Sure, Crabby Grandma was crabby . . . but she had a heck of an eye for color, and she made some wild hats!

The Permanent Family Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules writes: “My mother always looked for the best in everyone . . . and oh, how she used to search to find nice things to say about my Crabby Grandma.

“My dad’s mother was a talented milliner, and in the early years in the 1900s, she was one of the leading business owners in their small town in Iowa. Mother told us about the elaborate, colorful and beautiful hats she created and about the day Crabby Grandma took my mother along to Sioux City on a shopping trip. Grandma needed to find the exact color of thread to match one of her hat creations. When mother asked her if she hadn’t better take a sample along to be sure she had a perfect match, my grandma looked at her as though she were feeble-minded and said: ‘Why? I will know.’ Mom said: ‘By golly, she matched the color perfectly with no sample to guide her. She had an amazing eye for color.’

“In addition to her millinery shop, she also ran a boardinghouse, which kept her six daughters busy cleaning and cooking, as well as helping her in the hat shop. Her boardinghouse had a reputation for the ‘best eats in town at the lowest prices.’ All she really craved was praise, and she got plenty of it; unfortunately, my sweet Grandpa was the one who paid the bills. My dad said he felt so sorry for his pa the many times when he would take his paycheck into the bank, and he would be told that his entire check wouldn’t quite cover Grandma’s bills.



“I was fortunate to acquire these photos from my cousin. They were on the back of penny postcards, so evidently they were used in advertising ‘The Fashionable Milliner.’ It was a real treat to finally see what that shop looked like after all the stories I’d heard about it. My grandma is the stern-looking lady sitting between my Aunt Florence and my Aunt Rosella. The other depicts various styles of her hats. How I wish they were in color . . . and yes, Mom, they certainly were elaborate!”

The Permanent Motherly/Sonly Record

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, remembers: “Subject: The little Doryman’s rest stop.


“There were always plenty of these little grain bins scattered around Cottonwood County when I was a kid, and some were close to the roads. When the whining from the back seat of the ’49 Olds got too annoying for my mother, she would start looking for one. Her tried-and-true remedy was simple: ‘If you don’t settle down back there, we’re going to put you in that bin and pick you up on the way home!’

“Yep, still remember that every time I see one.”

Our theater of seasons
Including: The little treasures

April 11 email from Mike Whisler of Eagan:  “Subject: Spring is in the air. [Bulletin Board says: Yeah? Wait a couple days, and see what you think!]


“Now that it is starting to feel like spring, I thought your readers might enjoy this photo of a proud farmer standing in front of his barn with his horse and colt. It makes me think of warmer weather.

“The image is from a glass-plate negative (late 1800s to early 1900s era) that was with a camera I bought at an estate sale many years ago in the Hastings area.”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Can you begin to imagine how surprised that farmer would be that, in the early years of the 21st century, a picture of him and his horses would be featured in a “publication” that people could read on their telephones? And that people didn’t need a camera, anymore, to take pictures like that one — because they could do that, too, with their telephones!

Our livestock, ourselves

DebK of Rosemount: “Subject: She is born!

“The shepherds of St. Isidore Farm announce the arrival of a ewe lamb, born to Bea (#26) and Clarence at 5:30 this morning. The woolly darling has been named Jean. She is a feisty baby — nearly seven pounds, we think — and seems not to mind that she has come into the world during a nasty spring storm. Though she’s up and around and baa-ing charmingly, little Jean has not yet found the spigot, so once we shepherds have caffeinated and breakfasted, we will assist in this important business, as necessary.

“For the record, neither of the old ewes we’ve had in the birthing suites for nearly four days shows particular interest in producing a lamb today. Worse, we had no idea Bea was ready to go. She gave birth in the highly trafficked loafing area. Ewes never follow the plan!”

Unclear on the concept
Or: They’re out there!

Newport Reader: “To add insult to injury on this snowy mid-April day, here is a parking lot dilemma!”


Or: Ask a silly question!

Jimbo of Inver Grove Heights asks: “Why would the Twins ever need a retractable roof on their stadium???”

Our theater of seasons

Al B of Hartland: “I’d been all over the birding map. Birding four states in one day allowed me to see the niceness and the nastiness of spring. Spring can be full of winter. Spring is when we get the winter that no one else wants and the snow shovel has been worn to a sliver.

“Birds begin to serenade sunrises and sunsets. With temps just north of 20 degrees, song sparrows were singing up a storm. Not literally, I hoped. It was a sunny day. Sunny days in winter and spring cause us to shine and sing.”

Granny Stad of West St. Paul: “Subject: Enough already!

