Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Born in North Dakota


North Dakota seems to be going through a boom time right now.  It is one of the few places in the country where jobs are plentiful enough to meet the demand.  There are some lovely parts of the state – I thought the Washburn area is quite pretty,  but in general the land is pretty flat and the weather can be horrible…although the same could be said for some parts of Idaho, where I live. Here in Idaho, I have met a lot of people who were born in North Dakota but their families left and came west…including my father.

Dad was born in Dickinson, ND in the summer of 1940.  Since Dad was my grandmother’s first child, he was born in the hospital.  Dad thought it was quite funny to find out that the hospital was located on Johnson Ave…since that is last name they must have named it after him right?  Anyway, I’ve often heard that on the day Dad was born, there was a hail storm that killed the horse attached to the wagon in front of the hospital.  That might have sounded somewhat unbelievable, but when we were back there about 15 years ago, we got caught in a hail storm with the hail that was bigger than golf balls.  It did a lot of damage to both our motor home and that of my aunt and uncle’s.  Sitting in that motor home with the hail pounding on the roof was probably the noisiest storm, I’ve ever experienced.

After Dad was born, he was taken to Dunn Center where my grandparents lived.  This was a tiny house that housed both of my grandparents, my great grandfather and my grandfather’s sister, Mary.  By the time they moved in 1943, there were three babies in the house.  Times were still pretty hard.  The Depression hit the region quite hard.  This area of North Dakota had hard winters and hard winters…life was not easy.  There weren’t many jobs available and my grandfather made what money he could as a handyman.  They had a little money coming in from my great grandfather’s social security that helped but money was very tight.  I think that this was true for many families in North Dakota in the 1930’s and 40’s. Jobs were scarce and it was a hard place to support your family.  It is probably why I know so many people who were born in North Dakota.  So…about 71 years ago – this is what it looked like where my Dad lived and here is a photo with his grandfather. 
House in North Dakota where my grandparents lived.

Ulpian standing, Frank sitting holding Gene (Dad)