Our neighbors, Grandma and Grandpa Story, loaded up four grand kids (from two families) this morning and headed out for three days and two nights in nature's glory, scamping and tenting at Gooseberry Falls near Duluth.
Grandma and Grandpa are experts at all this, packing and planning an excellent adventure. The willing parents handed off their children after administering the no-fighting-in-the-car pledge. Then away we go up I-35. Next stop Toby's in Hinckley for an excited Andrew, Michael, Ella and Jane.
Jenny's birthday party this afternoon provided the perfect venue for our own version of "Meet the Parents." That's Jennifer and her beau Joe; then Kathleen and Stan and Ray and Betty. Ray and Betty are from Nisswa, Joe is their only son together. Stan was born in Crosby, not far from Betty's childhood home. We enjoyed our afternoon together and devoured a wonderful spread enjoyed by all, including the hosts (at right).
We were chatting old times with Mom just the other day at her home at Clearwater Suites in Alexandria. We had found some old pictures in a scrapbook and were talking about her namesake niece, Frances Beverly.
[Photo at right: Mom with Dumpling in 1937]
For some reason, that made her think of a shirt-tail relative, a woman who worked for Standard Oil in Fargo and we couldn't get the name, but had fond memories of her. We wondered about that on the blog, and sure enough, Mom's niece, Faith Cole, helped us out. Faith gave the eulogy for her dear aunt Dumpling, her mother's sister, and here it is. This is for you, Mom. She sounds like a cool lady.
Frances Dorthy Isakson, 1908-2007
To us she is Dumpling, a name of endearment that Frances Beverly gave back to her. Frances was a chubby little baby and Dumpling called her “my little dumpling”. When Frances could talk she just turned the tables and our Aunt Frances became Dumpling for life. When we called her at Standard Oil and GPH, the phone operators knew who “Dumpling” was. We didn’t know she had any other name.
Always a soft touch, she was the one who gave us special treats, like pickle and butter sandwiches. She would take us to Dutch Treat for ice cream and she never checked the charges on her bill at Noonan’s, the neighborhood grocer, even when the bill was little high! We guess she knew there were extra charges on the tab and in one case, a toy gun was on the bill. Hmmm….
When we visited her in Fargo it was our habit to meet her after work under the railroad track viaduct and we would walk home arm in arm and hand in hand. We were most happy to have her home since she was our entertainment.
Being from an austere Victorian home, she would break the rules, often with glee. After church we would run home fast with Dumpling and she would read the funny papers to us before Mother got home. After she moved to Springfield she stayed with us for a short time and would sneak us into her big closet where we would watch tv together without Mother’s knowledge. Being a savvy dresser she owned earrings and had shoes that were colors other than black and white which was racy for that time. Fond memories are of her with her hose rolled down around her ankles dancing a little jig and calling her Hawaiian Punch “kickapoo joy juice”. She was having fun and breaking the rules again.
As a child of a landscape gardener she too enjoyed gardening and worked hard to try to have a garden in the rocky hillside on Campbell Street. Even after she retired she would be out in the yard swinging a pick ax to put a plant in the ground. She lived by the philosophy that flowers should stay on the plant and are not to be cut for indoors. Trips across town were commentaries on plants and landmarks were described by the plants on the site. She was a successful grower of orchids and would contribute them to special occasions like her nieces’ graduations, recitals and weddings, even when it was hard for her to give up her babies. And boy, you have better take good care of them.
As she aged she would play mind games with us. Mike Weter recalls that she would turn off her air conditioner and then call him because her place was too hot. When he put tape on the thermostat to keep her from changing it, she merely pick up the end of the tape, turned it off, put the tape back down and then called Mike.
She was never one to appreciate “domestic toil”, which she always said with a giggle. Vencil recalls that he would start to do her dishes and she would say “just leave them, I’ll do them”. Of course, the next time he returned she had another stack of dirty dishes.
