Friday, March 16, 2012

Unfulfilled Dream? Keep Dreaming!

I told you yesterday that my Grandpa Oscar was never able to build his 100 foot long barn. In his 86 year life, that dream went unfulfilled. He is the tall man in the middle above.
But that dream was not the only trouble he had in his young life. 
 He married a pretty young woman when he was in his mid twenties. She had been Iris's first grade teacher and Iris remembers her distinctly.
Grandpa had built a fine new house, finished in 1918 and they were full of dreams. 
His wife didn't live long enough to enjoy the life that they had planned. There are three graves: Grandpa's wife and two babies. Each a broken dream.
Life can be cruel. 
Time keeps marching on. 
 The choice to move on or not belonged to Grandpa.
 Could he choose to find another dream?
In the harsh light of day, did he have the faith to know the stars are still out there? Did he have the strength reach for them? 

Grandpa was an artist and a farmer. He was patient. He recovered. 
My grandmother was well over 30 when Grandpa came courting. He was 40ish. Signa is seated on the ground above. Her sister standing behind her was college educated with a job. Another sister had married and become a mother. Signa's lot in life was expected to be that of the dutiful farm daughter, taking care of her aging mother and bachelor brothers. She couldn't believe her good fortune when Grandpa rescued her from that fate.
They married, moved into his house. Although Grandma was old to begin motherhood, they wanted children.
Grandpa's beloved sister, Sophie, had died after child birth in a near by hospital. He believed the infection was a result of unsanitary conditions there. Grandma agreed, the babies would be born at home, in the GriggsDakota farmhouse.
After all, Grandma's mother was a midwife and had delivered many babies in many homes. By the mid-twenties there was a doctor who would come when called. The plan worked. She bore three children, all of whom survived into adulthood. But not without a struggle.
The story was told to me by her educated sister, Ada. Signa, probably because of her advanced age of 34, could not produce milk for her first born, my dad. The retired mid wife, grandma's mother Kirsti was sent for. When she arrived she was told that the baby would die. It was too bad, the parents wanted that baby so much. Kirsti would not let that happen.
Death of infants was such a part of life on the plains in the early years. Great Grandma Kirsti had, no doubt, seen more than her share of infants unable to thrive. She knew what to do.
Kirsti made a milk mush. She found a clean rag, folded it in such a way so that the baby could suck on it, and filled it with mush.
It worked, that baby, my dad still lives in that happy home. Never stop dreaming.
There is a little more to tell. I'll finish this on Monday.


  1. I'm speechless and have a lot of tears Mom. Thanks for telling the stories so we never forget where we came from in Griggs Dakota!

  2. Great stories. Someday your grandkids will be so proud (as your own kids are) to be able to pass on these stories to their children.