Keeping Up With the (Digital) Times

Changes abound:

*typewriters have given way to computers

*landlines are being replaced by cell phones

*videocassettes gave way to DVDs which are being supplemented by online streaming

*and vinyl records, while still available, are becoming rare and were replaced mostly by CDs which are being replacing by mp3 players and online players … and the list goes on.

And then there are, or more accurately, were cameras that had film.  But digital photography  had largely replaced film.  Indeed, there are exceptions to all of these and I experienced  that when cleaning an all too forgotten drawer recently.  I came across a disposable camera.  That’s the kind that used to be quite popular for taking outdoor amateur pictures.  The film was enclosed in a cardboard type of camera which, when all the pictures had been taken, was then returned to have the film developed.  The camera was part of the package and was a single use item.

I had absolutely no idea what was on the film but was surprised and pleased to find these two photos included.   Looking at the photos, it appears they were taken in approximately 1994 or 1995.  The location was Logan Dam in Clark County, South Dakota.  This dam was a WPA project in the 1930s and the idea was water retention.  My husband grew up on a farm very close to this dam and has memories of spending Sunday afternoons fishing and swimming there.  Some of the area around the dam is now covered with prairie grass in middle to late summer.

The developed pictures were very light (probably due to the age of the film) so I scanned a few of them and tried to adjust and “correct” the color but was only marginally successful.

The first photo is of our daughter Naomi and the second is a view of the dam.  (It was a typical windy day in South Dakota.)

Lesson learned:  next time don’t wait twenty years to have a roll of film developed!  Technology almost by-passed me on this one.

Logan Testt 3.tifLogan Test2


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Hanson-Johnson Photographs

Nels A Hanson, 1858-1916

Nels A. Hanson, born 17 April 1858 Katslosa Parish, Malmohus Ian, Sweden Died 19 October 1916 Lily, Day, South Dakota

John B (Bryngelsson) Johnson and Johanna (Larson) Johnson 2

John B. (Bryngelsson) Johnson, born 11 November 1836 Eggvena Parish, Sweden; Died 1 June 1898, York Township, Day, Lily, South Dakota Johanna (Larson) Johnson, born 1 June 1836 Eggvena Parish, Sweden; Died 4 January 1906, Lily, Day, South Dakota

Andrew Hanson and Bertha (Persdotter) Hanson 2

Andrew Hanson, born 24 November 1826 Lomma Parish, Malmohus Ian, Sweden; died 15 May 1898 Lily, Day, South Dakota Bertha (Persdotter) Hanson, born 16 April 1830 Katslosa Parish, Malmohus, Ian, Sweden; died 4 May 1898 Lily, South Dakota

Anna Mathilda Johnson Hanson, 1868-1932

Anna Mathilda Johnson Hanson, born 16 July 1868 East Union, Carver, Minnesota; died 23 Sept. 1932 Lily, Day, South Dakota

John B. (Bryngelsson) Johnson and Johanna (Larson) Johnson were the parents of Anna Mathilda Johnson (wife of Nels Hanson).

Andrew Hanson and Bertha (Persdotter) Hanson were the parents of Nels Hanson.






















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Nativity Sets Through the Years

Four crèche sets that are part of our Christmas tradition:

Creche1This was purchased December 1969 when I had my first full-time job and was on a very tight budget.

Creche2This was purchased in 1970, our first Christmas of married life.

Creche3This set,  made in Kenya, was a gift from our daughter Naomi.

Creche4This set was purchased in Mexico in the mid 1980s.

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Christmas Films

Of all the assorted Christmas films and TV specials, my favorite is Frosty, the Snowman.  The reason for that is simple– Frosty was the first Christmas special I watched with our daughter Naomi.

She was about two and a half and probably did not grasp the entire story, but she did ask repeatedly afterward, “Why Karen cried?”

This was back in the days predating flat screen TVs, high definition television, and surround sound.  If memory serves me correctly, we had one, and only one, television set at the time which was an a 12 inch black and white TV I had purchased, pre-marriage,  for the grand sum of $79.  It was bought on credit and I made six monthly payments.  The final payment was made with a great sense of accomplishment!