“After seeing Channel 5’s weather forecast for this mid-April weekend, I am convinced that ‘when hell freezes over,’ it will replicate the winter of 2018 in Minnesota.”

Twitty of Como: “Just sitting here chuckling at the birds outside. With the ‘big storm’ coming in [Bulletin Board notes: No need for quotation marks, Twitty!], I made sure to fill all the feeders yesterday, and was rewarded before dusk with flocks of doves, blackbirds, juncos, cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers coming in to stock up for the night.

“I looked out this morning to the same, very busy yard, and knew I’d have to replenish their stock. When I opened the door, all flew away, of course, but apparently not too far, because in the time it took me to come in and wash my hands, they were right back at it.

“At this rate, I may have to fill the feeders again this evening!


“Even Mr Squirrel decided to join in the feast.”


Bloomington Bird Lady: “I just looked out at our feeder area, and between 30 and 40 dark-eyed juncos are gobbling the food on the ground as fast as they can! Also called ‘snow birds,’ they seem to love winter. I have never seen this many at once. Something must have told them, and it wouldn’t be the weather gals on TV!

“Up above on the hanging feeders are bright yellow finches in their summer garb now.

“Two robins are loving that the snow we just got rid of opened up their territory to find worms. Good luck with that, as the ground is about to freeze solid.

“Another good clue about a coming storm: Cub was crowded — all the check-outs being used. Out in the parking lot, the spring garden center has taken over a large area, also taking parking spaces . . . but if anyone is looking for anything to plant, they’re going to wait a week longer, I hope. [Bulletin Board says: One week? There’s the optimist of the day!]

“Take care, BB neighbors. This may set a record for April, but in the meantime, icy roads and sidewalks are out there as the temps fall.”

Grandma Nancy: “Subject: Always Hopeful.


“This woman is so ready for spring!”

IGHGrampa: “Subject: Tiger lilies.


“This pic is from 2016. I hope that’s not cheating, but beautiful flowers are eternal.”

Their theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede reports: “My Oregon daughter-in-law sent this first photo to show me what ‘snow’ was looking like in Oregon — kind of like cherry blossoms! I imagine when the petals fall, the ground could have petal ‘drifts’!


“My son sent these pear blossom photos. I have never seen pear blossoms before, so I am glad he sent them.




“It is said that the pear blossom has been a symbol of hope and lasting friendship. I offer that and wish it for all the Bulletin Board readers and contributors.”

Everyone’s a (movie) critic!
Cabin Fever Division

Tim Torkildson writes: “For a great weekend movie about journalistic integrity, I recommend Edward G. Robinson in ‘A Dispatch from Reuters’ on YouTube. It’s streaming for free:

“The film was made at Warner Bros. in 1940, with an original score by Max Steiner. It was meant to be, and still is, an uplifting biopic about Paul Reuter. Like all the great Warner biopics, it mixes truth with fantasy to produce a portrait of a heroic man — in this case, a man who started out in Germany with homing pigeons bringing him stock- exchange prices and then became a world-renowned journalist in Great Britain who guaranteed his news dispatches were always completely factual and up to date.

“In this paltry era of fake news and cold algorithms, it’s a refreshing film (if only as a fairy tale). So put some popcorn in the microwave, turn off your smartphone for an hour and 29 minutes, and enjoy!”

Now & Then

Kathy S. of St Paul writes: “PBS recently aired a show about Rachel Carson and her work, including the book ‘Silent Spring.’  [Bulletin Board notes: A Twin Cities writer named William Souder was one of the expert commentators for that episode of “The American Experience” — his expertise having been demonstrated by his Rachel Carson biography, “On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson,” which we enthusiastically recommend.] We pretty much all owe her a debt, for her efforts re: DDT.

“This is a picture Mom took in Hollywood Beach, Florida, in Oct. 17, 1945, plus info she wrote on the back. She was commenting on DDT being sprayed in front of the place where she and Dad lived. He was there for training.



“I wonder if Mom knew, then, how dangerous DDT is.”


Funny business (responsorial)

Donald: “In the April 10 edition of Bulletin Board, Gma Tom wrote that she had heard ‘Hoover’ used as a verb on a British TV show, when someone had ‘Hoovered’ a rug.

“I had a similar experience while watching one of the American cop/detective shows. After witnessing (via a hidden camera) a drug dealer sorting cocaine on a table, the police/agents broke through the door, only to find the table clear. This conversation ensued:

“Policeman/agent: ‘What happened to the coke?’

“Observer: ‘He Hoovered it.’”

The verbing of America

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “My elder son called my attention to an article which appeared in the Pioneer Press. The headline read: ‘Boat insurance policy surprise.’

