngest girl, Gayle during the school months.  During the summer when there was no school the family would live on their farm.  Their oldest daughter Eileen was in college at the time, and their son, Roger lived on their farm located about halfway between, St. John and Hansboro, ND with his grandparents.  Henry worked on this farm for Mr. Sutton for a couple of summers. 

Henry remembers on one occasion while Orville and he were touring the fields, they noticed that water was flowing from a pipe sticking out of ground.  The flowing water from the artesian well had made a pond around the pipe and was spreading across the field.  Orville turned to Henry and said, “That it was his job, to stop the flow of water coming from that pipe”.  If they couldn’t stop the water, they would never be able to farm that portion of the field.  Henry said, when they got back to the farm, he immediately went to look for something that he could cap that pipe with.  He went through the shop, the barn, the junk pile and everyplace he could think of to look.  He said as he walked through the farm yard looking, that his eyes would always lock onto a shovel that was leaning up against the front of the barn.  

He would look at that shovel, and think, that the handle of that shovel looked to be the right diameter to plug that pipe.   I’m thinking; while he is telling me this story that since we grew up in the trees and brush of the Turtle Mountains, which is purity much a wood culture, that he was thinking of a wood type plug, don’t you?

It was a few days later he said when Orville and he were walking across the farm yard, when Orville happen to notice that the shovel, leaning up against the front of the barn didn’t look quite right.  He asked Henry, what happened to that shovel?  Henry replied that he had sawed off the handle to plug that artesian well out in the field.  Henry said Orville just kind of smiled, and shook his head, and kept on walking.  Henry said it was probably not the correct way, but he thought he had done a purity good job for a twelve year old kid.  Henry said, a piece of that shovel handle and a sledge hammer, purity much shut that artesian down, and the field eventually became dry enough to plow. 

Several of us young fellows about town hung out at Suttons store while they were in town.  It all started with Nina Sutton the Grandmother to the Sutton children.  She moved in and operated the store during the summer months while the family was back on the farm. 

 Orville had made the back part of the store suitable for living quarters and had built shelving and bins in the vacant front portion of the store, and stalked them with used auto parts and left his mother in charge for the summer to sell the parts and run the store.  Nina lived in the back portion of the building. 

One day while walking Main Street a few of us boys decided to go in and check out the new business in town.  This short round lady with silver hair was sitting at the class counter that was located just inside the front door reading the newspaper.  She looked up from her newspaper and greeted us with a big smile and of course wanted to know who we were and where we lived.  The friendly lady asked us if we would like to play a game of marbles.  We, being bored on this bright sunny day and glad to be inside out of the sun, where it was cool, jumped at the chance to do something different.  She invited us back into her living quarters and sat us down at her dining room table.  She went around a corner and came back with a painted sheet of plywood, some marbles, and dies and laid them out on the table.  She asked if we had ever seen or played this game of marbles before, and of course none of us ever had.  Nina’s board was set up for a maximum of four players and could be played by just two players and there were no short cuts, you had to travel around the entire board, by placing your marbles in the indentions drilled in a pattern to follow on the board with your colored marbles. The game is now marketed under the name aggravation and has several short cuts that can be taken by the players as they move their marbles around the pattern on the board. Nina instructed us where to place the marbles on the drilled indentions in the face of the homemade board game.   She informed us of the rules of the game and the object of the game.  The object was to move your four marbles around the board from your home location to the finish line or home base located in front of each player.  You shook the die and moved that number of spaces on the board, if someone’s marble was on the space where you landed you sent that marble back to its home space.  We were having fun and she enjoyed playing the game with us.  It soon became the thing to do that summer of 1957; if we couldn’t find anything else to do we would go play marbles with Nina.  Aggravation is still a fun game to play and to be enjoyed by all.  I still have a copy of Nina’s board game that I made back in the 60’s but now we usually play the manufactured version as six players can sit down and enjoy the game all at once. 

