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Harriet Short: "Shy But Determined"


Patricia Short


Harriet Fitzpatrick, later to be known as Harriet Short,came into the world March 30, 1922, to the parents Elizabeth and AlbertFitzpatrick, in the town of St. Vincent, Minnesota. At the time she had3 other sisters and one brother - all older than herself.

Her upbringing wasn't strict, but as many families then,she had her chores to do. One was to herd the cows to pasture and waterevery morning before school in the spring and also in the summer. Then,at night, she repeated this - only this time she brought them home. Anotherchore was to pile stove length wood into cords for fuel. She did this besidesthe household chores, all for which she never received any allowance for.

She also enjoyed going to a local Episcopal Church forSunday School and Church regularly.

As for entertainment and differences between the past andpresent, Harriet remembers St. Vincent as a more active town. She claimsat that time it was as large, if not larger, than Pembina, North Dakotais at the present. The town had a delivery stable, general stores, hotels,saloons, a blacksmith, and a theater. She also remembers when the now extinctSt. Vincent Fair's fairgrounds were located in a different location thanat present - down where the garbage grounds were. She really used to lookforward to the fair and the excitement. Remembering, she says it was alarge occasion with families getting together, and friends talking overthe pie and coffee they bought at a nearby food stand. A carnival was nearbywith sideshows, while in the bandstand, a circular platform, the band wouldplay numbers. A barn off the side held cattle, (dairy and beef), hogs,and horses - all entered in various classes of conformation, weight, etc. Many women brought home canned and bake goods, while farmers brought vegetable,hand carvings to enter in competing. School children from school art classes. All food, sewing, animals, etc. Of the top five places would receive ribbonsfor their efforts.

Harriet's mother made all their family clothes includinghers which she wore to school in St. Vincent. She attended this schoolfor ten years of her formal education, then she finished her junior andsenior years in the Pembina High School of Pembina, North Dakota.

After graduating, through the help of her friend, Del,Harriet applied and received a job as a telephone operator in the Bell Telephonecompany of Bemidji, Minnesota.

She held this job until she and her earlier met fianceedecided to get married and moved to St. Vincent.

There, since her parents had moved from the house in theoutskirts of St. Vincent into another town, Gordon Short, Harriet's husband,bought the house and they moved in, in 1943.

After being in the Army in World War II, Gordon went toa trade school and got involved in the railroad business, specifically theGreat Northern Railway. He now works in Noyes, Minnesota at the Noyes Depotwhich is four miles from St. Vincent. It is no longer the Great NorthernRailway - since and earlier strike, three major railroads merged to formthe Burlington Northern Railway.

Harriet and Gordon attended the same Episcopal Church shedid as a child at first, but because of lack of Christian fellowship, theyturned to the Evangelical Free Church of St. Vincent, Minnesota - then locatedopposite of the present fairgrounds. She and her husband still attend thechurch, but it has now moved to Pembina, North Dakota, where the congregationbuilt a new church in 1969.

As far as livestock in those days, the Shorts had fourcows, some hogs, and chickens. The cows were kept for both milk and meat,the pigs for meat and selling, and the chickens for meat and eggs.

After five years of married life, Harriet became a motherto a daughter later named Sharon Anne. Two years later, Betty Jeane wasborn. Then it was nine years until they again had a child, another daughter,which they named Patricia Kaye.

The two eldest daughters have been through college andtechnical school and are married. One married a pastor of a Free Church,and the other gave Harriet and Gordon their first two grandchildren, RandyLee and Kris Allen.

Their third and youngest daughter is still at home andis a freshman in the Humboldt High School of Humboldt, Minnesota.

All daughters went to the elementary school in the stillexisting St. Vincent Schoolhouse where their mother went for two years.

Even though Harriet has changed and is still determinedto say she's shy, she's also a God-fearing and self-determined woman whosays, "You can do anything if you set your mind to it!"


Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth, Hallock, September, October, 1973

Short, Gordon,l St. Vincent, September-October, 1973

Short, Harriet, St. Vincent, September-October, 1973

, 1973

Short, Harriet, St. Vincent, September-October, 1973