Melvina Peterson

Mrs. Peterson said that everything was about the same until WWII when the men went to war and women went to work.  She remembers rationing; they rationed sugar, shoes, and coffee, amongst other things.  There was a civil defense plant in Wyoming.

Her Dad fixed their shoes when they were young – this was common practice; there was not much money when she was young.

She worked picking pickles at Bill Peterson’s place (now the Stacy Ponds Business Park 2013). She was paid 50 cents for 100 pounds.  Her sister also picked pickles; they used the money to purchase winter clothing.

She said that Mr. Patak was a really nice man and one Christmas his wife made stockings for her and her siblings, five in total.

In the below picture is Mr. Patak and James Moore Sr., this was Melvina’s grandfather.  The Town of Lent was named after his mother’s family – her name was Katherine Lent.

It was a big excitement in the Spring when the baby chicks came by train.  Her Dad ordered them from Montgomery Wards and they were delivered by train in a crate of about 100.  The chicks were kept upstairs in their home until it was warm enough to put them outside.

Melvina’s mom, Helen Peterson, made pies for the Rustic Inn for many years, well into her old age.

By the Lent cemetery there is a farm kitty-corner that was a stopping point for the cattle drive, taking cattle to New Brighton.

The Methodist Church was moved to Linwood and became a free church. 

The dance hall was a fund place on Saturday nights, it was alcohol fee but drinking took place outside.

Melvina said that her great-grandfather moved a log cabin over by Sis Frenning’s place (311th Street in 2013); which a portion still stands today.

The Rustic Inn started as a bar and motel, there were four little cabins, Melvina said she didn’t see how even a bed would fit in them.

Shirley Anderson was present for this interview; she moved here in 1949.

I asked both ladies if they stayed home with their children or if they worked; they both worked some.

Shirley stayed home with her six kids and in later years worked part-time at the birdseed store.  She also said she worked in a store in Wyoming prior to her marriage where she dreaded cutting liver and chopping bricks of ice from ice house.

Melvina went to work when her daughter entered high school, she was living on the East Side of St. Paul at that time and moved back up here when her husband passed away.

Melvina also worked as a Nanny for a doctor in St. Paul over a summer in her younger days.

We talked about how hard it was for them not having running water, indoor plumbing or the conveniences of today.

We talked about how strong women are emotionally and physically.

My visit with these ladies was truly priceless and enjoyable (interview taken by Sharon Payne).