Nina was always glad to see us, and she was soon telling us about her travels.  She showed us little bottles with water, explaining which one was from the Pacific Ocean and the other from the Atlantic Ocean, and had us notice the difference in the amount of salt that had settled to the bottom of each bottle.  No, I don’t remember which ocean contains more salt.  She had us put these large sea shells up to our ears and listen to the roar of the ocean.  Yes, I know.  How did they get the ocean in there, anyway?   We all enjoyed our time with her and also got to know the other members of her family and enjoyed our time with them also.  Besides playing marbles and card games we were soon accompanying Orville down to shanty town where he had a couple of lots with junked out automobiles, where we would get parts and take them back to the store.  There were a lot of car bodies, engines and other metal laying around on them lots.

 Orville told me on one of these trips that if I wanted to make some money that he would give me a dollar for every engine that I tore apart.  Man that sounded good to me.  That was a lot of money back then.  Every night after school I would run home change clothes, grab a crescent wrench, pliers and a screw driver and head down to shanty town.  Never did get a whole engine torn down.  I suppose my mother was happy that I finally gave up on becoming rich tearing engines apart.  The engines in them days were covered with grease and when you got near them, it wasn’t long before you were covered with grease.   When you think back, it makes you wonder what mom thought.  What the hell next?   

Orville was an interesting guy to hang out with!  He always had something on his mind.  One time he brought out his 45 caliber target pistol.  It had a grip designed to fit his hand, way too big for my hand.  He asked if I wanted to shoot it, why of course I wanted to shoot it.  I hadn’t played cowboys with them toy pistols and caps for nothing in my younger years.  He leaned a block of wood up in front of old Seid Kadry’s outhouse, and said that was the target.  Seid Kadry owned operated the Pool Hall just across the empty lot, south of Sutton’s Store.  The outhouse located about 20 feet behind the Pool Hall, was one building with two doors.  It was a duplex.  I suppose they were a his and a hers?  But, I don’t remember any signs being posted on the doors and I don’t remember any hers ever going back there.  Then again, it really didn’t matter as both had a bench with the same size viewing hole cut into the top. I’m sure most people went in, closed the door, looked in the hole and thought or said the same thing, before sitting down to do their business and reading the Sears and Roebuck Catalog. I don’t think there was a catalog in them outhouses neither; I think you were on your own.  Life was tough back in them days.

Orville backed me up about 30’ from that target we had placed up against the outhouse and handed me the pistol and told me to go for it.  I held the pistol straight out in front of me in my right hand sighting through the sights at the block of wood, and slowly squeezed the trigger as he instructed me.  Bang!  The gun fired, my arm bent back and the gun smacked me in the forehead.  Orville, damn near died laughing, and in between choking and laughing, asked me if I wanted to try that again.  This time he suggested that I should try holding the gun with both hands.  I didn’t think so; I didn’t need to be smacked in the head again.  I guess you could say I was a fast learner. 

Thinking back now, it probably wasn’t a good place to be target shooting; didn’t Bill Evans’s Hardware have their propane tanks stored on a platform located on the south side of them outhouses?  You don’t think he was siphoning natural gas from them outhouses to fill those tanks, do you?  I don’t remember seeing any hoses running from under them outhouses to them tanks.  No, I don’t have a clue as what size load Orville had in that pistol, all I remember is my head hurt and I didn’t shoot it again. I suppose it was a teaching moment, anyway, I did learn something.

Orville grew small grains on his farm east of St. John and never ran any cattle.  So, he was always looking for something to occupy his time during the off season.  He at one time started a movie theatre in St, John, started a paving Service out west, and had started an Excavation Business at Rolla, ND.  He wasn’t afraid to try anything. Orville decided to start a Taxi Service in Dunseith, and run it out of his residence and Auto Parts Store. 

Orville Sutton, his son Roger, and a fellow from Canada traveled to New York to a Taxi Cab auction and purchased five used 1957 bright yellow Ford Taxi Cabs. They each drove a vehicle and towed a vehicle back to Dunseith from New York City.  The Canadian fellow took two of the Taxis up to Canada and Orville kept three of them.  Orville sold one and used two for his Taxi business in Dunseith.  Most of his customers were people that worked at the Sand Haven.  So, he to be ready to go whenever there was a shift change.

It was the next morning after the big dance that everyone became aware that one of the high school girls had frozen her feet.  Her folks were in the store talking to Orville about getting him to take their daughter to see a doctor. Apparently her and her boyfriend had driven out west of town to do whatever boys and girls do out west of Dunseith in the dark.  Anyway, the car had become stuck or stalled on them.  They had to walk back into town.  It was cold and the wind was whipping the snow around, it had begun to storm.  I don’t recall how far the young couple had to walk before they were picked up by another young couple and taken to their homes. 

