The Life Story Of
Randy Arlen Nordin
6th Grade 1994, Lancaster School, Lancaster,MN
In approximately 1935, my grandfather, Olaf H. Nordin,cleared the trees off his homesteaded property in Poppleton Township byhand. He then built a log home for him and his new wife, Helen Nordin, toraise his family. Grandpa and Grandma Nordin raised 12 children on theirfarm. My dad, Randy Nordin, was born as the eighth child. He was born atHallock, MN the year of the big flood. Helen, his mom, was lucky enoughto have gotten to the hospital before the water washed away the roads. Ittook many weeks to rebuild the roads 4 miles east of Lancaster. It was oneof the worst floods in the Kittson County area. He was also born with abig growth in his neck that had to be removed immediately. When he was three,he had his tonsils removed with the use of ether.
He grew up on the farm doing all types of chores. Startingat eight years old, he had to milk cows before and after school. Besidesmilking cows, they raised pigs, chickens, and some sheep.
Most of his summer he spent putting up hay, threshing grain,and cutting wood. During threshing, all the neighbors would get togetherbecause they only had one thresher. He really enjoyed it even though itwas hard work. The women helped a lot by cooking tremendous food. Some usedteams of horses to haul the bundles and the people that had tractors usedthem.
One of the scariest times my dad remembers is one timewhen he and his Uncle Leonard were hauling gas over a river in a steel tub.It tipped over on his uncle and my dad thought he was drowning, but reallyhe was just under the tub. It just took him a while to tip the tub over.Most Saturdays, his brothers and he would go into the woods and pack a lunchthen go into the woods with the twenty-two and cut wood all day. They wouldshoot animals that were harmful to their farm such as coyotes with the twenty-two.They spit wood with a wood splitter.
At 12 to 14 years of age, he spent Saturdays catching turkeysfor the neighbors. Through fourth grade on, he played basketball. In seventhgrade, he was in track and he had to run home after track. He did that foronly one year only because of work on the farm. Ninth to twelfth grade heplayed football.
His Grandpa Burnell built a log cabin nearby while GrandpaBurnell's wife had died at an early age. Later, Grandpa Burnell was failingin health and moved into my dad's house.
Another storm my dad remembers is the snowstorm of 1966.The weather had been pretty nice so when the storm came it was a surpriseto many people. It was so bad that the snow reached the telephone poles.My dad's family could change the light bulbs in the yard light. My dad andhis brothers and sisters were stranded at home until the superintendentcame and picked them up at their mailbox (about a mile away).
One by one his brothers and sisters left home. His oldestbrother left school two years early and his oldest sister left school oneyear early.
Dad's brother, James, who was 6 years older than him, returnedfrom the Vietnam and soon became sick. James died at the age of 29, leaving11 brothers and sisters. My dad and he picked snakeroot and ginseng whichthey sold to make money. Snakeroot and ginseng are used in medicines. Heand his family also trapped a lot of gophers.
After my dad came back from college, he bought Uncle Leonard'sfarm, which is where my Grandpa and his family lived. Dad's brother, Arlen,bought the home place and he is who is currently farming it. Even thoughmy dad had to work a lot on the farm, he still loved living there. Becausehe would play with neighbors, he now has many good memories.
usehe would play with neighbors, he now has many good memories.