CHAPTER 15: 1300 St. Olaf Avenue
FATHER had left an insurance policy. Insurance was not so well understood in those days as it is now, but Father had tried to think ahead and do all he could to provide support for his family. After his death we continued to live in Ytterboe Hall for two years. Then Mother decided to build a house on upper St. Olaf Avenue. Edward Mohn was the architect. It was not a large house but it had good lines, it was cozy and comfortable and filled our needs perfectly. It still stands at 1300 St. Olaf Avenue and continues to be owned by our family. We have a tender feeling for our old home and none of us want to part with it.
There were only three houses on upper St. Olaf Avenue at that time: the Mohn house, the Felland house and the Ytterboe house. When our house was completed and the lawn and orchard planted, President Kildahl came down and planted a long cedar hedge for us. I have a distinct picture of him. He had taken little seedlings from Norway Valley, and I stood next to him as he worked with his coat off. He dug the hole, put in the little cedar tree, watered it, filled the hole with dirt, then stamped down the earth firmly. I helped him carry a few buckets of water. That cedar hedge grew and became a fine edging to our place until other houses were built and the neighbors wanted a clean sweep of lawn all the way down the avenue.
My brother, Norman, always seemed to have money. He bought all the apple trees which formed the long orchard at the rear of the house. Norman made his money by selling magazines and by winning word contests. However, he suffered repeated attacks of rheumatic fever, which weakened him. He died at the age of sixteen, so Mother had lost her husband and her only son. After Norman died, we heard from a national magazine that Norman had won another word contest. It was so pitiful, and Mother was heartbroken. Norman had the best mind of any of Mother's children.
President Kildahl again showed his thoughtfulness. He asked Tante Agnes Kittelsby to come to St. Olaf to teach. This was a great joy to Mother, for Tante Agnes was truly a member of our family and with her salary she could help out with the living expenses.