Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Let's Sail Away....

In cleaning out files on Dad's computer- I discovered a note- where he reflected on the ups and downs of owning a boat.   Like many things- the flow of this story is disjointed-the timeline seems off-

Yet the reflection adds some details that I never knew about.   For example- I never knew dad got stuck on the Mississippi River...or how the story ends with "the happiest day of my wife's life was when the boat was hauled away".   

Apparently- mom had an amazing poker face in that regard...because I don't seem to recall my mom ever verbally expressing frustration related to the boat.

For my memories- and probably those of my sister's- are that the boat provided us with a chance to get out and play on the lakes in our community near Waukesha, WI.   We learned to water ski, we had fun with friends.    Sure, a few hours of fun took all day to accomplish...but isn't that the reality of a lot of life's hobbies?  

Anyway, back to dad's note...It reads...

Oh my, the memories.   I had a 16 foot Thompson Lap Boat in the 1960s with an Evinrude V4. 

Thanks- Google Photos- this is a clear image of what our boat looked like..

Our two daughters learned to water skin on Lake Pewaukee along with many of the neighbor friends.   After several years of trailer tires, tanks of gas, and fun on the waters on local lakes, a friend and I were on the Mississippi River, up stream from the dam at Trempealeau 

Not sure who's hiney that is- but the back of the picture indicates these are family friends
 The Bantas helping load the boat back onto the trailer.  

We had put in at Perrot State park, the engine quit and regardless of repeated attempts, could not get a restart.  We manage to drift to an island by grabbing at willow branches and held on until rescued by another boater with a Mercury.   

that's Martha, and her friend Annette- not sure who the other passenger is..sort of looks like Cousin Sarah 

After some good joshing about brand loyalty, we loaded and trailered back to Waukesha.   The boat sat by the garage for at least year and I discovered some dry rot.   I thought I could replace the cancerous planking but never got around to it.   A retired gent came by who had more interest in wood working than I and offered to buy the boat as a project.   I disclosed that the engine needed work and he stated that was not a concern.   

The boat had served its purpose in our family life and seeing it go down Cambridge Avenue was the happiest day of my wife's life.   

That would mark the end of the ownership of a motorboat for our family- but it did not mark the end of my dad's love for being out on the water.   

 Over the years he would dabble in a variety of ways to experience adventure from the water. 

There would be an  Alaskan cruise

a boat ride through the Amazon of South America, 
even a wine cruise down the Rhine River.
to name just a few of the countless adventures he enjoyed on the water..

But more than just  seeing the world from a seat on the boat, 
Dad enjoyed being the captain of water based experiences

From renting a pontoon boat to entertain the visiting grandchildren, 

to buying a sail boat in Norway
Ever mindful of getting the biggest bang for his buck, 
his research showed that it was cheaper to buy a sailboat in Norway than rent one for a week.
what would have been a week long adventure, 
ended up providing him with over a decade of fun trips back to Norway- 
since you know, that's where HIS boat was stored.  
From  cruising the Mississippi in a houseboat with friends...
to riding the rapids of the Flathead River in Glacier with a grandchild...
Dad found great joy in helping friends and family enjoy water based fun!
There was a week at a house on Lake Bennett
complete with a boat tour along the mail route of Lake Geneva..
a Pandemic-staycation...
where he no longer needed to be in the driver's seat to still find joy
and while the sunset may have set...
It is important to remember..
Just how much joy Richard found 
being out on the water...

Until next time..
Let your memories set sail! 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The cookbook that never was

I originally started this blog over 10 years ago-  as a way to capture the stories while our dad, Richard was still available to provide the narrative.   I'd occasionally scan some pictures-send them to Dad and ask for some stories.   At first, he provided replies that were  rich in detail- but as we both got older and life/time got in the way...fewer exchanges were had....I suppose we both sort of lost steam.

Fast forward to the earlier this month-    Our beloved story teller and master pie baker had told his last story, baked his last pie and passed away in the early morning of September 6th.

Left behind is a whole lot of stuff...

I give you "Exhibit A"...Martha's carload of memories..
and Exhibit B- Laura's carload...
and once unpacked...
more stuff to sift through...
Turns out our dad was an expert at the "Stash and Dash" approach to memory keeping. We found lots of evidence at "starts and stops" as it relates to memory keeping and organizing those memories.   

One such project was what I am  calling 
The Cookbook that never was.

Stashed in the kitchen cabinet was a manila envelope filled with a Hodge podge of  items-hand-written notes, some lists that looked one part shopping list-one part recipe and buried in amongst what looked like junk (at least on first glance) was this cover letter- typed up by Dad-   
Dated November 4, 1989

"Dear friends, you no doubt have many memories of Audrey as a good cook.  You have visited our house on many special occasions and I am sure there was usually some food available.   We spent a lot of time gathered around the kitchen table, the stove or the weber grill.    

