My Grandmother

Margaret Aslagson

By

Adam Wollin

6th Grade 1998, Tri-County School, Karlstad,MN

My grandmother, Margaret Henrietta (Hanse) Aslagson, wasborn on January 7, 1922, on the farm the Hanse's had homesteaded. It isabout three miles west of Cyrus, MN in Framnas Township in Steven County.Dr. Linde was the doctor who delivered her. Her parents were Melven LawrenceHanse and Ella (Elvina) Hanse. She has one brother, Harold, and five sisters,Dorothy Schowieller, Nuna Kjera, Thora Tollefson, Rubye Alfson. One sister,LaVerne Wesen, is deceased.

She was about two when her family moved into Cyrus. Whenher uncle's wife died during child birth, they moved out to his farm soher mother could help take care of his two daughters. They spent the winterthere and in the spring they moved back to Cyrus. They lived in three differenthouses in Cyrus.

They didn't have electricity until she was about eightyears old. They didn't have running water or a bathroom. They had a waterpump in the back yard to get water. Grandma said, "All, or most, homeshad cisterns (it caught the rain water) which we used for washing. If ithadn't rained enough by fall to keep the cistern full through the winter,we would have to shovel snow after a nice white snowfall and put it in thecistern for water. We had to carry our drinking water and the water we usedfor cooking over a block to our house." She said, "Our bathroomwas a little house out back, with what we called a 'two holer', and it hada cut-out half moon on the door. It was cold in the winter." She wasin seventh grade before they got water and sewer. The last house they livedin had an indoor bathroom.

Grandma said, "The girls always slept three to a beduntil the older ones graduated, went to work, or married. One of the houseswe lived in was so cold in the upstairs bedroom that a glass of water wouldfreeze by morning. Sometimes we would have to take hot sad irons, wrappedin cloths, to bed to keep our feet warm."

While grandma was growing up, her family did a lot of visitingon weekends with relatives and going on picnics during the summer holidays.For Christmas, they would go to her grandparent's farm. She said, "Mymother was a homemaker and my father helped farm the home place when welived there. My father had a steam engine and a threshing machine so, inthe fall, he would go around to the neighbors during harvest. He boughtthe Starbuck Elevator in the early 1940's. That's when my family moved toStarbuck, MN."

Grandma went to school through high school in Cyrus. Whenshe started school, she would walk five to six blocks to school. She rememberedone of her first years in school. The snow banks were so high they had tocrawl up over the top to get to school. She would take her lunch to schoolin the winter but when the weather was nice she would walk home for lunch.She said, "If we got a lot of snow so the school buses could not getthrough, the farmers with horses would pick up kids with the enclosed bussleds. If it stormed so the kids couldn't get home even with the horses,they would stay with families in town. We had kids stay at our home manytimes. We sometimes would have to sleep four to a bed.

She dated Harry Palmer Aslagson from Starbuck, MN for fouryears before they got married. There wasn't much money in those days somost of their dates were to go to shows in Morris, MN, and they each wouldhave a bag of popcorn. She remembers one date on March 16, 1941. They wentto a show and a snow storm came up while they were at the show. They weretold at the "theater" not to try to go home, but being young andfoolish, they tried to get home anyway. They got two miles out of Morrisand couldn't see anything. There was another couple from Cyrus in frontof them and both cars stopped. The boy from the other car came over to theircar and Harry went over the other boy's car. Neither one knew that theyhad passed each other in the storm. Both of them lost their hats in thewind. When Margaret and Harry got back to Morris, they stayed in the lobbyof the hotel with many others who couldn't get home. They finally got hometo Cyrus about five a.m. the following morning. That was also the nightHarry proposed and gave her an engagement ring.

She married Harry on June 7, 1941 at the St. Petri LutheranChurch in Cyrus, MN. She said, "Harry was almost late for the weddingbecause his boss asked him to stay late and help fix something, and Harrydidn't tell him he was getting married that evening at 7:00 PM. We didn'thave much money in those days, so we used our wedding money and went forthe weekend to Itasca State Park for our honeymoon."

In September of 1943, Harry was sworn into the serviceand shortly after was stationed in Amarillo, TX. She went to Amarillo, TXto join him for Christmas, but he was shipped out to Kingman Army Air Fieldin AZ a few days before Christmas. So she didn't get to see him. She wentwith Harry when they stationed him at MacDill Field outside of Tampa, FL.

While Harry was overseas, Grandma Margaret worked at theAC (agricultural) School in Morris, MN in the dining room. After Harry'sHonorable Discharge on October 13, 1945, they moved to Starbuck, MN andbuilt their home in 1946.

She had four children: Kayo of Starbuck, MN and Kimball,MN; Jody (Doug) Thomson of Karlstad, MN; Nadine (Steve) Moeller of Duluth,MN: and Camille (Dwight) Wollin of Karlstad, MN. When the three older childrenwere little, she would travel with Harry in the summer while worked construction.Then they came home to Starbuck to retire which grandma says they haven'tdone yet.

She has been an Election Judge in Starbuck since 1960.She was Sunday School Superintendent and Sunday School teacher for almostall the years her kids were in Sunday School. She has been President ofthe W.M.F. (Ladies Aid), E.L.C.A.W. She has been part of the church choirsince her junior choir years in Cyrus. She was Membership Chairman of theAmerican Legion Aux. for four years and President for four years. She hasbeen the treasurer of the Minnewaska Lutheran Church since 1982.

Grandma said, "I love to travel with Harry each yearto his 95th Bomber Air Force Reunion. We have been going the last eighteenyears."

She also enjoys sewing, crocheting, and baking her famouschocolate chip cookies. But what she enjoys most of all is to visit herkids and their spouses and the eight grandchildren.

I got my information from my grandmother, Margaret Aslagson.

By: Adam Wollin

 

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By: Adam Wollin