PLAIN VIEW HERITAGE FARM,

RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:

Remembering Dear, One-of-a-Kind Irene:

Article, "Miss Hovdenes Devotes

Her Life to Children,"

Article in News Tribute, Tacoma, Nov. 11, 1974,

by Marci Whitney,

Sound Life Writer

THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, SHE HAD SO MANY CHILDREN SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. From a nursery rhyme.

"Except I know what to do," said Irene Hovdenes, a blonde Norwegian foster mother.

Miss Hovdenes, who has never been married, administers dollops of love to her charges who range in ages from 2 to 12.

These children are placed by the Department of Social and Health Services on a temporary basis until they are returned to their parents or sent to foster homes.

Miss Hovdenes provides 30-day interim emergency care for seven children. But some children stay longer than 30 days, like a 3-month-old girl and a 10-year-old girl, both raised to adulthood. And a boy who has been with her for two years.

Most of the children come and go. "I cry sometimes when some leave. But then I remind myself there are lots of kids coming," she said.

They all live in a five-bedroom house.

She does the cooking. "Adults may not like my cooking, but the kids do." She keeps house. "The furniture lasts about two years." She plays games. "The kids haven't got the hang of kick-the-can."

They tag along withb her to funerals and cemeteries. "Some people disagree with me, but it is natural for the kids to experience death. It was helpful one time when the mother of three boys died. They could handle the death."

One time in a nursing home, a mentally retarded boy, "as careful as he could be," pushed a senior citizen in a wheelchair up and down an aisle.

The children learn not to fear the police by listening to a police radio in the living rfoom. "A lot of the children dislike law enforcement because they were separated from their parents by police."

She notes the "kids' cute sayings" with an interest of a mother. "Wayne recently said 'my eyes almost made me cry.'"

Miss Hovdenes tried to express her motives in devoting her life to children. "Just love them, that's all. I came from a family of nine children. I don't know how to act without children. It's a great life, if you don't weaken."

She doesn't plan to weaken. Her goal is to care for another 500 children.

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