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Dorothy Boatz's Memories


My Life In the Slow Lane


I was ushered into the world on Christmas Day - so longago that the event might possibly have been recorded in the Old Testament.It was at a time when babies were born at home, Christmas trees were strungwith popcorn, a new suit of long underwear was the traditional gift, andWoodrow Wilson was president.

Most of my growing-up years were spent in Indiana, whereI learned all about Dick, Jane, and Spot in a traditional little, old, redschoolhouse.

After a sketchy but drilled-in parochial school education,I became a pre-school calculator, pre-word processor, pre-computer, pre-faxmachine secretary of sorts. When I reached the peak of my earning power($25 per week), I was faced with the choice of staying with my lucrativeposition or marrying a North Dakota farm boy whose income was only slightlyhigher than mine. Fortunately, I chose the latter plan and soon became apre-food processor, pre-microwave, pre-TV dinner housewife. In due time,I also became the mother of seven pre-VCR, pre-boom box, pre-dirt bike,pre-roller blade youngsters who were so underprivileged that they had towear T-shirts without messages on them.

My sideline "career" at that time revolved arounda news column that I wrote for the local paper. The going rate for thatendeavor was 5 cents per inch. I reported on Mamie's new glasses, Tommy'stonsillectomy, Eldon's political predictions, Melvey's laryngitis, Bill'stractor breakdown, and the advent of new kittens at the Gatheridge farm.If Pearl's plum preserves didn't jell or Rusty's car wouldn't start on acold day, both events received full coverage in the newspaper. Since allof this enable me to finance the cost of a new typewriter ribbon from timeto time, I considered my "writing" to be a successful ventureinto the business world.

Because my husband Bob was a grain buyer, we lived in manysmall towns. We started our married life in Agate, N.D., (population nine),Cando and Enderlin were distinct improvements because they both had sidewalksand water towers. Although Humboldt, Minnesota took us back to the primitivelifestyle of Agate, we stayed there for 18 years. Our next move was to Underwood,N.D., with its blessed water tower. It was there that I wrote a column forthe McLean County Independent newspaper at Garrison. When we retired andmoved to the metropolis of Bismarck, I temporarily ran out of ideas andquit writing.

After 44 years of a very good marriage, I became a widowin 1990. Because Bob was one of my favorite topics when I wrote for theGarrison paper, I plan to include him as well as other members of my familyin the column I will be writing for "GOING PLACES." This , ofcourse, is contingent upon the readers reaction to a column being writtenby a grandmother who should, more appropriately, be crocheting doilies andfeeding her canary.

Incidentally, my conscience won't let me end this withoutmentioning that I crochet doilies with the same degree of efficiency thatI build barns - so I prefer to write, even if my articles might generateno more interest than the fact that grasshoppers have three distinct intestinaldivisions. Just think of my column as a "garage sale," where antiquesare tagged and recycled as "collector's items."

(Editor's note: Dorothy Boatz, who will be 76 on Christmasday, retired with her husband from the grain business in 1980. Her husband,Robert M. Boatz, died last year. Mrs. Boatz now writes as a hobby.)

Going Places / November 1991


Going Places / November 1991