The high school girl with just high heeled shoes on had frozen her feet and needed to go see a doctor.  If you have frozen any part of your body before you know that the freezing part is tolerable it’s the thawing out part of the frozen area of the body that is miserable and painful. It is worse than the worst tooth ache you have ever had.  I am speaking from experience and if you have grown up in North Dakota, I’m willing to bet that you have frozen some part of your body before and know exactly what I am talking about and so I can imagine the pain that this girl was going through during the night. The girl’s dad wanted to hire Mr. Sutton, who ran a Taxi service from his used auto parts store, to take her to a doctor.  Mr. Sutton, wanted to help them out, but due to the storm the night before, nothing was moving, the roads were all blocked.  Orville made some calls and found that the State Highway Dept. was on its way to open up the main highway through town and up to the Sand Haven, “The State Hospital”. 

As everyone waited and watched through the large plate glass windows in the front of the store, the State snow plows blew through town opening up Main Street and the highway up to the state hospital.  The State Highway Dept. always opened the road to the State Hospital first in the area because they knew the people up there had to pull a long shift whenever there was a big storm that blocked the roads, as no one could get there to relieve them and they couldn’t get home anyway, even if they wanted too. They knew that the people at the hospital were tired and wanting to get home to their families. 

The only problem now was to get out the taxi, as Orville had put it in the garage for the night to keep it from getting buried under the heavy snow fall and so it would start when he needed it.  Automobiles were temper mental back in them days. They didn’t start to well when it was cold and the batteries didn’t have the cranking power that they do now. 

The girl and her dad had trudged through the deep snow up to Suttons Store and the girl was still in a awful lot of pain.  The Sutton family were doing all they could to make the father and daughter comfortable. Orville had called the city and asked when they were going to be able to open up the side streets and the alley behind his business, informing the city employee of his predicament and the young ladies problem.  He was told that the equipment to open streets would get there as soon as they could, but they were also having problems due to the amount of snow that fell and that had been blown into large drifts by the wind.  The large drifts were slowing them down and taking up a lot of their time, and so it was going to be awhile before they would be able to get the alley behind Orville’s Store open. 

It was around noon when looking through the front window of the store, someone noticed that across the street sat Glen Johnson’s new Mercury in front of the Garden Tap.  Apparently he was able to get out and get to the bar to do the Sunday cleaning.  The bars were not open Sundays back in them days.  Orville pulled on his parka and headed across the street to the bar.  It wasn’t long before he returned with the keys to the car. The girl, her dad and Orville were off to see the doctor. The girl was given some medication by the doctor to ease the pain and told that her feet would be fine.  She was allowed to return to her home.  She was a very lucky girl.

I remember that I had been admitted to the Rolette Hospital with bronchial pneumonia.  They put me in a room that was just south of the main street entrance to the old two story wood structure that was the original hospital.  There were five beds in that room.  I was situated so I could lie in my bed and see the activity on the street in front of the hospital through the large window.  Across the room from me and off to the side of that window and facing me, lay Earl Myer. I don’t recall what Earl was in the hospital for but I did enjoy his company.  The reason I’m telling you this story is that there was another fellow from Dunseith in the hospital at the time.  He would come by, about twice a day to visit with Earl.  I also knew this fellow from Dunseith.  His name was either DaCeedie or Chick-a mish.   I know these two fellows are different people and I always did mix up the two.  Anyway, one of these guys had frozen their toes on both feet and was in the hospital in Rolette with Earl and me.  His hospital room was located to the west of us in the new part of the hospital, but he would often come by and visit with Earl.  Earl and I would look at each other and grin because we could hear him coming to visit us.  His frozen toes had dried up and they would rattle on the tile floors when he walked. Earl would always raze him about not being able to ever sneak up on anyone ever again.  The rest of his feet from the toes back were wrapped with bandages.  Eventually the doctors removed his toes and then he would just appear in our doorway unannounced.  He would surprise us and then we all have a good laugh, because he didn’t have his rattles anymore.