Tricounty News

What's under the bed



By Elizabeth Cooper Mike

From the pen of the late Elizabeth Cooper Mike, Kimball Historical Society member, in her book "The Girl From Stickney Hill, Kimball Prairie, Minnesota" (Reprinted with permission of the author.) Part I

Note: My father was referred to as either Daddy or Bailey. Walter was his brother, my uncle. Gramma Coopie was my paternal grandmother.

"Time for bed, you boys."

"In a minute, Ma," Bailey grinned up at his mother and reached over to tweak the edge of her long black skirt. His mother sat in her rocking chair near the kerosene lamp on the dining room table, darning gaping holes in heavy, grey, woolen socks. Socks she had knit herself the winter before.

Bailey and his brother were running their home-made spool tractors along the edge of the rug. The boys would wind up the red rubber bands as tight as they could and then "let 'em go," racing their tractors back and forth along the edge of the rug in brotherly competition. Bailey was bigger and stronger and could wind the rubber band tighter and release it quicker. Every time Walter rose to obey his mother, Bailey pulled him back down.

"Bailey, stop fooling around and get yourself upstairs to bed. Do you hear me? I mean right now." Mrs. Cooper laid down her work and peered over to the shadowy corner where the boys played.

"Yeah, Ma, I'm a-goin." "I said, now."

Walter, the younger of the boys, jumped up and ran for the stairway, but Bailey grabbed his overall leg and again the two boys were down on the floor, this time wrestling, rolling over and over, first one on top, then the other. Every time Walter got free and started for the stairs, Bailey pulled him back down.

"Bailey, you do beat all. If you're not fooling around pulling jokes and tricks on someone, you're off somewhere reading and hiding out from your chores. You do frustrate me so." "Aw, Ma. You read, too. I seen ya." "I don't read when I've work to do or this family would never eat." His mother grabbed the broom and shooed the boys up the stairs. "And don't let me hear a peep outa you. Get to sleep and don't bother your sister when she comes up. You know darned well, she's got company tonight." This was my Gramma Coopie talking to my Daddy when he was a kid, long before he grew up and married my mother. Sometimes remembering his growing up years, Daddy would throw back his head and chuckle when he told us kids stories about his childhood on a Minnesota farm. He always admitted he was a young scalawag and a "trial" to his parents, particularly his mother.

Read more of the story (Part II) in two weeks in the Tri-County News Dec. 30.

* * * * * * *

Finishing well to begin again. The Kimball Area Historical Society is just completing its 10th year and first decade of existence and these "History Matters" columns in the Tri-County News. Ten years of continuous research, stories and photos, articles, exhibits, incredible speakers and programs all year long, planning committees of volunteers for every event accomplished, including the Kimball City Hall restoration project, and letters from you wonderful readers. Thank all of you for your support and enthusiasm over the years.

Great gift idea: for that hard-to-shop-for friend or relative. A membership or renewal of membership for the Kimball Area Historical Society, if you haven't already done so for 2011. January is annual membership month, so this is perfect timing. It's just $10 for individual; $15 for family; and $25 for business.

More last minute guides to Christmas gifts-2010: Kimball's first 150 years includes 65 years beginning with Maine Prairie 1856 pioneering days, one of the best-reading you will enjoy for yourself or that "perfect gift" at only $10 each. Among several other commemorative Kimball history gift items are the 10 picture note-cards at only $7. What are you waiting for?

For more information, tax deductible donations to this society, memberships, Christmas gifts or questions, contact us at Box 100, Kimball MN 55353, or phone (320) 398-5743, or 398-5250, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Turning the last pages of 2010

to begin 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!