Later, in the nursing home, she would walk us to the door, arm in arm, hand in hand, sometimes saying with a little giggle as we reached the door “This is as far as I go.”
As she did every year, twenty-five years ago Kathleen made some plans, baked a cake and hosted a birthday party for her youngest daughter, Jennifer. These controlled riots featured games, laughs and girl talk. This one, based on the candle count, appears to be the 13th.
Tomorrow, Jennifer will be hosting her own birthday party at "Jen and Joe's" in Hopkins. We're invited to attend and so are Joe's parents. Everything's different now, somehow.
One thing is the same, though. Mom's baking the birthday cake.
Our cousin, (Mom's niece), Faith Brown Cole, responded to our inquiries about Mother's recent memories and observations of her dear ones. The photograph that we posted earlier is indeed Mom's brother Richard Brown holding the child with our Great Grandmother Mary Lincoln Manley Brown, but the other woman is not Faith's mother (Richard's wife Esther) as we initially thought, and Faith would certainly know. Perhaps Esther is taking the picture. Faith's best guess is that the younger woman is Norma Brown Dobson, Mary Lincoln Brown's daughter. We'll gratefully amend our earlier post.
But along the way, Faith sent us the treasure above.
Faith writes: I am sending you a picture of Thanksgiving, 1937 (date is written on back) which has two unidentified women in it. My mother must have taken the picture. I think the people in the picture are, from l to r, Richard Manley Brown, (unknown), Jessie Wendelken Brown, Paul Manley Brown, Dora Foss Isakson, (unknown - could this be great aunt Florence Wendelken?), Frances Dorthy Isakson (Dumpling), Katherine Bonita Brown, and Jessie Beverly Brown.
I am also attaching my parent's engagement picture and Dumpling's eulogy. Dumpling is also known as Frances Dorthy Isakson, 1908-2007 and my mother is Esther Olive Isakson Brown, 1907-1959. I am very glad to get the information on Mary Manley Brown. In my retirement I want to work on family history. I have started a couple of times... Please keep me informed on new findings and I will share with you once I get up to speed.
To what is in common,
Sounds like Faith's mother, Esther, was the family photographer. Great that Faith could send us Esther's picture. Thanks, Faith! Mother will certainly enjoy all this as she keeps up with the blog in Alexandria. Yes, that's Mom on the far right. She never uses her first name, preferring Beverly.
Jennifer's school chums reunited at the Outback in Eden Prairie a couple days ago. Everyone's about 38 now; some have careers, some have babies, some have husbands, they all have dreams and all had stories to tell. And they all look absolutely great, in the prime of life with so much yet to come. We remember little happy girls ... the birthday parties, the chatter, the laughter and the somersaults in the grass at 1490 Sunshine Circle, Chaska.
A perfect summer day set off today's picnic with Mom at her Clearwater Suites home in Alexandria. She was in fine spirits and not at all put off by a very aggressive puppy-in-a-cone.
Stan and Kathleen laughed with her about many things today; she's enjoying the stories about her Grandmother on the blog as her companion Michelle pulls them up for view. Today she remembered the name of the infant being held by her late brother in the 1939 picture on a previous post, below. It is Frances Beverly, Richard and Esther's first-born.
Mom also remembered an aunt who lived in Fargo and worked for the mammoth Standard Oil company (now broken up) for many years. Mom remembers her calling it Standard Ohl, with a typical Bible Belt twang. Mom couldn't remember her name, though. Can anybody help? Stan remembers watching tv in her apartment while Dad was on business somewhere.
Update:Mom's niece, Faith Brown Cole, writes:
You asked if Dumpling [Frances Isakson] worked at Standard Oil. Yes, she worked there almost right out of high school until 1958 when Standard Oil moved to Minneapolis. At that time she moved to Springfield, since Grandma Isakson was no longer alive and Mother was her only living relative from her birth family. Mother died the next year.
