by Bernice Schaefer
After arriving home in California, a conversation took place with Joe and Estelle, a decision was made to share some of the highlights of the reunion with those who could not attend, hence this letter.
Prior to the reunion, in talking to Mim it seemed she could use a little help in respect to the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary of Myrt and Bill, so between phone calls and letters, plans were laid.
She was to obtain pictures and enlargements, these were obtained from relatives and family of the celebrants--as you recall, with the home burning down all of Myrt's and Bill's photos were lost. A glassed in framed wedding photo was obtained. I was to bring decorations and plan the menu for the occasion of the Family Reunion, the Golden Wedding Anniversary, and the Homecoming for Carl and Cora.
LeRoy and Hans met me at the Airport in S.F. Before leaving S.F. for the farm it was good to see an old room-mate, Gladys Phifer, and Karen Brende who became 100 yrs. old a few days later. Her mind was clear and she remembered me, Russell, and those dear to her during the days we all were at the Mission.
Hans and Alida took me to the farm, and as we drove into the yard of the old home place you cannot imagine the thrill of seeing the place being so beautiful with the newly cut green lawn, and the area leveled from the one end of the yard to the other.
The lilacs were at their peak, and their old-fashioned fragrance was beyond words. Tom and Ruth had done wonders to make it "homey."
In addition to the hundreds of dollars spent on groceries, some brought cookies, pies, lefse, flatbrod, meat, jellies, and...yes, 32 loafs of home-made bread were baked.
Water was hauled in every day from a neighbor in Bryant. This did for cooking, coffee, and washing dishes. No showers! Four tents were set up on that beautiful lawn, and a rented Motor Home was brought in for Myrtle and Bill. Mim, Ron and Chad also lodged there. Let us say that in meeting Ron, Chad, and Peter's fiance our hearts were stormed and won, what a treat to discover that these blend into the Stadem family so nicely. Hans and Alida hooked up their Motor Home into a back yard outlet, thus protected from the snores coming from the tents.
The first to arrive were Carl and Cora, driving in from Mpls. They tried the front and back doors to no avail but the basement door was open so they came in for the night.
Much to our surprise, they did not not live near each other.
Streamers were hung in the front room to enhance the coziness of the comfortable chairs, floor, lamp, and coffee table. The meals were on a beautiful table seating fourteen, and upon three folding tables supplied with chairs for each one. The good beds in the bedrooms were appreciated.
The Chef had a private south room, if you please. The electric stove and refridgerator was a big improvement over a wood range...Much of the furniture was from the home of Tom's dear mother who had recently passed away, she would have loved the use of it in this ole farm setting.
Friday afternoon and evening found families coming in for the reunion but not Myrtle and Bill, they chose to stay the first night in a Motel in Watertown. So we had a delicious deer meat stew, with the meat furnished by Liz and LeRoy, without the Golden Wedding Celebrities.
The next day the Svanoes came with Ren, Luther, and Victor. They had encountered the Rangens who had been trying to find a suitable unflooded road to the farm. No one could come up from the south as that usual access road was also flooded due to melting snow and rain.
Corn was still left standing in the fields from last fall.
A very beautiful three-layer cake, made by a woman near Bryant, was brought in by Mim and Ron on Friday. Tom and Ruth also brought in a cake for Cora and Carl. These graced the center of the table.
After lunch Mim brought the gathering to order by singing and giving a summary of Myrtle and Bill's fifty years together. Several sisters gave a series of "Remember When" episodes which were prize winners.
Joe and Estelle sang a duet fitting the occasion. This was followed by the reading of poems bearing on the special occasion, these I had given out to designated ones to read.
The cakes were then served with candied nuts, candy and coffee. During the program five questions were asked with the right answers to receive a gift. Bill received the one because he had a 50 cent piece in his pocket, unbeknown to him it had been placed there!
Myrt received four of the others, to the bewilderment of all, especially Ren who was seated near her. For your information, she had been coached as to the answers, after all, she had been married to one man for fifty years!
An "Animal" picture book, with quotations applicable to their fifty years together, was given and enjoyed.
Sunday morning everyone went to the old family Lutheran Church in Bryant where we heard a good message from the pastor, a duet by Carl and Cora with a short review of their missionary work in Brazil. The pastor remarked to his people afterwards that he wished they could enjoy such singing every Sunday, I am sure the rafters of the old church shook a little that morning.
Following the service we drove to a very sweet little Willow Lake with reservations made by Ruth and Tom for this sized group.
The tent dwellers were rained upon but it did not dampen their spirits--although tents hung up in the trees to dry out would have seemed a strange sight to neighbors.
One highlight of the reunion was the "one line impressions" given at the get-to-gether, my impression was, "All the plates were so clean, so the meals must have been o.k."
Monday was the day for pictures to be taken, and hundreds were taken, plus a V.C.R. cassette by Mim and Dan. Should you want a copy of the V.C.R. contact Mim and Dan.
A clean up of the cemetery was asked for by the church and our gang was most faithful with weed-eaters, mowers, and finding flowers for graves. There were some stiff knees the next day, I bet.
And we spend a little time at Papa's and Mama's graves, wonderful memories came to us as well as for those other loved ones laid away in the small Bryant cemetery.
Monday, car after car left for their homes, so we were only five again left on the farm, so we spent some time working outside getting rid of gophers, finding a pheasant's nest, and the eggs used in the meat loaf, now I tell you! The mother had forsaken the nest after it was disturbed.
We visited the Jensen's fur factory in Bryant, seeing their hundreds of hides. These [Jensens] are cousins of ours. We entertained belated guests that came to see us...and we drove away from the farm in departure with the Spildes, the beautiful lilacs seemingly bowed their heads to us in a sad farewell, saying goodby until we meet again in another spring in another year.