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Culture Shock

In Gary’s Storiesby Gary

CULTURE SHOCK My cousin Marilynn and I lost our spouses eleven months apart.  Between those deaths she had lost her father who was a mentor to me.  We teamed up to recover from the grief.  We talked a lot.  We spent some weekends together.  We vacationed in the Wisconsin north woods together.  She became the sister that I never had …

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Shade Tree Stories

In Farm Storiesby Gary

Preface My memories of baling hay during Iowa’s hot and humid summertime of the 1950s. Shade Tree Stories The cool shade of a big tree brings joy to young and old.  The shade was a joyous location after a humid afternoon of baling hay in the hot Iowa summertime.  I hold fond memories of those days in my youth; days …

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Fritz’s Youth

In Farm Storiesby Gary

Fritz’s Youth This story was written in 1995 by my father, Galen “Fritz” Stratton.  It was typed on his typewriter.  After high school, Dad worked as a typist for Donnally’s in Nevada, Iowa for a while before he started farming with his dad.  Dad thought it was the end of the world when they quit making typewriter ribbons.  My daughter …

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Light, Dammit, Light

In Farm Storiesby Gary

Preface: Tending livestock on an Iowa farm during the winters of the 1950s was an arduous and monotonous task.  These are my memories of tending to water tank heaters for the hogs and cattle.   Light, Dammit, Light I was a farm kid in central Iowa during the 1950s; the ‘50s when we had real winter. Snow so deep it was up to …

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Farm Aromas and Sounds

In Farm Storiesby Gary

Preface: The aromas and sounds experienced by farm kids in our youth of the 1950s and 1960s will live in our memories forever.  With work, a few can still be found but many have faded into history.  This story will energize your memories of the greatest time in our lives. Farm Aromas and Sounds  During my youth, the aromas and …

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The Purse

In Gary’s Storiesby Gary

Preface: The Holy Spirit brings people into your life for a reason, and this is one of those stories.  A story about a chance encounter of two strangers; one departing without knowing what happened; and one departing with a lifestyle change; and neither knowing the name of the other. The Purse Most men, if they’ve been married more than 30 …

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The Handshake

In Gary’s Storiesby Gary

Preface: Everyone has moments in their lives that remain vivid in their memory.  This story is one of my moments.  You might need kleenex; I still do. The Hand Shake  In August of 2004 Maxine and I went to Chicago to attend a wedding. We decided to take a few days for vacation and continue DePere, WI to see my …

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The Bond Strengthens

In Gary’s Storiesby Gary

Preface: This story, written in 2006, is about the journey of two very independent people working to recover after the death of their spouses.  Both strongly believed you must get back up after you get knocked down but this time they couldn’t do it by themselves. The Bond Strengthens The 21st Century had been tough on cousin’s Gary and Marilynn.  …

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Grandpa Gary’s Ethical Will

In Ethical Willby Gary

Preface: In an ethical will you describe your values and philosophies to your grandkids.  You give them the will when you are still alive and I did that for Christmas 2009.  My paternal grandfather died before I was born and I didn’t have a close relationship with my maternal grandfather.  Modern families are spread out across the U.S.A. and we …

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The Crib

In Farm Storiesby Gary

Preface: This is a story about my father’s family improvising, adapting, and overcoming a situation on the farm.  It is not untypical of the people of their generation.  Their work ethic, family values, and the ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome are the traits that gave them the distinction of the Greatest Generation and they passed that heritage to my …