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She and I were not only sisters but best friends, sharing our memorable childhood in the Christian home which our parents provided for us…We lived on a 160-acre farm two-and-a-half miles north of Ridgeway which had been a Melaas farm for years.“We had a large white house and a large red barn, a granary, two corn cribs, a separate hog house and a machine shed built by my grandfather, Hans Melaas.
The machine shed sheltered our Model-T Ford passenger car. The barn is put together with wooden pegs and stands to this day in perfect condition, even standing up under tons and tons of baled hay, which is much heavier than loose hay which it was built to hold.”She continued, “The granary, corn crib and hen house have long been gone, replaced by modern sheds and corn storage bins and silos.
Marlys has lived through many historical touchstones: When she was born in 1917, women did not yet have the right to vote, Albert Einstein published his first paper on cosmology, Babe Ruth was in his fourth year with The Boston Red Sox, the end of World War I was still one year away and Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States.“I was born May 7, 1917, in Winneshiek County, Iowa,” she wrote.
“I have no knowledge of where, if it was at home or in a hospital.
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My uncle Albert Fulsaas, came to the rescue and swore that I was born and am Marlys Melaas.”In her memoir, she writes, “I thought my childhood was perfect.
In 1920, my younger sister, Ila, and only sibling was born.
“There was no Sunday school, but we had six weeks of parochial school in the summer where we memorized the catechism, hymns, explanation to the catechism and Bibles. I learned all of this in Norwegian.“When I started school, I could talk very little English, as we talked Norwegian at home,” Marlys wrote. Ila and I were lucky, as we lived only a quarter of a mile from the school house.
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