Your help is requested.  Please indicate below the name or a description of some of your favorite dishes from her repertoire.  Your ideas will be used to compile a booklet of Audrey's best recipes for the girls this Christmas.   Time is of the essence.  Please return at your earliest convenience

Sincerely, Richard Granum 


Now our mom had passed in April 1988, and at least my memory is a blur of how holidays were celebrated those first few years after...but clearly the planned cookbook never got finished...and based on the findings in the kitchen- never got beyond the "data collection"   stage.

But before I pitch the stuff- I wanted to record it here on our stories...

First- we hear from Cousin Craig-   He wrote "I just wanted to respond to your letter concerning recipes that I most enjoyed.   While I remember the food Aunt Audrey cooked as being delicious, I have to admit that my recollections of specific dishes is rather vague.   But for what it is worth-here are some things that I do remember always enjoying very much..."   He goes on to list Seven Layer salad, Broccoli casserole, Ham ('not much help,, but I always enjoyed it" he added), Scalloped potatoes and Hot Buttered buns ("always my favorite" was his final comment).  

From Cousin Lynn- a 6 page hand-written note (front and back, mind you) that mentions how "I actually recall the company much better than the food from visits to your home".  The broccoli casserole got mentioned again (this time, with more detail- which of course is Lynn's trademark feature of any letter sent)calling it "Audrey's  Broccoli casserole" (and referred to it as ABC).  Lynn also encouraged Dad to include recipes for his signature drinks- daquiris and Tom and Jerry drinks were mentioned specifically.   
My money is on that Mom is sipping on one of those two favorites in this photo..

Continuing down the list of cousins, Cousin Ann chimed in- noting "I'll not be much help with the cook book. However,  I think you'll have to include the hot buttered bun recipes".   She continues to update the family on her thesis progress- slow and frustrating was the theme back then.

Last from the cousin reply- was Cousin Sarah...and she too shared that her favorite is indeed "Hot buttered buns that slide into bed easier".   

Aunt Phyllis wrapped it all up with a summary of  all the cousins replies-  yep, even before there were group texts and email exchanges-  the Fraedrich side of the family seemed to find ways to compare notes and sent in similar responses.

Next were replies from a couple of Mom's friends-also known as The Three Musketeers

Connie shared  "Mrs. Hahn's chocolate frosting recipe".  

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons hot coffee

The letter went on to reminisce how Martha had fixed this for Connie and Shirley one time when they were babysitting her.   Apparently, it was during this same visit that Martha was not happy that the ladies couldn't make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich "the right way".   Apparently, all was eventually forgiven as both Connie and Shirley remained treasured friends throughout the years...

Shirley shared a curry dip recipe.  Audrey used curry?   That's a memory I hadn't remembered-  as when I think of my mom's cooking style, about the most ethnic she would get was some of her Mexican dishes (reflective of the time she spent in AZ)    

But what the heck- let's keep the image of Audrey and Curry dip alive

  • 1 1/2 cup Hellman's mayo
  • 2 tsp curry powder 
  • 2 TBSP grated onion
  • 1.2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of Tabasco sauce

Mix together, refrigerate and serve as a dip with squash, cucumbers, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, celery, green peppers, green onions, etc.   


Barb Nygaard shared that her memories centered on the baked treats such as yeast rolls (notice how she calls them by their proper name- she's classy like that!  giggle giggle), angel food cake, spaghetti casserole for a crowd and Knox Blox.   

Laura and the littlest of the Nygaards....Andy circa 1983
Aunt Birdie chimed in adding that "the girls will treasure this booklet and each recipe will bring memories not only of their mom, but also the people who sent them to you and of good times shared" (Preach it, Aunt Birdie!!!!).    

I'd say Birdie provided the most detailed narrative adding

This Italian cream cake goes way back to a time we visited for a weekend in Milwaukee.  I think, Menomonee Falls.  It was a new recipe that Audrey tried.  I don't know if she ever made it again or not, but it was very good and I got the recipe from her to add to my file.  I can remember sitting around the table after dinner and oohing over this delicious concoction.   

There was a master list that included some 14 recipes-some I still will make from time to time (Buckeyes, Family fudge and funeral cake) to things I have no idea what he's talking about (Fire Crackers and Prangees Sour Cream Muffins?)

As I wind up this project...I am reminded of this quote
The Fondest memories are made gathered around the kitchen table...
So while the cookbook was never completed, we are filled with a heart full of memories made at the various kitchen tables!

Until next time...Bon Appetit!



