Senior Living

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To sign up for Online Banking call Customer Service at 308-384-4323 or stop in any branch and a customer service or new accounts representative will help you. It’s easy and you’ll love the results. Enroll Today!!! For more information or to make reservations in Grand Island, call Deb at 308-389-8760. Open a Golden Club Account and experience the best full featured checking account in Nebraska and it’s Free! Thursday, April 26, 2018 7:00 p.m. An Evening With Audra McDonald at the Lied Center in Lincoln, NE Includes: • Reserved seating for the performance • Dinner & wine tasting at James Arthur Vineyards • Deluxe motorcoach • Escorted Cost: $ 139 /person Full payment is due with reservation. Reservations through March 26th or as space is available. See Audra McDonald live with full orchestra as she performs hits from Broadway and the Great American Songbook. Cancellation made after March 26th will result in no refund. No fee will be charged for name changes. 2015 N. Broadwell Avenue 3111 West Stolley Park Road 2009 N. Diers Avenue 518 N. Eddy Street 308-384-5350 www.theindependent.com The Grand Island Independent FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018 6A SENIOR LIVING By Roma Jorgensen For The Independent B arefoot and in a feedsack dress, I make it around the edge of the flat-rimmed tank without falling in the water. Now all I have to do is get around the harder one, the tank with the rounded rim. My brother and my cousins are clapping as I get to the end …What fun we had in those years! When my brother and I were kids, we’d go out to our aunt and uncle’s farm in the summertime. We’d stay for weeks and have a wonderful time. We had playhouses in empty chicken coops and sheds, and once we tore the roof off a shed because we got too tall to stand up in it. In one playhouse, we had an old, square Maytag wringer washer with the wringer removed, and it was our freezer. We stored all our mulberry pies, mulberry cakes and mulberry casseroles in it. We didn’t have a saddle, but we kept trying to ride the Shetland pony, Champ. As soon as you got on, he’d head for the nearest low branch and knock you off. My cousin and I belonged to 4-H and we’d do our sewing while sitting up in a tree. But the most fun was our shoe-kicking contests. You had to go get your loafers because you could kick them a lot farther than untied lace-ups. The object, of course, was distance, and for some reason my cousin always won even though she was second from the youngest. She always won all the foot races, too. We had such a good time! My Polish people were all from Sherman County. My mom was from Rockville and my dad from Ashton. My Aunt Toby was Mom’s sister and Uncle Herb was Dad’s brother, so we were really double cousins. We loved it — we all had the same grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles. Our Grandma and Grandpa Stobbe’s homestead was southwest of Ashton, in the “Sherman County Alps.” I never understood how they farmed those steep hills. Aunt Toby and Uncle Herb’s farm was in the flat and fertile Middle Loup River Valley, about halfway between Rockville and Loup City, at the spot where once existed the small community of Austin. In my memory the only thing left in Austin was the schoolhouse, located on the northwest corner of the farm. One sunny Sunday we decided to drive up to Ashton to the Polish Heritage Center. We would stop in Rockville to visit my mom and dad’s graves and then stop at the farm. I wanted to take a spade and maybe dig up some antique daylilies. The farm had been sold at auction a couple years before, but I was fairly certain the new owner wouldn’t mind if I dug a few daylilies. Then, when we left the farm, we could turn east at the Austin schoolhouse and that road would take us up into the hills and right past the home place. We left Rockville and were driving along, visiting and idly watching for the farm, when I realized we were nearly to Loup City. We had somehow gone way too far and had to go back. So we did — but we still couldn’t find the Austin schoolhouse or any sign of the farm. Just corn as far as the eye could see. Puzzled and confused, I suddenly remembered there was a double power pole right by the drive. As I looked up, there it was: the double pole, and near it was about six yards of blacktop curving right into the corn. I refused to believe what I saw: The farm had completely disap- peared and the corn went all the way to the foot of the pasture hills. No trees, no buildings, not a brick from the foundation — nothing, just nothing except corn. The vanishing family farm … Decades later, 2 Sherman County farmsteads are no more Continued on the next page

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