To this day, Frosty is still my very favorite Christmas film (although The Christmas Story–a/k/a “You’ll shoot your eye out, Kid”– is in second place).

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”

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Santa Claus Revelation

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, ” Francis Pharcellus Church, (From the famous editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” which appeared in The Sun, September 21, 1897)

My own reaction upon learning the reality of Santa Claus was not too emotionally-damaging.  Hey, as long as the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve continued, I was a happy girl.

When our daughter Naomi was young, we did not overly emphasize Santa Claus.  Our tradition was that we exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve and then Santa brought a few smaller items on Christmas morning which were literally stocking stuffers.  Santa was a low-key operation in the Lohr household.

But there was one caveat to this:  “Santa” always used different wrapping paper for the Christmas morning gifts … totally unlike what I had used for wrapping Christmas Eve gifts.

Well, at least that was the plan.  But it was foiled when observant five year old daughter Naomi shyly asked me one Christmas morning, “Mom, are you and Santa Claus the same person?”  Ah, the best laid plan had unraveled!  I don’t think our daughter was profoundly damaged by this revelation.  (Did I mention the Christmas Eve gift tradition continued?)

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”

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Christmas Recipe for Plain Suet Pudding

A seasonal tradition handed down by my mother-in-law Frances Hanson Lohr:  The little personalized notes were an inclusion when she gave us the recipe.

(My husband Jim has made this several times.  He says it is not quite the “plum pudding” some persons might expect.  This recipe is very rich. )

Suet Pudding

1 cup suet, chopped fine

1 cup syrup

3 cups flour, 3 level teaspoons banking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt,  1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 cups chopped raisins, 1 cup sweet milk

Mix the suet, milk and syrup.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.  Add to the suet, milk and syrup mixture, blending well.  Oh yes, add the copped or ground raisins to this!  Turn into a buttered mold (pan) and steam three hours.  Serve with hard sauce.

Note: I always used the white Karo syrup, I’m sure, but Dad thinks brown syrup would give it more color and probably flavor.  He thinks one can use a blender instead of a grinder for raisins but one can cut things, too.

Hard Sauce

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar (which is powdered sugar, you know)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar; add vanilla.  Vary flavor with lemon or orange juice and grated peel.  Makes 1 2/3 cups.  To make Fluffy Hard Sauce: Add 1 egg yolk to creamed butter.  Fold in stiff-beaten egg whites.  Makes 1 2/3 cups.

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”

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Christmas Tree Lights and Martha Harsh

Ah, memories of trimming a Christmas tree (after it was displayed nearly straight and the best side showing to the room, of course!)– putting the Christmas lights on the tree.

My sister and I frequently helped our aunt Martha Harsh decorate her tree on a Wednesday after school.  She would have the tree up and in the stand, but let us put on the decorations.  Sometimes her dog Mitch also got into the act but was more hindrance than help.

The lights were the first thing to be put on the tree.  Prior to that we had to untangle the cords and basically lay them out straight on the floor.  This was easier said than done, given the length of the electrical cords.  Usually Martha did most of the untangling and this was only one of two times when we would see her get extremely frustrated.  (The other was attempting to start her power lawn mower with the wrap cord, but that’s a story for another post.)

Martha was an unusually calm person and took life in stride.  A more patient person would be hard to find.  But put a series of tangled Christmas electrical light cords in front of her and her frustration level rose exponentially.  There were no cuss words or anything, just a very stern look on her face and a sense of exasperation.  But eventually that which was tangled would become untangled and then we could proceed to help her place the lights on the tree … all a prelude to the second challenge:  which of the lights did and did not work.  If one in the series was not working, none of them worked.  (I would learn later in my physics class this was a perfect example of lights connected in a series as opposed to a parallel connection!)

So we had to test each light and replace it as necessary.  This probably took the greater part of the whole tree trimming episode.  At last the task was done and the fun part for my sister and I could begin as we put the ornaments on the tree.  I think Martha was so exhausted by this time from dealing with electrical lights, that she gladly relinquished this part to us.

The final touch was putting the tinsel (loose “ice sickles”) on the tree.  More of the silver shining material probably ended up on the floor … but the final result was a tree that, in our opinion, was rivaled by no other.

Thanks, Martha, for the great memories!

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”

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