Not Just Ground Hog Day



Leaving the Hospital
       To me, February 2 is not just Ground Hog Day, it is also my dad's birthday.  Today will mark the seventh birthday we have celebrated since he left us here on earth.  It makes me more than a little bit nostalgic on this brisk winter day, so I thought I might share some stories and information with you.

      He was born on February 2, 1942 to Marlow Carl Nelson and Selma "Sally" Othelia (Nelson) Nelson (That was kind of a running joke in the family too, but more on that some other time...) in a rural MN town like many others of the day at a hospital in Tyler, MN. He may have been one of the first in his family to have gotten that priveledge because as far as I know both of his parents were born on a rural farm outside of Balaton, MN.
My dad and his Mom


       He was the oldest of 4 siblings, 2 brothers and a sister.  The youngest brother died as an infant in 1951, I guess I'm not sure if he was still born or what exactly happened, Dad really never was much of an open book and didn't discuss these matters openly at all.  I do know he was buried in the Trinity Lutheran cemetery where my dad's paternal grandfather was buried though, and that they took the only picture of him that I've got which is a picture of him in his casket.  How incredibly sad.

Confirmation
       Church was always very important in the family too.   He grew up with the same church family that many of his ancestors had, Sillerud Lutheran Church in Skandia I believe.  This is the same church that his mom went to as a little girl. It is a Swedish Church out in the country that even I have fond memories of.  I remember when I was little they lived on a farm not far from the church.  Many events happened at the family church including his baptism, his confirmation, and his wedding to my mom.  It is where my grandpa and his second wife celebrated their 25th anniversary,  many Christmas celebrations were spent together here,  as well as the sad events of funerals and burials.  Judging by the many pictures I have of it, it doesn't appear that the decor has ever changed either.  That's a Swede for you though, always practical...  Why fix it if it's not broken, eh?
Watching a Parade with
Extended Family
       My dad was a total family man.  He wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.  I imagine as a kid they must have spent a lot of time together, unlike this day and age where the computers and tvs take away way too much family fun time.  Looking back through his pictures there are a lot of the family doing stuff together such as sledding (I wonder if any of the pictures of them as kids were taken at Garvin Park where Dad and Grandpa took me as a kid?), fishing, camping, parades, family vacations, trips to the beach, picnics, and playing cards to name a few.  We did many of those activities when I was a kid too actually...  Even when the rest of us later on protested as much as we could, we still traveled on the major holidays to see everyone.  I mean, we had lives and wanted to do our own thing but you just couldn't stop him.  We even got a mini Christmas tree to put in the car as a joke one year...
He Loved to Fish
Camping

1956 Blue Ribbon Lamb
        He was very involved in activities as well.  In 1956 he was awarded  a blue ribbon for his lamb by the 4H club.  His mother was a group leader of some sort which I only know because she signed a submission of a photo project that my dad submitted as the group leader.  I imagine that they must have done many activities like this in order to spend more time together as a family.  I am not exactly sure when he joined any of them, but I do know that he was also in both band and football as evidenced by 2 other pictures I dug up.  Sometimes it makes me wonder why he didn't talk more about these experiences with me.  I do believe I saw somewhere that he played the tuba.
Dad in his Band Uniform,
College(?)

High School Graduation 
       He graduated from Balaton High School in 1960.  He chose to go to a nearby Christian college in Sioux Falls, SD to stay near to his family.  He has shared some college prank stories a few times.  Every time they came to play SCSU, my dad made sure to attend every game the Augustana Vikings played up there later in life.  He graduated from college in 1964.  I think he was a rather ordinary student judging by his report card grades.
College Senior Picture

 Christmas 1961
       While he was in college, his mother died November 28, 1962.  I bet they were glad that they took the Christmas picture that year.  It seems that must have been their last family picture.  I guess I'm not 100% sure what she died of, another thing my dad never really talked about.  He sold Collier Encyclopedias for a time, following in his salesman father's footsteps. He graduated with a B.S. degree, but before finding a job he made a trip to Europe.  I have the many slides he took from there and I would love to go there sometime as well.  Upon his return, he got a job teaching high school math which he did until after he met and married my mom.
Mom and Dad's Wedding

1976
Salesmen in Sioux City
       Theirs was a whirl wind romance.  Dad met her when he was attending re-certification classes for his teaching license up at Bemidji State University.  He noticed that there was a class reunion for the class that graduated the same year that he did, so he decided to crash it.  That is where he met my mom.  She tried as hard as she could to get rid of him, but he wouldn't leave her alone until he agreed to go out with her.  When she was getting ready to hop a plane and fly to CA for a nanny job, he talked her into marrying him even though they didn't know each other very well.  Shortly after getting married my dad decided that he would leave the teaching profession and become a salesman which made us move quite a bit actually.

       We made our home in several places throughout the years never staying longer than 5 years in any place until we moved to the Monticello area.

Trip to FL
      All of that moving didn't keep us from seeing his family every chance we got.  Even when money was tight, we still traveled to see them.  We went all over the place and have pictures of us by all hinds on monuments and people's houses.
1990

       We even got to take a family vacation with our grandparents when I was in the first grade.  I thought it was great that we got out of school all that time!  Since our (step) grandma was a school (as well as a principal previously) teacher, she helped us with our lessons.

Easter 1992
       I don't actually remember much from the trips we took when I was little, but I know we sure travelled lots of places to see lots of people!  By the time I was really old enough to remember much we stuck to MN and only visited mom and dad's brothers and sisters or their parents when we drove any great distances.  Usually we just stuck close to home and had movie nights or went to some friends' house to play cards or a board game of some sort.

       He still liked to fish and hunt, but only took us fishing a handful of times.  I wish I had learned more from him while he was still around.  We also had a garden for a couple of years when I was little though I was never taught how to tend it.

       He was active in many different groups throughout the years including Gideons, Jaycees, and our church choir to name a few that I recall most prominently.  I remember at least one year that all 4 of us were in the choir.  Or was it only 3 of us?  Hmm...

       So many, many memories.  I will stop rambling and boring you for now.  I miss you Dad.  Happy Birthday!

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy

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