Orpah Rodvold Unger - nee Orpah Elsie Rodvold

Born: 11 January 1916, Lake Preston, SD
Married: February 1933 (?), MO (?)
Died: 2 August 1979, Lead, SD


My name is Orpah and I am the eighth child, fifth daughter of Peder and Kari Rodvold.

I suppose memories of my childhood really begin when we lived on the Jarman place, east of Lake Preston. These were happy times for me. My first recollection is of arriving at this farm in a horse and buggy driven by mom. I remember that on the way I had wet my black bloomers so the first thing I did was to run into the house. I found a closet, took off my bloomers and hung them on the inside door knob to dry.

I loved the Jarman farm with it's big house and many groves, the apple orchard and plum trees. So many places to play! Dad let us have an old horse named Lady to ride and we would ride her in the orchard picking up "passengers" from tree to tree. Old Lady was really patient with us, with sometimes as many as 3 or 4 of us on her back.

School days began too at this time. I remember that big sis Agnes took charge of Lil and I on our first day of school. We were so scared, we hid behind Aggie when she took us up to meet our first teacher. I believe that was Eunice Morgan. Our first eight years of school were spent in that same little schoolhouse. We had many different teachers, one of my favorites being Glenora Thoreson. We always walked to school as it was only 80 rods. One bad part of that was that the Blow family just east of us, had a mean old bull in a pasture right next to the road and we were always afraid to wear anything Red for fear he would attack us.

Summertime on the Jarman place was always full of fun. We would build roads in the grove (even making roads with a big "dip" in them like the street in De Smet). We made our own little wagons and carts to push each other over the roads. We also had what we called the "iron pile" which was where all cans and broken things were thrown. From this pile we gathered many things for our playhouse and we really had quite the houses. But summertime meant some work too. We kids would clean out the barn, spread manure out in the pasture, go fetch the cows and many days were spent knocking potato bugs into a can containing kerosene. When threshing time rolled around we kids liked that because we got to do a lot of things when Dad was gone to help neighbors - like hooking up a horse to the old stoneboat and hauling things around. And when the threshing crew came to our place it was fun, and lots of good food to fix and eat.

Mom churned lots of butter and had town customers. Many times Lil and I got to hitch up the buggy and go to town and deliver the crocks of butter. We enjoyed that, because most of the ladies we delivered to would give us an extra nickel and we would go and get an ice cream cone or a couple of suckers, all day ones, two for a nickel. We would really hoard those suckers - taking a couple of licks and then re-wrap them for future enjoyment.

Our Christmas's were simple but enjoyable with lots of good things to eat. Our tree had real candles so we were only allowed to light them for a little while each night. On Christmas Eve we always enjoyed going to the church program, where we also got our bag of candy and nuts.

Many times at night we were left home alone while Mom and Dad went visiting. We had many games that we played to pass the time. I remember that one of them was called "Preacher", one of us was the preacher and we all had to sit perfectly still and quiet and anyone that made a noise had to be sent into the dark pantry. I think we played that game so we could hear any outside noise. Our winter time fun included sliding down hay and straw stacks on scoop shovels (a wonder we didn't kill ourselves) and playing in the hay mow in the barn. We would also slide down the cob pile, which was a lot of fun. I guess Lil and my favorite little friend was Charlotte Boe. What we didn't think up to do. We had some contests!

So passed my childhood and soon Lil and I were ready for high school. That was quite a terrifying experience. Lil, Phil and I walked the two and a half miles to school most every day. One day it was 28 degrees below and we were almost frozen stiff by the time we got to school. We knew very few of the "town kids" except For a special friend, Elaine Larson and a few others. But all went well. Then as we were to begin our sophomore year the folks decided to leave the Jarman farm and moved to a farm up north of De Smet. So I went to work for my room and board - for a Jewish family, the Mandelstoms, who ran a store in Lake Preston. But before many months had passed they sold the store and moved away, leaving me without a place to stay. So my sis Bern, who lived in Watertown and just had a new baby (Lonnie), let me come and live with them for the school year. I enjoyed that year of school in Watertown and made many new friends. Then back to Lake Preston for my junior and senior years, my junior year working for my room and board at Melvin Larsons and my senior year staying at home since the folks had moved to a farm just three miles north of Lake Preston.

So then followed high school graduation, marriage and children. But I will always remember my happy childhood years on the Jarman farm.

Floyd and I had been Married forty-three years when he passed away in April of 1976. We had two children. A son, Bruce, and a daughter Kay. Both are married. We have three grandchildren, Pam, Kristi and Brad Jacobsen.

Orpah Rodvold Unger


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