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This is a short story from our paternal grandparents about how they met…

It was September of 1939, and in a spurt of good will and benevolence he  volunteered to pick up someone from the train station in Mitchell, South Dakota, for a Christian youth convention he and some friends from Bonesteel, SD were attending.

The day had a hectic start for her, as her car ran out of a gas before she made it very far. A neighbor was kind enough to drive her to her point of embarkment, and she made the train to Mitchell on time. The convention was to be at her alma matter Dakota Wesleyan University.


Image of her on her Uncle’s farm 1939

With his girlfriend in the front passenger seat, and two friends in the back, he arrived on time for the prearranged pickup. She climbed into the back seat and away they went bouncing and jouncing along in his old jalopy, which he had bought with the money he saved from running the milk route for his parent’s farm.


Image from fallbreeze.net  Hair slicked back for a family photo. Not sure of the date of photo,  circa 1936

The day featured a full day of festivities, which included a meeting, roller-skating and a banquet. To his surprise she was the keynote speaker..


fallbreeze.net picture made on her Uncle’s South Dakota farm in 1939. This may be the very dress she wore to the convention

At the end of the day he insisted on driving her all the way home. She accepted. The day had been tiring and her car was not waiting for her at the train station in her hometown, so she would have to find a way home from there anyway.

His girlfriend did not seem pleased, but didn’t say anything. However, when our grandmother began to climb into the backseat, he stopped her .

“Oh, no, you ride in the front seat.”

With a glance at the stormy face of his girlfriend, she demurred.

“No, no, I am fine in the back.”

His girlfriend quickly spoke up in agreement that my grandmother would be “just fine” in the backseat.

One thing about my grandfather, he was usually a fairly laid back kind of guy, but could be shockingly stubborn once he set his mind to something. He insisted that had he known her role at the convention he would never have put her in the backseat.

With his mind made up, there was nothing that could be done, except make a bigger scene, so she sat in the front seat with his girlfriend’s knee in her back. Grandma said she felt a few extra bumps to her backseat, but was never sure if she was being kicked through the seat or if it was just a tight fit back there for such a long ride. It is likely that she was just being nice in her later retellings and that she knew good and well what those kicks meant, especially because she said her neck prickled the whole way home as the other girl bored dagger eyes into the back of her head!

That was the end of that until about 8 months later when she received a phone call out of the blue asking if she would like to go for a ride with him on Trill Hill.

check back tomorrow to see PART TWO, …and our Grandparents first date in the early summer of 1940.

~ Kristin