Birthday wishes made with memories, help celebrate Herb Thorson's birthday
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:03 AM
The first time I met Herb and Florence Thorson was at their home in Spring Grove. I was dating their grandson, now my husband, and was impacted with the stories they freely shared with me.
Florence and Herb Thorson of Spring Grove –
Herb will soon be celebrating his 90th birthday.
Stories of memories made with family, friends and their local community. This year on the 25th of May, Herb will turn 90 years young.
Recently, my husband and I visited with them, talking and listening to the couple as they shared again some of those same memories. They are memories made in a world unknown to me, but maybe not to others.
"It was a simple life," said Herb.
"A lot of kids didn't have jobs back then, but Herb did," continued Florence.
A young boy and a first job, I presumed maybe a paper route. I quickly discovered I presumed wrong.
"In high school I made $12.50 a week working in the produce department at the local grocery store in downtown Spring Grove," said Herb. "It was my job to candle the eggs."
"Candle the eggs?" I thought he might have meant to say handle the eggs.
"Candle the eggs. Farmers brought their eggs into the store, sometimes 30 dozen, and I had to check each one by the light from a candle. I could then see if the egg was good or not."
I was intrigued as I imagined Herb holding a candlestick to the bottom of an egg, yet the produce department wasn't his only job.
"My brother and I had a set of mules we harnessed to a wagon," Herb continued. "During the winter, it was our job to stop at the businesses on Main Street and people's homes to pick up their ashes."
"Ashes?" I asked.
"Yes, burning wood was the main source of heat. When the stoves got full, my brother Irvin and I made our rounds picking up ashes, and then we would haul them to the dump just outside of town."
"The banker sometimes complained of the cost, too," said Florence.
"Why?" I asked, "How much did you charge for ashes?"
"Well, it was 50 cents," said Herb.
I was shocked, I thought what I could buy today for 50 cents, but nothing came to mind.
"It wasn't uncommon for kids to hang out and get together summer evenings downtown Spring Grove. That's where I met Herb," said Florence.
"We would go to the movies for 10 cents and then later get a burger and a Spring Grove pop for 10 cents."
"Sometimes we would go to Matter's Ballroom (in rural Decorah, Iowa)," said Herb.
"Back then, big band music was popular," said Florence. "It wasn't unusual to be entertained by Guy Lombardo or Glenn Miller. It's where they got their start, you see."
"How did you get there?" I asked Herb, thinking of the mules.
"My first car was a 1915 model T Ford," said Herb closing his eyes as he thought. "Later, I got a 1946 Pontiac, it had two spotlights. We would drive that around."
Herb continued to share memories and his idea of going to college, but instead of school, he began driving truck, working for his dad.
Florence and Herb married July 16, 1947, and have three children- Alan and Steve Thorson and Heidi (Thorson) Hamlin.
After their marriage, Herb began working independently as a truck driver, spending over 60 years behind the wheel.
I enjoyed listening to Herb share his memories; after all, 90 years is something to enjoy and worthy of celebration.
So now, we turn to you- family, friends and community. Celebrate with us, remembering those years.
The family of Herb Thorson asks you to send your memories. Please mail them, short and sweet or long and boisterous to my mother-in-law:
13409 270th St.
Spring Valley, MN 55975
Thank you for taking the time to celebrate with us!
- The Thorson Families
Editor's note: Rose Hamlin is a published author, you can view more of her writings online at www.anniesrose.com.
Her freelance articles have appeared in national magazines like Mary Jane's Farm and Cowboy's for Christ, as well as local newspapers including The Fillmore County Journal, Bluff Country Reader and the Spring Valley Tribune.
She's also the author of the YA book GUS.