Faith also sent Dumpling's eulogy and we will post it here soon.
You may have seen Phil when you're flipping through your cable channels and stop to watch some folks playing Texas Hold 'em. His wife is a psychologist who sits in the audience and when Phil gets a little crazy, she grounds him.
That is not Phil Hellmuth in the photos with Kathleen. That is the attorney who represents our homeowner's association. A really nice fellow. He is also Phil Hellmuth's brother. So when David dropped by the neighborhood on business yesterday, we naturally had to grab the photo op.
While Stan merrily snapped away, Kathleen invited Dave, Phil and their wives to dinner at our house, anytime. That's a standing offer, she said. (Hmm. Wonder what we're having? Texas barbecue?)
For his part, an amused David said that next time he'd bring Kathleen a genuine poker brat tee shirt or some other Hellmuth souvenir.
The photograph at left is the actual poker star. Kathleen did not ask David if he beats his brother at cards.
OurWisconsin cousin, Joyce Schulte, remembers our great grandmother well. After she saw the posting below, she kindly sent this note:
I really enjoyed the articles and pictures that you put in the blog. I well remember Great-Grandmother Mary. She visited several times in the Black Hills with Grandfather and Grandmother Brown. She was a sweet "lady" who always had time for Phyllis and me.
The last time our family saw Grandmother Mary was in Minneapolis early in 1950. We took her out for dinner and later she sent Dad a nice "thank you" letter.
Some of the papers that Dad kept said that Mary was named Lincoln because her parents expected a boy and were going to call a boy Lincoln.
Of course I have no proof that this story is true. We have copies of the note and an early picture of Grandmother Mary taken in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Thank you Joyce. Great-grandmother was indeed a note writer. Sosie sent us a photograph of the note she wrote to Mrs. Gough that was mentioned in her article. We posted it above. Such beautiful handwriting. You can click to enlarge it and study the detail.
It would be very nice to get a copy of an earlier picture of Mary Lincoln Manley Brown. We have been examining mother's wonderfully detailed scrapbooks. Here's a picture we found this morning of great grandma. That's her son Paul picking her up at the train station and we think that would be Grandma with him.
Born at the outbreak of the Civil War and given the same name as the First Lady, our great grandmother is shown above in 1939. She's pictured with her grandson, Richard Brown and a woman believed to be Mary Lincoln's daughter, Norma Dobson, and an infant we think is Frances Beverly, Richard and Esther's first born. Mary Lincoln's husband, Ralph Lee Brown, preceded her in death by 28 years.
Meet our great-grandmother
Last week Stan's sister Sosie wrote to her Siblings about our great grandmother, Mary Lincoln Manley Brown. After organizing some closets and talking with Mom, she came up with a sweet vignette of a woman none of us knew.
Mother remembers her paternal grandmother this way:
“Grandma Brown was a very tiny woman and tripped along on high heels with very little steps. She always walked to church Wednesday evenings for prayer meetings. She lived to age 88. Never weighed as much as 100 pounds.”
Mary Lincoln Manley was born to Amanda Fraley and Ira Manley in Philadelphia on July 8, 1861. She married Ralph Lee Brown and they had three children: Paul Manley, Norma, and Clinton Fiske.
This is the newspaper account of her death:
Mrs. Ralph Brown, who has spent considerable time at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. M. Dobson, died Tuesday at the Walker Home in Minneapolis where she has been living more recently. She was 88 years old, her family home in Aberdeen, SD. She leaves Mrs. Dobson and her two sons. Mr. and Mrs. Dobson and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Petersen were in the south at the time, the Dobsons in Texas, the Petersens on a motor trip. The funeral has been set tentatively for Saturday at Lakewood chapel, arrangements dependent on word received from Mrs. Dobson. Until that time Mrs. Brown will be at the Washburn-McReavy mortuary, 4th and Central, Minneapolis.
