Paula (Ott) Payne's Memories
A Happy Methodist Minister's Daughter
I was living a happy life as a Methodist minister's daughterin Iowa when my dad decided to become an Episcopalian priest. Futhermore,he said we would be moving to Minnesota. He said we would undoubtedly moveto the Twin Cities.
Now I had seen "Rebel Without a Cause" &my greatest fear was living in a city. I was thrilled when Dad receiveda letter saying we were moving to Hallock. We made the long trip up tolook the town over. We spent the night at Clifford Bouvette's house.
They told us stories about bear & lynx which had comeinto town. I remember racing from their house to our car hoping I was notdevoured by a wild animal. (But even a wild animal beat the city rebels.) The only wild animals I ever saw in town in all my years up there werea bear someone shot in the country & put on display outside the cityhall for a few hours & a bobcat Mr. Walenberg trapped on his farm &had in the back of his pick-up when he came to church.
Dad's job did not begin until October but Mom and my sistersand I had to start school so we moved up in September. We lived in theValley View Motel. We ate rolls for breakfast & school lunch. Forsupper we went to the only cafe in town, the Corner Cafe. I had the menumemorized. They had a cooler with bottles of pop of every flavor underthe sun. And did they make good gooey rice krispie bars.
Hallock was an eye-opener to an Iowan. They did not haveone of the most important things in Iowa, girls' basketball. They had noforeign language & no art. It was so cold that gloves that protectedme while I was outside for hours in Iowa left me with frostbitten fingersafter a few minutes in Hallock. Very few people had garages. They hadheadbolt heaters. Dad's Ford really protested the cold. It was a choreto always shovel the heavy snow away from the car which sat on the streetafter the plow went by & then hope it would start. I had never heardof hockey, lutefisk, lefsa, potato sausage, curling, or people who said,"I want to go with" or "Borrow me a pencil." It wasfascinating to discover such a different world. Two things that particularlyfascinated me were yellow-headed blackbirds and the Hill mansion.
Every morning I would wake up and Mom would have the radioon. It was the sickest station I ever heard! I have no idea what it was. They played one song once in awhile that has stuck in my head, "I'mJust a Secondhand Rose." It is hard to believe but the teenagers listenedto a popular music station from Oklahoma City.
We were driving out in Caribou one day & found a tinychurch in the middle of nowhere. The church was mostly one room. The insidewalls were completely covered with religious pictures. There were no pews,you stood for the service. My sister says the church is no longer there.
Coming from Iowa, we missed hills terribly. One day Momdrove us to Walhalla, ND so we could see hills. It is hard to believe thatso close to the flat prairie are such beautiful hills.
Two of the meanest men in the world came to Hallock oncea week to give drivers' tests. I decided to take the test on the driver'sed straight stick Rambler rather than my dad's '55 straight stick Ford. There was not a happier person than me to pass the test on my first try. I only passed by a few points but I passed.
All of a sudden Honda fever hit town. EVERYBODY had aHonda except me. I don't know if I would be alive today if I had had one,but it didn't make me want one any less back then. I can still hear themshifting gears as they roared around town.
hear themshifting gears as they roared around town.