Monday, November 3, 2014

Adventures in South Dakota

At the end of the summer of 1979 we made a cross country move from Florida to South Dakota. Steve's one year job at a private school had ended, and he was not able to find a teaching job that paid enough for a family of four there in Jacksonville, so as I mentioned in last week's post he accepted a job at a boarding school in South Dakota.

My husband's sister, Ruth, lived in SD about 3 hours away from where we would be living. Her husband, Gary, flew to Florida to help Steve drive the moving truck. My mother-in-law came with me and our two girls via airplane. An interesting fact is that when we stopped in Colorado to change planes we were surprised to see Gary as we passed in the hall going in opposite directions! We were picked up at the airport in SD by Ruth and stayed in their home until Steve and Gary arrived with the truckload of furniture.

(Sara and her cousin, Michael)
We all went on to the duplex that was to be our home on the campus of Sunshine Bible Academy in Miller, South Dakota.

(our home in South Dakota)
The family that lived in the other part of the duplex were kind and helpful, making us feel very welcome. The inside wall is where we put my piano. Since their living room was on the other side of ours, they could hear me loud and clear when I played. Good thing for me they enjoyed it. I mentioned in THIS post how hard it was to move the piano. This would have been the 6th time it had been moved but only our third cross country move.

(Sara loved to put on her daddy's boots)
Living in South Dakota was an adventure for me, because I had never been any farther west than Mississippi. It was very dry with a wind that was almost constant, quite a change from the humidity we were used to in Florida. There were not many trees and the land was very flat. Sometimes we could still see the setting sun through our picture window at 9:00 in the evening! The following picture shows part of the window. Our dog loved to sit on top of his doghouse,which is why you can see him in the picture. Yes, this is the same dog that cause quite a lot of  destruction in our New Hampshire house as told in this story HERE.

(Sara loved to ride on the rocking spring horse)
There was much to learn in this new-to-us place. They only provided bread for those who were working outside the home, so I had to learn to bake my own. It was a challenge but fun. I branched out into making English muffins and other breads. It was here that I learned to make pizza and we still use the recipe today that my neighbor had gotten from a pizza restaurant where a friend of hers worked. A trick she taught me was to use scissors to cut pizza which we also still do, because they work better than a pizza cutter.

(the girls loved to look at books)
Weather wise Halloween started out like a pretty normal day. Sara was excited to dress up and go “Trick or Treat.”

( We really didn't have much for a costume)
But that night it started raining, then quickly changed to sleet. By morning it had turned into a roaring blizzard. I had never seen snow so thick with the strong winds blowing it sideways. I have an idea now of what Laura Ingalls Wilder meant when she wrote about blizzards. It didn't last that long, but because it was such a wet snow, it knocked out power which meant no heat and no water. There must have been a generator at the school, because I remember going to the cafeteria where it was warm. Steve's sister did have power so we went to visit them for a few days.

(view from our picture window)
Later the girls did have some fun in the snow. Steve and I sometimes enjoyed cross country skiing.


This was the first year we did not spend Christmas with my parents. South Dakota was far away from Florida and neither of us could afford to make the trip at that time. At least we had some family with Gary and Ruth and their two boys. We had an interesting celebration as our children wanted to act out the Christmas story. My 3 year old nephew, Michael, was Joseph and Sara was Mary. Her little baby doll was used for the baby Jesus. For months after that whenever anyone asked Sara what her doll's name was she would say, “Baby Jesus.”

(Gary was the donkey while I provided music)











(Their gifts were simple but they loved them)
One thing I like to remember that I'm sure the girls get tired of hearing is what happened while they were sitting at the table enjoying their Christmas candy canes.


Sara would start singing, “La, la, la, la” with the second “la” accented and in a higher tone and the last two going down the scale. She would repeat it over and over. Well, Jamie decided to try it only hers came out, “Wa, wa, wa, wa.” That would irritate Sara and she would yell out, “No, don't copy me it!”

(I think this family picture was taken around Christmastime)
Next week I'll share more about our adventures in South Dakota including what happened when my friend and I with our children were coming back from town and her car ran out of gas. It may include something about cows.  (That post can now be found HERE)

To read more of my memoir posts you can go to this PAGE where I have created links to each of the others.

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