March 2021

Dear Family and Friends,

My daughters, Cindy and Jean, are helping me curate some of the stories and memories that have shaped my life. Because my hands and fingers are too gnarled and stiff, I am unable to use a keyboard. So, instead, Jean and Cindy are collaborating to help write my stories.

Isolating during COVID in a care facility was extremely lonely. My kids and grandkids kept in touch with me by phone and Zoom, but I miss seeing my family and friends. Working on this family history project with Jean and Cindy helped me cope. I never tire of reminiscing about my life stories.

Cindy visits me at my window. We talk by phone while looking at each other through the glass. I enjoy her updates about friends and family and chatting about my online memoirs. Cindy (or sometimes John) takes me to essential medical appointments—the only times that I can leave Brookdale Assisted Living. She brings my beloved (and spoiled) dog, Mittsi, which makes me very happy. Cindy prolongs my outings with a scenic drive along the river. These escapes are pleasant, but it’s always hard to go back.

 

Saturday, August 13

Lois passed away on August 6, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. In honor of her life, we are making her stories accessible to anyone who is interested in reading and sharing them. You do not need to register. If you have any problems accessing the stories email: jean@storlietelling.com.

I Don’t Care What that “Jack Storlie” Says

By Jean Storlie / March 19, 2021 /

Jack Storlie worked in a gas station where Clarence and his buddies liked to hang out. Clarence would come home and carry-on about all the jokes that Jack told. He hero worshipped Jack, and it was so annoying … I’d roll my eyes and say, “I don’t care what that Jack Storlie says. It’s not…

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Town and Country Cousins Form a Gang

By Jean Storlie / March 19, 2021 /

My mom’s sister, Aunt Nora, lived in town. She married a police officer, Emil Johnson and had four kids: Marlys, Leone (Onie), Janet, and Roger. Mom dropped Clarence and me off there when she ran errands in town. Marlys was close in age to me and Onie was a few years younger. We’d all charge…

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Graduation and Working in the Bank

By Jean Storlie / March 19, 2021 /

Around the time I graduated from high school (1945), I started working at the bank. The owner of the dime store didn’t want me to leave, but I was enticed with better pay. Plus, I loved working with money! Counting money and making sure that everything balanced felt like very important work. I started out…

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Tying the Knot

By Jean Storlie / March 19, 2021 /

After the war ended, Jack spent two years in San Francisco helping to decommission ships to complete his deployment. In our letters, we wrote to each other about our hopes and dreams for a future together. Soon after he returned from the Navy, we got engaged. Cindy found this letter recently. I’ve completely forgotten about…

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Forging Our Life Together

By Jean Storlie / March 19, 2021 /

Jack and I were giddy with excitement about buying our first house in Eau Claire—with financing from the bank where I worked. My parents, Mimmi, Helen, and Jake helped us move in and furnish our house. This cute little bungalow on Crescent Avenue was close to our jobs. We quickly settled into married life. Between…

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Meeting the Stewarts

By Jean Storlie / March 20, 2021 /

On my first day in Spooner, Jack dashed out the door with excitement to get to his classroom. I stood there alone, looking around our apartment … the bare walls … unfamiliar views out the window … stacks of unpacked boxes. Suddenly, everything felt strange and I missed our cute bungalow in Eau Claire. Thinking…

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Learning the Ropes of Motherhood from Babe

By Jean Storlie / March 20, 2021 /

In November, Babe gave birth to their son, who they named William Wallace Stewart III, but called Billy. Our first daughter, Cindy was born on Mother’s Day in May 1954. Her arrival four weeks before her due date caught us completely off guard. Not only didn’t we have necessities like diapers, but we weren’t even…

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Lake Life in Northern Wisconsin

By Jean Storlie / March 20, 2021 /

During the summers, Jack worked for the Highway Commission surveying the highway projects in northern Wisconsin. Stewart’s had a cabin on the Middle Eau Claire Lake, about an hour away from Spooner. They’d invite us to join them and we had so much fun. We hung out all day on the beach. Jack tossed the…

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Move to Madison … And Back

By Jean Storlie / March 20, 2021 /

After a couple of years in Spooner, Jack received a scholarship from UW-Madison and leave-of-absence from Spooner High School to pursue his master’s degree in chemistry. Cindy was 3, Jean barely a year, and I was pregnant with Barb. We moved into a large graduate student housing complex of brick apartment buildings and started over…

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Tin Hut at University of Iowa

By Jean Storlie / March 20, 2021 /

In the summer of 1960 (at the end of his first year of teaching at UW-L), Jack received a research fellowship at the University of Iowa through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Instead of spending our summer frolicking with the Stewarts on Middle Eau Claire Lake, we found ourselves crammed into married student housing on…

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