Monday, July 11, 2022

Grandma's Apron

During a recent visit to see Richard-  I stumbled across a near empty journal that had once belonged to Grandma Hazel.   What little was in there- were an assortment of cut-and-pasted poems, quotes and things she probably wanted to remember.   

In addition to these items, were two stories- written long hand in my grandmother's trademark cursive. One was an old Erma Bombeck essay (Children are like Kites) but the other one?   I really couldn't find the original source-which makes me think- was this her original story?  Maybe...  

While I myself continue to reduce the amount of memories stored in paper format, I thought I would type them out and add them here.   Yes- you lose the visual of her handwriting- but the sentiment of the story still rings strong.

Grandma's Apron

Seldom did I see Grandmother or Mother without an apron covering their housedresses.  Today, like the horse and buggy, an apron is rarely seen.

Its uses were limitless.  It made a basket for gathering eggs, it held newly hatched chicks, which later scratched in the flower garden and were chased away with a flopping apron; it carried chips, kindling and corn cobs to start the fire in the cook stove. 

Vegetables and fruit found their way from the garden to the kitchen via grandma's carry-all.  It was handy for removing hot pans of food from the stove.   She waved it aloft to signal the men to dinner.   At threshing time as she passed food to the hungry men,  she flipped her apron at the pesky flies. 

When grandchildren came to visit, it dried children's tears, and steadied tottering footsteps. 

 It was used countless times to wipe her perspiring brow as grandma bent over a hot stove or hoed in the garden under a blistering sun.   In chilly weather she wrapped it around her arms as she bade a guest a lingering farewell at the door.  It hurriedly dusted the table and chairs if company was sighted coming down the lane.  In the evening, she shed her apron and draped it over the bird cage.
Can today's slacks or pantsuits compete witwheth grandma's apron inall around usefulness?

Whether these were Hazel's original words- or not- doesn't really matter.  Ok, maybe if I was going to publish this and claim they were her original idea-I'd do some more research.

What did happen- after finding this story- some 35-40 years since she likely first wrote it down- took me back to the many visits we made to see her at her house Holmen.   I close my eyes, and picture her with that apron on...and the memories become more vivid- and I feel a little bit closer to those times...and for that I am sure was her original intent!  

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The House that Oliver built and Gold Star Moms

OP Granum is considered to be the patriarch of the Granum family tree as we know it.

  • Olaus Pedersen Granum b.2.2.1856 in Gudbansdalen area of Norway in the Oppland Filka Province near Gjovik.   d. 8.5.1941
    • Emigrated in 1867 with his parents (father Peder Olsen Granum b.5.15.1814 d.6.23.1887 in Brookings County SD)


Happy Birthday-1937 OP and Nellie

Olaus or Oliver was often referred to as OP Granum.

OP married Nellie Thomte. 

  • She was born 12.24.1860 and died 1.13.1940.   
  • Her family settled in the Middle Coon Valley area between Coon Valley and Chaceberg.

OP and Nellie had several children (9):

  • Clifford (b.1884, d. 1917, settled in Brookings, SD area)
  • Selmer (b. 1886, also settled in the Brookings SD area),
  • Oscar (b.1889 d.1919)
  • Henry (b.1891, d.1971)
  • Gladys Gullickson (b.1894 d.1974)
  • Helen Lund (b.1897 d.1989), 
  • Oris (b.1901 d.1993), 
  • Norman (b. 1904 d.1978)...our grandfather!
  • Melvin (b.1909 d.1985).   

The log house that the Granums lived in when they first arrived from Norway.  Yes, parents and 8 children in this small two room cabin with a loft.  It had been built two years before OP and Nellie moved in by a Mr. Bolsvien.  Currently it is owned by the Jostad family trust and not lived in.   It is used as a hunter warming building.

The next is the barn, one of the two remaining buildings on the Granum farm and now is owned by the Fercal Farm club and used as a sports venue (skeet shooting) and a tree farm.

The Granum monument in Halfway Creek cemetery bares a photo of Oscar who died in France during WW1.  He was buried in France and later his remains were returned to the US.

Grandma Granum "Nellie", was one of the 3 Gold Star Mothers from Holmen and all three women lived within a few miles of one another.

This photo shows Nellie or Grunella along with Mrs. Maria Snugerud and Mrs. Mary Wallem.  All three women were gold star mothers and lived within 2 miles of one another.  Oscar Granum died of illness rather than battle wounds.  His remains along with Morris Snuggeruds are buried at Halway Creek.  It is unclear where Wallum is buried as there is no special or matching monument honoring him in the Halway Creek Cemetery.

Many of the children of OP and Nellie are buried in Halfway Creek Cemetery:  They include Henry, Gladys, Helen, Oris and Melvin along with their spouses.