Her newspaper funeral announcement is more detailed:
Funeral services for Mrs. Ralph L. Brown who died March 28 at the Walker home in Minneapolis will be held at Lakewood chapel in Minneapolis on Monday at 3 pm. Mrs. Brown, mother of Mrs. J. M. Dobson, had spent considerable time in St Cloud with her daughter prior to going to Minneapolis about a year and a half ago. Mr. and Mrs. Dobson, who have been in Texas, will return in time for the funeral service. Mrs. Brown, the former Mary Lincoln Manley, was born July 8, 1861, in Phileadelphia, Pa. She was married to Ralph Lee Brown at Tolono, Ill., in June 1879, and went with her husband as pioneers to South Dakota, where Mr. Brown engaged in real estate and banking business, living in Aberdeen, except for 10 years spent in Ashland, Ky. Mr. Brown died 28 years ago. Mrs. Brown leaves two sons as well as Mrs. Dobson. There are nine grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.
Her newspaper obituary notice includes the addresses of her children:
BROWN—Mary, age 88, of 3701 Bryant Ave. S. Survived by 2 sons Paul M. of Fessenden, ND, Clinton F. of Whitewater, Wis., 1 daughter Mrs. James M. Dobson, St. Cloud, Minn., 9 grandchildren & 28 great grandchildren. Services Monday 3 pm at Lakewood Chapel. Arrangements with Washburn-McReavy, AT 2369.
According to the mortuary book, Mary Lincoln Manley Brown died at 7 in the morning at the Walker Home at 3701 Bryant Avenue South in Minneapolis. Her funeral service at Lakewood Chapel was April 3, 1950, at 3:00 pm and she was laid to rest at Lakewood Cemetery at 3:30 pm. The soloist, Beverly Rolfsrud, sang Jesus, Rose of Sharon and Sunrise Tomorrow. (Mom was pregnant with Stephen Paul at that time.)
The following relatives attended the funeral and signed the book in this order: Mary Frances Petersen, Norma Brown Dobson, Clarence D. Chase, Judy Chase, David Wendel Chase, Sandra K. Chase, Beverly Brown Rolfsrud, Clinton Fisk Brown, Paul M Brown, Kaye B. Brown, Dorothy M. Chase, and (James Dobson).
A floral arrangement was sent from the Park Ave Methodist Church, so perhaps MLM Brown attended that church, either in St Cloud or Minneapolis.
But Mary L. Brown comes alive in this letter she quite legibly wrote two months before she died and sent to Mrs. H. B. Gough, 1501 2nd Ave. So, St Cloud, Minn: 3701 Bryant Ave. So. Minneapolis, Minn Jan. 18—1950
Dear Mrs Gough- You will recognize the very pretty stationery you were so kind as to give me. I thank you very much and will enjoy using it. I appreciated reading your Christmas letter. Sorry for you in the loss of your good mother but we all have to meet these “almost” heart-breaking experiences sooner or later, but the Lord always will help us if we call upon Him. I had a happy Christmas in the Home. It is such a satisfactory place to live. I have become acquainted with Mrs. Nichols. She is a nice lady. Her friend Mrs. Olsen can’t come until there is a room for her. All are filled at present. Aren’t we passing through the coldest weather. We do not leave the building. Do not have to (go) for a church Service as we have a lovely chapel and a good sermon every Sunday. I am so in hopes you can come to see me before very long & then see our lovely Home. We have so many fresh flowers, most of the time. Have right now. I trust you & the family are well. My love to you & the rest of the family. Yours, Mary L. Brown
Now Stan writes:
Kathleen and Stan's middle daughter, Marcelline, lives in Uptown, just four blocks from Lakewood Cemetery where Great Grandmother Mary Lincoln Manley Brown is buried. To find Lakewood, just take Hennepin Ave south until it ends in the cemetery. Today we called her and said we were going to hunt for the 1950 gravesite. She gladly joined us and we three set about the gorgeous confines of Lakewood Cemetery, on the bank of Lake Calhoun, looking for Mary Brown's grave.
