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Christmas on the prairie


Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
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By Frances TownsendMonday, December 18, 2000

Editor’s Note: For this Christmas issue the Journal is pleased to publish a short story written by Frances Townsend of rural Preston. Frances says that she was inspired by reading a feature article in the Journal, two years ago, about the Orphan Trains, that brought East Coast orphans to homes in the Midwest during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We hope you enjoy it.

It was only two days before Christmas and most of the children at school were in high spirits. There was a Christmas program planned for the afternoon and all the parents would be there to watch. Then the winter vacation would start, with no school on Christmas Eve, and on through New Year’s. And most of all, the children were looking forward to Christmas. All except Suzette. Certainly if she weren’t in school, Klaus and Clara would find something to keep her busy. And why should she look forward to Christmas morning?

Suzette was an orphan girl from Baltimore, who had ended up out in Minnesota, in the home of Klaus and Clara Stump. Suzette’s parents had both died during a typhoid outbreak two years earlier, which left her in a home for abandoned children. After that, Suzette had prayed many nights for someone to take her home and adopt her. The girls at the orphanage would whisper stories at night to one another - stories of big, fancy houses, ponies they would have for their own, pretty dresses, everything their wonderful new parents might give them. For too many of them, all they really had to look forward to was a job sewing or housekeeping until they married, if they were lucky enough to.

In June of that year, a man had come to the orphanage with a strange new idea. He would take girls and boys and put them on a train. They would stop in the small towns of the Midwest and West and people there would come and take them home. They would have new lives in the country, where they could grow up in the healthy fresh air, away from the dismal cities of the east. Suzette wasn’t given a choice, almost everyone in the orphanage was going. But she would have gone anyway. The wonderful new parents and the house and the pony were out there somewhere, waiting.

Once the journey started, things began to feel different. At each stop, the children would get off the train and go to the town square where the local citizens were gathered. Sometimes the cutest, youngest ones were chosen, .....
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What is fair. . .?

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, December 18, 2000

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, and a changing of the guard just around the New Year corner, the Fillmore County Board dealt with the difficult issue of pay at last Tuesday’s meeting.

It is inter ..... 
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Concerns raised over highway upgrade through Preston

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, December 18, 2000

A plan to upgrade U.S. Highway 16/52 through Preston has a number of business owners concerned about the economic impact the project will have on their futures.

The project, which would upgrade Highway 52 from ..... 
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Election 2000:

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
Posted in

One for the history booksBy Al MathisonMonday, November 13, 2000

Fillmore County voters turned out in large numbers last Tuesday, November 7. The auditor’s department reported that as of 7 a.m. on Election Day there were1 ..... 
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The Getaway

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
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Monday, December 11, 2000

My wife and I like to take a short trip every year after Labor Day. We decided that this year we would return to the Black Hills and see how the work was getting on at the Crazy Horse monument, visit Mount Rushmore an ..... 
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The Gift of Life

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When the phone rang at three a.m. last Monday morning, my husband Joe sat straight up out of a deep sleep, "Baby time," he said.

With one foot on the floor, he then heard me saying, "Yes, you can dry ginger a ..... 
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One of Our Own

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When a sadistic act of violence leaves a woman dead, when a tainted piece of evidence lets her killer walk, how far would you go to see justice done? This is an excerpt from the book, A Thin Dark Line by Tami Hoag.
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The Underground

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
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Monday, November 27, 2000

Earth
Day after day
Wave after wave
Where are you going? Where are you going?
Earth wounded by so many wandering men!
Earth fertilized by the bodies of so many.
But the earth is us,
We' ..... 
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Bird Brains

Sun, Dec 17th, 2000
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Monday,December 11, 2000

While some may beg to disagree, I believe most birds are smart, real smart. Far more intelligent, in fact, than science ever gives them credit for. Unlike many ornithologists (bird scientists) who evaluate avian though ..... 
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