She met a young college football player. It was only a small problem that she could throw the football better than he could. She liked how different he was. He was also a singer in a small group, a quartet with a piano player. They were putting on a concert at the college. After class she snuck into the concert to hear him. She went into the balcony hoping not to be seen.. But the young man had laser vision. Dad's solo:
"Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flow'rs are dying "
The song stopped due to the laughter of the packed auditorium, the men in the group and Lotar Staliker the piano player. Mom turned red as she became the center of attention but she liked his craziness.
The day they were married they had a half of tank a gas and ten bucks to their name. They were married for sixty-four years when he left this world.
From the wedding chapel they went to Chamberlin, South Dakota. They used their ten bucks to buy a hotel and restaurant near the new railroad. It was still standing several years later when they visited it. It was a VFW hall.
They sold the hotel when dad had an opportunity to manage a nearby Gamble's store. While in the store one of the city fathers came in to the store to tell dad they needed a teacher at the local two story school house and did he know anyone. "My wife can teach". Mom started her teaching career. What Dad didn't know is the reason there was an opening is the previous teacher was recuperating from injuries after being thrown out of the second story window of the school house by the class. Things were different then. The first day of class the bell rang. None of the students came into the school. They remained outside of the school house doing other things. All five foot four inches of my Mom took the yardstick out the playground and starting swatting the students on their behinds until all students were in their chairs ready to learn. During the process one young man said to Mom "I'm going to tell my dad. He is superintendent of schools and he will fire you." "Good if your dad comes down here he will get the same thing you did." The students went on to love Mom. And dad. Mom put a lot of extra time in and dad feeling guilty for what he got Mom into helped encouraged the students by taking them in town to the football and basketball games when they passed their tests. Almost all of Mom's third grade class went on to graduate from high school. Unusual at the time as a lot of the students would forego high school for harvesting and working on the family ranches. This is the third grade class.
After a stop in Billings, Montana. The Dahn family moved to Pocatello, Idaho when young Bill was a mere ten weeks old. Together with my Uncle Frank Delong they opened D & D roofing company. Mom did the books and made the appointments. I'm not sure who is on MY horse but I'm pretty sure that is me inside the truck. D & D roofing went on to become on of the largest roofing company in Idaho. While in Idaho we lived on a small farm. We had some outstanding next door neighbors. Mom is still in touch with Maxine, her daughter Tammy, and her granddaughter, Nikki. I used to ride horses with young Tammy.
Thinking a change would be good for their eldest child they sold the farm and the roofing company and moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon. They bought a Coast to Coast Hardware store. It was always my dad's dream to own a hardware store. He had the wife that supported that dream. Not only did she leave behind the bridge club she loved in Idaho she worked in the Coast To Coast Store. She was co-owner and she worked hard. She worked well. The customers loved her. There were those moments, however. It was a Saturday. The store was busy. Rex, Dad, Mom, & I were all waiting on customers. There were customers waiting for their turn. It was just a zoo. A young man interrupted Mom, "I need some bolts" For some reason all of the noise stopped and is was silent. Mom broke the silences with the question, "what size are your nuts." The store burst out in laughter, the man turned red and exited the store quickly never to return. After the laughter died down another customer asked Mom, "do you know what you said?" When he told Mom, she was horrified, Oh well, losing one customer in the ten years they owned the store isn't to bad.
This story will be continued on her ninety-eitghth birthday. For now the store ends with her three children, Jackie born in Brookings, South Dakota, Grover born in Bozeman Montana, Bill born in Billings, Montana, wishing her
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
© Maggie Pittman
Her hands held me gently from the day I took my first breath.
Her hands helped to guide me as I took my first step.
Her hands held me close when the tears would start to fall.
Her hands were quick to show me that she would take care of it all.
Her hands were there to brush my hair, or straighten a wayward bow.
Her hands were often there to comfort the hurts that didn't always show.
Her hands helped hold the stars in place, and encouraged me to reach.
Her hands would clap and cheer and praise when I captured them at length.
Her hands would also push me, though not down or in harms way.
Her hands would punctuate the words, just do what I say.
Her hands sometimes had to discipline, to help bend this young tree.
Her hands would shape and mold me into all she knew I could be.
Her hands are now twisting with age and years of work,
Her hand now needs my gentle touch to rub away the hurt.
Her hands are more beautiful than anything can be.
Her hands are the reason I am me.