Ron Bergerson: Strum As I Remember It

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This is a short story and account by me, Ron Bergerson,  about Strum as I remember it from my late grade school days to age 18 (about 1948-1954). My uncle, Java Bergerson, edited this account for accuracy.

Starting at the north end of the community there was Erling Nymoís Standard Station with 3 pumps, Red Crown, Blue Crown and White Crown gas.  Oil was dispensed by cranking it into a large bottle with a long metal spout at one end and decanting that into the car.  There was an oil change pit about 4 feet into the ground and located at the southwest exit of the station. A large cobblestone fireplace among a few pines and a triangular patch of lawn was on the west side.  The air hose was on that corner.  The building itself was rather unique in that it had a slight concave roof with the lower structure of stucco. A service shop with hoist was later added to the back.  A hedge marked the north and west sides of the property.  Erling always went home for lunch and had a nap.  A Quaker Oil sign stood between the pumps and the highway but canít remember if it was on the north or south side of the small ditch.

Moving across the river and moving south along the west side of main street, there was Milford Johnsonís garage and right next to it was Tommy Leeís 66 Service Station  which had a roof over the pumps.  This station was previously run by an Olson, who had two daughters, Shirley and Neva.  Shirley was in my class.  I recall they didnít stay in Strum long. 

Next was Weddingís Electric and next to that was the Town of Unityís garage.  Then Leland Hogueís Barbershop, Strandís Funeral Home, above lived the Thompson family. 

Across the road, Elvin Strandís Hardware, and as I entered High School, Leon Mitchell lived above the store.  Next was the Post Office, Clarence Call, Ralph Lyons, Hansel Jacobson and occasionally, Odell Bergerson worked there.  I believe there was a previous mail carrier before Hansel, Putt Davis. Next door was the central office with Clarence Thomley and Olga Call. 

Then an empty expanse which contained a road running west through the block and behind the local businesses.  Midway through this block was an old building where a man named Burnt Svendson lived with his dog. 

Continuing south, we had Robbeís store with an apartment above, which housed differently families, one which I knew was the Tetznerís, the HS coach.  There was someone else there before but I canít remember who.  A narrow alley ran between Robbeís wall and Clynt Olsonís tavern. Ray Weir from Independence, owned it for a time.  The tavern shared its south wall with Halversonís Drug store where Ted held court for so many years.  He stitched up my nose when the doc. wasnít in.  The Drug Store shared its south wall with the bank, run then by Gen. Strand. 
Then another alley and Mathisonís General Store, which had a hat and needle section which I believe Kristophine Rekstad ran.  A large sliding door separated Mathisonís from Hans Jacobsonís hardware store.  Then came a street and on the west end of the block was the Knutson Blacksmith Shop.  Across from that was the Farmerís Union Station and next to that was Fred Williamsoní Standard Oil tanks. 

Back on main street and across from Jacobsonís Hardware Store was Gordon Jacobsonís tavern., I believe this at one time may have been George Olsonís tavern.  A narrow alley and then George Petersonís Ford garage with a large back service area that had a couple of old Fordís stored there.  Stan Hanson and Tom Olson were there after Fenske took over.  Then came the railroad tracks and the O & N lumber yard.  This was managed by a Jacobson I think, then by a man I believe was from Owen, WI.  I remember Mike Olson and I went in there and pretended to mix up his nails in these open boxes.  He chased us out of the building but by the time we got to the Ford garage he ran out of steam or else he didnít want to be seen by other business men how he handled customers. 

Then there was a dirt road which had s metal gate by the side walk.  Driving down this road you came to the pickle factory at the rear of the lumber yard.  August Peterson was in charge.  Later a Johnson, brother-in-law to Albert Skoug, built a cement block factory.  He had a son, Lavern.  They didnít stay long.

Back at the gate, a small building was Marie Nysvenís Millinery Shop. She lived there.   Then a white house with a hedge around the yard.  The name of the people living there at the time escapes me.  Then there was Thompsonís Black Smith shop and next to that was the town hall.  J.B. Rottner and players used to stage plays here for a couple of years.  Roller skating and basketball was played here.  I donítí know if it even had running water.  They also showed movies here as there was a projection booth on the east end of the building.
Strum, As I Remember It (About 1948 to 1954)
by Ron Bergerson
January 7, 2008