Many illustrious Minnesotans are buried in Lakewood among the thousands of gravesites, and we were proud to know at least one, not counting Hubert H. Humphrey, of course.
Earlier we searched the Lakewood Cemetery blog ("Celebrating Life Since 1871") and found her plot listed as Section 45, Lot 153, Grave 5.
It was a gorgeous summer day, but, even armed with downloaded maps, this was no easy task. We found the Section right away, but orienting from there proved harder. The map said Lot 153 was in the row that starts with Nelson, just down from Litzenberg but not as far as Callahan.
Kathleen spotted it first and shouted with jubiliation.
"Here she is!"
Sure enough, and it was a two-fer. Great Grandma was buried next to her husband Ralph. She had been widowed for 28 years before joining him on March 28, 1950.
After a couple of pictures at the Walker Home two blocks away, we took Marcy to lunch a couple of blocks further where her brother owns a nice restaurant. But first, we made her put her hand on great grandmother's grave and promise to visit it at least once a year as long as she lives in Uptown.
She agreed, saying she'd probably do it in a few weeks because she didn't want to be carrying the burden that she might forget and let the family down.
Birdie is home again after a very difficult day. She was spayed, microchipped and had a tiny hernia repaired. She seems comfortable and is apparently enjoying some very good drugs. A little whimpering and a lot of questioning looks, but other than that, the doctor said everything went well and that she should come back to the clinic in two weeks to have stitches pulled.
Mom always made shirts for her boys. We had a little sewing room on the second floor, stuffed with fabrics, patterns, bobbins and thread. Mom taught her six kids to sew. We often made our own button or jeans repairs. Mom took on big projects, and she didn't just create dresses and blouses for girls.
Back in the 50s, Mom sewed three matching pink shirts for her three boys to wear to church every Sunday. They were identical, except for the tailored-to-fit sizes. . . and each sported a unique pocket logo.
In the 70s, she went all out. That's when tie-dye and lace and "anything goes" raged and Mom was not going to be left out of the fun. One day she surprised her boys with new handmade shirts, not because we didn't have any, not because we needed them, not because we asked for them, but just because she wanted to do it. Today, Stan's shirt is still in great shape. Click to enlarge these photos: notice the fine stitching on the cuffs, the gathered sleeves. Mom obviously had fun doing this, but they were also a lot of hard work, and the more we see them, the more we appreciate them. In the photo above, proudly modeling the tailored shirts in the back yard at our Alexandria home on Lake Andrew are Virgil, Stan and Steve. Real men wear lace, you know. The young fellow is Chris Miller, Stan's "little brother," whose highlight that spring day was driving Dad's riding lawnmower.
It was with great pleasure that Stan handed on his 70s shirt this spring to his youngest, Jennifer. She loves it and wore it here for waffles today.
Sosie skyped us from California last night. We had a lovely hour-long conversation. There's something about seeing somebody while you are speaking that extends the time you spend with them. And since it's free, we seniors dig it.
Sosie is wearing a sweatshirt from Norway with what appears to be inside-out lettering. Norwegians don't see things backwards. Honest. It is a software problem, apparently "mirror image" is toggled on. Something that Sosie's personal assistant, Zakk the Geekk, will have to untoggle, no doubt.
Kathleen joined us to cover a wide range of topics. The only thing of substance that I can actually report is that the proposed family dinner at the James J. Hill Mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul has been suspended. The rule forbidding any red wines in that venerated establishment seems to be the sticking point.
Then Sosie excused herself and left for her Garden Club.
