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Glendon Ellsworth Spilde Sr.


Josh Heath

6th Grade 1998, Tri-CountySchool, Karlstad, MN

On October 14, 1924, Glendon E. Spilde was born in Halma,Minnesota. He was born in the house he lives in now on the kitchen floor.They didn't have a doctor, but they did have a midwife. A midwife was aperson who helped deliver the baby because they didn't have doctors backthen. Glen was a 10 pound baby. He says he has a big name because he wasone of 13 children in his family from Norway. Glen was one of six children,one died at birth. Their names were: Joe, Helmer (who died at birth), Isabelle,Glendon, Jay, and Gloria. They lived on a dairy farm where the boys wouldplay farmers until school started because they didn't have many toys backthen.

Glen attended school at Halma Franklin School in 1929 rightafter the stock market crash. His Grandma Ligaard took him to school threetimes on the first day. The first two times he beat his Grandma Ligaardhome. When Glen was by the lumber yard, the third time, Grandma Ligaardtold him in Norwegian to not come home again!

In fifth grade, he went to the Roseau Swamp to hay. Hewould stay for three weeks to hay. The baler they had was a stationery baler.It would bale 110 pounds. He missed one week of school but after that hisdad said it was time to go. He would sleep in a tent on peat. He said itwas very soft.

When he was eight years old he plowed with four horsesbut he was not big enough to pick up the plow and turn the horses around.So, his brother Joe and neighbor Clifford Holm would lay on each end ofthe field and read Western magazines. When Glen would get to one side ofthe field with the horses and plow, they would jump on and pick up the plowand then turn him around and send him the other way back to the other side.

They bought their first tractor in 1935. It was an F12.Glen and Jay were walking the railroad tracks to school when they saw atruck turn into Halma. They should have hurried to school but they watchedand saw that it turned into their quarter mile long driveway. They tookoff running back to the farm and beat the truck into the yard. Their fatherchewed them out and sent them back to school late. Before they got the tractor,all the work was done with horses. He was nine years old when they got thetractor so he started plowing with the tractor.

Glen was in sixth or seventh grade when he and his brotherJay borrowed his other brother's car, a Ford Model T. They were going totake it for a little spin but on the road they jack-knifed the car and itwent into the ditch. To start it, they jacked one wheel up in the air becausethey weren't strong enough to start it. Joe, his brother, bought the carfor $10.

Glen saw his first movie in seventh grade at a movie theaterin Halma called the Trianon Ball Room. The movie was called "Heidi."His first basketball game was in Hallock when he was a seventh grader. Hemade just two free throws. The whole team scored TWO points the whole game.The next year they came back to play again, and they beat them to win theChampionship in 1938 and again in 1948 in independent basketball calledthe Little Ten League they beat that same team from Warren.

Glen was bussed to Karlstad High School in 1938. His dad,Louis, drove the bus to town and bussed 12 other kids. It was a 10 miletrip to school then. Glen finally got to play sports. He played basketballand baseball. He got to take some classes like Algebra and Chemistry. Whenhe was a sophomore, he moved into the new part of school (Old gym, Principal'soffice, Mr. Rust's room, that part of school now). Then he got some moreclasses like math, English, history, social studies, bookkeeping, typing,and physical education. He had five male teachers and two female teachers.

Glen and his brother Jay would get out of school for potatovacation. They went by car to North Dakota to pick potatoes all by hand!!They would get 2 cents per bushel. On a good day they would get $2.00, 100bushels, 6,000 pounds of potatoes picked!! They would do it for extra moneyto buy school clothes for the winter. They stayed with the farmer on thefarm that they worked on.

In 1941, the United States entered World War II in PearlHarbor on a Sunday. It was Glen's senior year and he graduated in 1942.After that, he worked on the farm until 1944. For chores they had to milk,feed cows, and pitch cow manure. His family hunted lots of rabbits becausethere weren't many deer back then. Glen shot his first deer in the HalmaSwamp. It was a 10 point buck.

In September, 1994, he was drafted to Army and reportedto Camp Fannin, Texas near Tyler, Texas. At the end of January, 1945, heleft from Fort Ord, (S.F.) California on the U.S.S.A.T. Seasnipe. He landedin Lahat, Philippines. Glen crossed the equator and the International Datelineon the way. They stopped at New Guinea. When crossing the equator, manywere initiated, painted up, and celebrated this occasion. He was a memberof the Davey Jones Locker. They stopped in Holandia, New Guinea. He joinedthe convey and went to Lytat, Philippines, then shipped to Lucon, Philippines.Then he joined the 172nd Infantry at Manila. Glen went to combat in thehills. In July, 1945, he went to training for the invasion of Japan. Glenstill carries money in his wallet with the signatures of the guys he foughtwith on the front line in 1945.

In August, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan.While that was going on, Glen was in training for the invasion of Japan.Fortunately, Glen didn't have to fight, but he did have to go and cleanup Japan.

After the signing of the Armistice on the U.S.S. Missouri,they landed in Yokohama and took over the air base in Yokohama and Tokyo.They were stationed there for three weeks and with a little luck he wentto 11th corp headquarters company. Then he was assigned to the motor pool.He was stationed at Kayo University. Glen was chosen to play on the basketballteam, and they won the championship in Yokohama, Tokyo area.

Glen felt his earthquake in Japan. There were several otherearthquakes there. On the last one he was ready to jump out the window threestories high!! Glen had a lot of fun in Japan. He played his first golfgame in Japan. He still carries a picture of him golfing in Japan. On theship to Japan he ran into a neighbor who lived, and still lives, just threemiles away in Halma, John Folland.

On November 8, 1946, he was discharged. He came home afterthat. Glen started dating Lela Pederson. Glen married Lela in November 2nd,1947. They lived in Halma all the way across the field from the farm. Theybought the livestock and machinery from his dad and then started farming.They had six children, Julie in 1948, Peggy in 1949, Glen Jr. in 1953, Marcia,my mom in 1955, Dean in 1962 and Peder in 1970. They had six children infour decades. They have 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

They continued with the dairy farm and tried to improvea little more each year. Glen, Lela, and four of the children born so farmoved to the farm in the spring of 1956 because they didn't have enoughroom in the house they had before. They switched houses with his folks.They enlarged the barn because they milked 35 cows and made it into GradeA Milk. Then they sold the dairy farm in 1985 and diversified into sheepand beef. He still farms every day, and it was hard to stop long enoughfor this interview. He enjoys golfing and watching his grand kids in andout of school. He has driven lots of miles watching his grand kids playfootball, volleyball, and basketball.

He was commander of the American Legion for six years andalso President at the Eagles' Club.

He has been fortunate not to have an serious injuries orillnesses to limit his work. Glen had a heart attack in August of 1993.He has recovered well. That is the only serious thing that has happenedsince he was in the hospital in World War II.

Written by: Josh Heath

I got the information from Glendon, my grandpa.


Written by: Josh Heath

I got the information from Glendon, my grandpa.