“The piece focused on the fact that ‘boat liability coverage can — and it appears, nearly always does — exclude spouses and children. . . . Carla Ferucci, executive director of the advocacy group Minnesota Association for Justice, said her research suggests it’s extremely rare for policies to offer coverage for family members.

“‘”We’ve focus-grouped this issue, and when the general public finds out their family isn’t covered, they’re incensed,” Ferucci said.’”

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “The article on Page 6A in Tuesday’s Pioneer Press had this headline: ‘Florida governor running for Senate.’ This was the second paragraph of the piece: ‘(Governor Rick) Scott, a friend and ally of President Donald Trump who is being term-limited out of office after eight eight years as governor, said he’s now aiming for the Senate because “career politicians” have created gridlock and dysfunction in the federal government.’”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great?
Including: The Permanent Maternal Record (responsorial) (responsorial) (responsorial)

Cheesehead By Proxy, “back in Northern Minnesota”: “I enjoyed the recent recollections of the writer [Cheap Charlie] who attended school in the one-room schoolhouse in Maple Grove.

“I’m now 65 years old, and my 1957 kindergarten classes were held in a relatively new school building, the Island Lake School in Shoreview, which had been built to accommodate the burgeoning Baby Boom population.

“Kindergarten went off pretty much without a hitch. On my first day of first grade, however, I rode the bus to school and in order to find my classroom, I was to look for my name among hand-printed class lists on posters tacked to easels outside each classroom.
My name was on none of them.

“Hallways emptied as students filed into their respective classrooms, and I clearly recall bursting into tears as panic and fear swept over me. I picture myself as that little 6-year- old girl in her crispy new cotton dress (we were not allowed to wear slacks!), the feeling of being so alone and afraid.

“Luckily, a teacher spotted me. ‘Oh, you must be one of students assigned to the Wilber Lake Schoolhouse!’ she said. The old schoolhouse had housed students of all ages in that area for generations and was to be used, at least for that year, to hold one of the sections of first grade. All was well.

“I do feel lucky, now, to have attended school in that building before it was torn down; to be a part of those who remember what one-room brick schoolhouse buildings were like. Every time I’ve had occasion to enter one, the memories of the Wilber Lake Schoolhouse come back to me in clarity.

“Working for small-town newspapers has taken me inside a few brick schoolhouses to cover feature stories. One such visit was to the school in Sand Creek, Wisconsin, which had been turned into a community center. (The one-room schoolhouse was attached to a 1960s ‘newer’ section.) Another visit was to a schoolhouse near Wolf Lake, Minnesota, that had been remodeled into a home. I interviewed a woman who lived there who had also attended school in the building as a child. The school’s students were holding a Centennial celebration, and the woman told me about the old days of her youth when she literally walked across farm fields for classes.

“In those buildings, I could actually feel what it had been like in my first grade in the Wilber Lake building: the warm sunshine that poured through the tall windows lining one side of the classroom; the skinny boards of the creaky wooden floors and the rows of desks; the cloakroom in the back, where we fetched our coats in order to walk to lunch in the main Island Lake School building; our nice elderly teacher; the excitement of actually learning to read using our Dick, Jane and Sally books; my fellow students, many of whom I can still name when I see the class photo.

“I can remember all this, and yet somehow I can’t recall whether or not I have written to you about the Wilber Lake school before. OTD!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We don’t believe that you have. But we’re close enough to Older Than Dirt to feel uncertain of that!

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Coal Furnaces Division

Grandpa Bob: “Subject: More coal furnace memories.

“What 4-year-old did not dream of becoming a coal man in the 1940s: big trucks, coal whooshing down the chute, and getting dirty, really dirty as a part of the job. That dream bubble was pricked when Mom and Dad informed me that coal men took a shower at the end of the work day. I hated bathing.

“A couple of years later, when Mom was very pregnant with No. 3 (of 7), she had to ask me to help shovel coal into the furnace. Dad was out of town, and the house was getting cold. I remember having trouble lifting more than a quarter-scoop, and the furnace door was pretty high for a 6-year-old. Much of the coal spilled on the floor, but eventually we got enough in to save us from freezing.

“Mom and Dad discussed whether they could ever save enough to buy a coal stoker, which could feed coal into the furnace automatically. They decided that they would be better off converting to an oil burner, but before that happened, they were able to buy a brand-new house financed by the GI Bill. The new house had a natural-gas furnace, wonder of wonders. It had a clothes dryer, too, but Mom still hung lots of clothes (for lots of kids) on the clothesline, but without fear of soiling by coal dust. No nostalgia, there.

“Getting old: remembering vividly the sight of dirty, dirty coal men, but forgetting where I left my glasses two minutes ago.”

Band Name of the Day: The Crabby Grandmas

Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike: 





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