The popular St. Paul hipster headquarters, Carboni's Pizza, just down the street from St. Kate's, hosted the August meeting of the Ladies Who Lunch. Kathleen and M'Liss spent four hours and twenty minutes inside Carboni's today covering a range of topics. On the way out, the following conversation was overheard in the parking lot. - M'Liss: This was just great, Kathleen. Oh, you know we never even mentioned Chuck and Stan all afternoon. Kathleen: That's right. How's Chuck? M'Liss: He's fine. And how is Stan? Kathleen: Real good. He's good. M'Liss: Good. Kathleen: Well, . . . I guess that about covers it then. See ya. M'Liss: See ya.
Erling Rolfsrud got drafted in 1943 into the World War II U.S. Army. He took a train to Minneapolis, flunked the physical, and took the train back to Moorhead. He was at Ft. Snelling overnight. At the time he didn't know he was going to be rejected, of course, and he wrote this Post Card home to his wife. The Army provides pencils, postcards and postage to all inductees, along with orders to write home. On the flip side of the Ft. Snelling postcard shown below, Dad wrote: "Have our bunks for the night, have eaten our first chow and now are off to a Post movie - to kill time! Love, E." Take it from someone who has been there. He sounds upbeat, but E was scared.
Dave Underwood, shown here in his Superman outfit, everyone's candidate for Father of the Year, Stan's entry into the Ultimate Fighting Cage match tournament, Des Moines division, celebrates a birthday today. Happy Birthday, Dave, to a really great guy!
Kathleen and Stan were minding their own business this afternoon, flipping back and forth between the PGA and the anemic Twins. Kathleen looked up and whaddya know, there was Birdie, calmly ensconced on the poker table, testing us and acting like she belonged there, just waiting for the dealer to dish her some aces.
This is a first. Nobody told her she couldn't be there. Now it looks like we can't leave the chairs akimbo anymore. Sheesh.
She's six months old and still a puppy. After four months of this constant puppy hijinks, we can't wait for an adult dog to show up. Going to be spayed on Friday. That ought to be a game changer. Let's see her climb on tables wearing a post-surgery cone.
Two people died yesterday when a small airplane crashed in this peony patch in Eden Prairie yesterday. The veteran pilot from Hibbing narrowly missed the Cummins-Grill homestead historic site you see in the background. Stan and Kathleen made this picture last summer while shooting a movie of the glorious peony blooms. The garden may become a memorial to this tragedy.
The movie is on YouTube and accessible by clicking on this URL
The coincidence of the week! When you go to a large venue, like Disney World or the State Fair, you always bump into someone you know. That didn't happen for Stan and Dan when they wandered the Hazeltine National Golf Course with another 30,000 fans. Not a familiar face among them. Just a ton of pros that you know from television, but that doesn't count. But hold on! Later in the day when we got home and looked at the movies we shot, Kathleen heard a familiar voice on a piece of raw footage. "I thought you said you didn't see Steve at Hazeltine?" she said. Quickly we rerolled the clip and sure enough, we had apparently brushed against Stan's brothr Steve while making a movie Monday and didn't even know it. Here's the clip.
Japanese photographers, in typical swarming scrum, closely monitored 17-year-old schoolboy Ryo Ishikawa during today's practice round at Hazeltine. The rising Japanese star has promised fans that he'll make the cut this time, something he couldn't do at the recent British Open. . . but then, neither did his playing partner, Tiger Woods.
We caught up with this Asian sensation at No. 8 and chatted with a couple of the photographers assigned to feed the folks back home. Ishikawa received a special invitation from the PGA.
He made his major debut at the US Masters in April. Ishikawa rose from 85th to 57th in the world after winning in Hokkaido on Japan's JGTO Tour last weekend.
At a news conference in Japan last weekend the youngster sounded like an old hand, passing out these sound bites:
"I've never seen the course (Hazeltine) but I'm not worried about it. It's what I do when I'm there that counts. I'm determined to qualify for the weekend this time. It's a learning process. My driving will be key."
Today's interview with the Japanese cameraman (above) didn't go as well. "Has he been getting off the tee today?," we asked.