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Ivor and Alma Eskestrand

Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream
As the Story was Told

This popular couple and their five children, Irene, Edward, Lottie, Floyd and Gillis, lived two miles east of my home. My family visited there often, as they had been homesteaders, too, and lived similar lives to ours. Their small house was made up of three or four former homesteaders' shacks, which were fastened together, yet it always seemed large enough to accommodate all of them and their many visitors.

Ivor had emigrated from Bergen, Norway when he was a young man. Although he lived to be ninety-one, he didn't quite drop that Norski accent. He had a keen sense of humor, a quality his children inherited. His home was such a cheerful place. I recall Ivor laughing uproariously as his rickety gramophone squeaked out: "No matter how young a prune may be, It's always full of wrinkles. People get wrinkles in the face, A prune gets them every place."

Alma was a stout lady, jovial, generous and kind. She was a wonderful worker, homemaker and cook. The cakes she baked in an old coal and wood stove would make Duncan Hines, of our day, very jealous. As I first remember her, she had had her teeth extracted and she hadn't the money to pay for dentures so she went without for most of her life. When she did get those store teeth, I barely recognized her. This is one story Alma told.

"I looked out my window at daybreak to see a coyote going by, carrying what looked like my new gander. I'd given my last two dollars to Mrs. Poyser for him and I couldn't afford to give him to that four-footed thief, even for Easter.

"Ivor, I must catch that dirty thief," I shouted as I gave chase, my nightgown blowing in the wind, my long hair, free of hairpins, streaming behind me.

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Mary Tollestrup