One of the most pleasing aspects of the home was that every upstairs bedroom had access to a lovely balcony. My bedroom (Lorraine Maier [Tone] reminiscing), the front bedroom, would please any teenager today--the adjoining dressing room contained stained glass windows and a door which opened onto the front balcony. My parents occupied the "lower" upstairs bedroom. The two side bedrooms were rented to rural high school girls during the school year; these rooms were accessed by using the rear stairs.
There were no regular renters during the summer, and our home was open for out-of-town relatives and summer guests. We hired live-in help for one year, a girl named Lillian from Bowbells, North Dakota.
This special house was made for entertaining, and my parents enjoyed doing just that. It was the scene of many birthday parties, luncheons, dinners, and card clubs (500 and Bridge) which were so popular in the 30's. The names of some people who come to mind that enjoyed this home and my parents' hospitality are the Fred Siegfrieds, Len Collitans, Russell Phillips, Clarence Reids, everett and August Bushmans, Joe Roemers, Dr. Phillips, and Hazel Ventling, to name a few. My close friends were margaret Haugen (later Johnson), Priscilla Olson (later Andersen), Vivian Tilghman, and Ruth Ostensoe (later Nau). Brother Charle's young friends were Arndt Pedersen and Leland Silverberg.
The Depression Years:
The early 30's were, of course, the Depression years. Canby seemed to sustain a pretty fair economic position, considering the times. The summers were hot and dry. Our home attracted many door to door traveling salesman trying to make a living by selling Oriental rugs, encyclopedias, household items, or cosmetics. Some stopped to take photographs and others came by "bumming" their way through the country looking for a meal or a handout. On our side porch one could often see a stranger eating hungrily and thankfully--Mother said our house was "marked". She would never refuse to feed anyone.
The drought brought bramble bushes rolling down the street on hot windy days. One frightening incident occurred on June 19 in 1934. About midday or in the early afternoon, Mother and I were in the dining room. The day that had been filled the summer sun suddenly became pitch black, like midnight. Frightened as I was, there was a feeling of security being in the big house. Mother immediately called Dad who was at work at the power plant, and he told us that a huge dirt storm had rolled in from South Dakota, descended on Canby and shut out the sun completely. It was perhaps an hour or more before the sun filtered through the haze. Our grass, the sidewalks-everything-was covered by fine silt. Many Canbyans, those not as fortunate as we to receive a quick explanation, thought the world was ending!