Mrs. Laroque, A Woman With Many Talents

by

Elaine Cote

 

Minnie Engdahl Laroque was born on a farm August 9, 1906near Vang, North Dakota.

She was the middle child of the family of five, and beingthe "ugly duckling" of her family soon learned to fight for herrights.

Minnie's father was born in Sweden. He was of the aristocracyintent, upon marrying an American farmer's daughter, who was Norwegian. His marriage caused him to be disinherited.

Since her father had lost his inheritance, he decided tomake up in heart by raising a family who could be put on the market andcoin money.

By the time Minnie was seven, she had learned to milk cows,hunt twigs for fire in the woods, pick berries, gather eggs, feed chickens,throw down hay for the livestock, and carry water from a spring in the couleeup a fifty-five degree angle hillside. When Minnie was eleven, she washired as a servant girl. She washed and ironed for nine people, made bread,and for exercise, she took care of eleven brood hens in coops. Her mothertaught Minnie well. The most exciting event on that job was two littleboys setting fire to the chicken coop. Arthur, another boy a year olderthan Minnie, carried water from a nearby pond to put the fire out whileEsther, who was Minnie's age, stood on top of the hen house hollering "Fire". The nearest neighbor was a mile away.

But while Minnie was home, she and her family had morefun and activities than most kids. Minnie lived near the river. All sortsof fruit grew there like pincherries, chokecherries, June berries, raspberries,strawberries, black currants, gooseberries, plums, thornapples, dewberries,and cranberries. Hazel nuts grew in abundance also.

Minnie could spend time gathering wild fruit in its season. There were trees to climb, animals to watch, fish to catch, and skatingin the winter.

Sunday is the Lord's Day. Minnie and her family went tochurch; the kids went to Sunday School in the forenoon. The whole familywent to evening service. And, in the old days it was a five mile trip withhorses and buggy in the summer and with horses and sleighs in the winter. Being a hard shelled Babtist was no laughing matter on Sunday.

Because they lived across the street, Minnie and her brothersand sisters had to wait until the flood waters would subside before theycould start their spring term for school. The first day of school the teacherwas teaching the first graders how to write their names. Minnie wrote hername on her paper. The teacher handed the paper back and said, "Butnobody names their child Minnie. It is either Wilhelmina or Mineva."

Minnie wouldn't tell the teacher anything else, so theteacher sent a note home asking about the name. The answer was Minnie. The school term lasted from some time in October to April. That was ina country school two miles from home. Minnie went to school seven weeksin Vang when she was in the seventh grade. She finished the eighth gradeand high school in Milton, North Dakota. Having a photographic memory madelearning easier for Minnie who had excellent recall of what she read. Ittook her two and one half years to get through high school. In high school,she played on the volleyball team and hockey team.

She attended college at Valley City. She also took trainingat the University of Reno and earned college credits from the State Universitiesof Utah at Logan and Salt Lake City. She majored in elementary education.

In the grades she taught the usual subjects like reading,grammar, arithmetic, history, geography, physiology, and spelling.

The only foreign country Minnie has visited is Canada fromSaskatchewan to Nova Scotia. She has been to forty states. Nevada is thestate she enjoys the most.

Minnie has worked at many jobs. Now she has finally attainedher earliest ambition to be a Grandmother with leisure to enjoy it.

Minnie's range of hobbies are whittling, modeling withclay, painting, making piece quilts, spinning, writing stories, news reporting,sewing, restoring paintings, and enjoying a friendly cup of coffee withfriends. Minnie's philosophy of life is based on the Proverbs of the Bible"to be a good wife and neighbor by righteous living."

Bibliography

LaRoque, Mrs. Minnie, St. Vincent, MN, Interview, February,1974LaRoque, Mrs. Minnie, St. Vincent, MN, Interview, February,1974