What's the best part of the week when your a farm kid? Going to town on Saturday night of course! We lived twenty or more miles, from the nearest small town with a grocery store, and 45 miles from a bigger city where you could do serious shopping.
Driving to Stanley as elementary age kids, my sister Kathy and I were happily unbuckled in the backseat, Dad driving and Mom pointing out anything out of the usual, along the road. Things like how white the alkali lake was, a fox in the distance, how the grain crops were coming along, how many weeds in the fields(thats a problem for farmers every year). Interesting stuff like that. Once we drove under the viaduct and were officially on main street Stanley, we couldn't wait to parallel park and hurry to get to Hohn drug for a lime soda before it closed!
Next Mom and "us kids" went to Piggly Wiggly grocery store with her yellow check, my dads signature scrawled across the bottom of it because as we heard a million times over the years, she never had any money of her own! Well except 15.00 a month "allowance". A lot of my Moms generation of women lived like that, it seemed even if it was grudgingly. Kathy and I tagged along behind Mom in the grocery store. And Dad started his rounds at the local bars, it was a mans world for the most part. After we got groceries, we went to the meat locker and ask for bones they were throwing away for our dog, and lugged them to the car. Next to Perry's gro store for maybe something that was cheaper there than Piggly Wiggly. Sometimes we went to Gambles where the owner had a crabby, snappy little Pomeranian that was a permanent fixture there. I was scared of that little gremlin! Kathy and I would go to Springen's furniture store way in the back corner and pick out a 45 rpm record with our allowance and maybe a trip through Ben Franklin yielding some good penny candy.
After that Mom retired to our car with our aunt Mable Jarmin usually, who had driven their pickup into town, was doing the same as we were, watching people go by and waiting for a glimpse of Dad and her husband Dewey, going from one bar to the other. There were three in town, The Five Spot, The Farmers Bar, and the West Side and he went to them in that order so we could gage how much longer of this sitting in the car stuff was ahead! Kathy and I could walk up and down the street until dark, but absolutely not past the Scandia bank! Or if the movie that week was fit for kids, we'd see the lastest Elvis movie or Frankie and Annette in a one of the Beach movies that were popular then. Those were my favorite! If we were lucky there was a black and white "spook show" after the regular movie! I wish I could watch one of those old ones now, because they seemed so scary back then.
Finally our Dad would come to the car about 11pm and take us to the Two Way Inn for a hamburger and a bottle of Nesmiths Orange Soda. Sometimes we'd see Kelly Moore, there with his black plastic glasses and loafer shoes. Later in life he became my brother in law and I call him my brother from another mother because he has been in my life so long. The 20 mile drive home was always tense, and the reason I am still today, mostly anti alcohol. Dad would be "half shot" like Mom called him, and would drive way to fast. The more Mom ask him to slow down, the faster he drove. Being born a nervous Nelly, all I could see was a deer jumping out of nowhere, or snow that looked like white knives coming at your windshield, hard, hard snowbanks that had blown across the roads that you needed just the right speed to clear, In the summer fog sometimes so thick we had no idea where the turn was to get back to the farm but he was determined to be the sole judge of how fast we got there.
Finally, I was sixteen and got a legal drivers license! Mom let me take the car almost every night the last couple years of high school. I ask her once after I was grown and married, why she let me go so much and she very lovingly said, "I just never wanted you girls to be sad, because after your Dad died you'd had enough sadness". So we ran around every night, which most farm kids didn't get to do. We'd drive up main street Stanley and into Ranum's Laundromat, or Stanley Equipment turn around and back up main street until we got to the train depot. Gas was .39 a gallon and we filled up at home because we bought our gas in bulk from the Standard Oil Truck that Kenny Vaage from Blaisdell drove. We always hoped we'd see friends, especially boys to hang out with and they'd stick their arm out and wave us over where we'd park one of the cars. I never drank in high school, I always took care of all the others that did. My Dad only drank on Saturday nights, when I was a child but the feeling of not knowing what a drunk person will do still makes me nervous to be around one to this day! I don't mind someone drinking a few and being a little talkative, but drunkness still makes me nervous.
Mom, Kathy and I lived like three girlfriends in high school. We could always bring friends home anytime of the day or night and Mom would get up( like she'd have been sleeping) and cook for all the kids who'd been drinking. I will never forget her making hamburgers at midnight and calling out mustard, ketchup, mayo? She loved being part of and listening to all the stories the kids would tell, and everyone loved my even tempered Mom. She never slept till we were home and would come looking for us if we didn't call. I can't imagine the worry she must have had with no cell phones to check on us. Back then you could call person to person for free so we would call and she'd say no the person wasn't here but that was a signal we were going to be late! I could hear her exhasperation when the operator ask her to accept the call! Poor Mom.
As girlfriends around the house though Mom, Kathy and I played music all the time! Mom loved music too, unless it was the same record over and over, which always brought out some reaction on her part! We took impromptu trips to Stanley just to go to the Dairy Queen or Tastee Freeze, just for the heck of it which was pretty unheard of. I think she was starting to dread us leaving home and wanted to spend more time with us. We took turns with the Lee girls getting the family car and driving to Stanley. They lived south of Blaisdell, our little home town and we lived North of town. We gave their parents some sleepless nights too.
I loved horses, and cats and so much about living on the farm but worrying about the remoteness turned into a perilous feeling once our Dad died and we three were alone out there with 100 horses. The roads would blow shut, furnaces go out, cars drive in and out of the yard late at night, and I wanted to get to town where people were. Today everyone has snow equipment and life is different on the farm.
Stanley was the fun place to go as a kid growing up. We had wonderful 4th of July celebrations, fun times at Regis theater and lots of fun chasing boys back in the day. Everybody should have "Stanley on a Saturday night"memories.
THE PICTURES I USED BELONG TO our saviors.org and the Regis theater Facebook page.