Reminiscing on a lifetime‘Duane’s shelf” rests high on the wall of Carol Nodsle’s living room in Star Lake Township, nine miles west of Dent, Minn.
By: J. Shane Mercer,
‘Duane’s shelf” rests high on the wall of Carol Nodsle’s living room in Star Lake Township, nine miles west of Dent, Minn.
The shelf is home to Beanie Babies, a cap, a wooden cross and a button that reads “Not only am I perfect, I’m Norwegian, too!”
She still has a calendar on her wall from 2002, the year her late husband Duane died of a massive heart attack. They’re all things that remind her of him.
“Oh, yeah, I’m sentimental,” said Nodsle, 69, who saves every Christmas card sent to her. “I love to hang onto the past.”
Perhaps that commitment to keeping the past in view is most evident in her scrapbook craft.
Since the mid-1950s, she’s hung on to area newspaper clips of people with whom she has a connection – perhaps someone she knows or the family member of a friend.
In the process, she has accumulated 66 scrapbooks containing 7,328 pages.
Things started off with a clip about her boyfriend who was heading off to the Air Force. That’s when she said she got serious about scrapbooking.
Since then, she’s collected feature stories about people in the area, school pictures of students with whom she has some connection, obituaries, announcements, coverage of the strike at the turkey plant where she worked.
The list goes on.
She said she got her interest in people from her dad. Nodsle remembers that he would stop and talk to people on the street, and when his children would ask who it was, he’d say he didn’t know them.
“My dad was very much into people,” Nodsle said. “He had to know about them.
“To him, no one was a stranger.”
She got her clipping itch from her mom, who also used to save various items and did a little scrapbooking, though “nothing like this.”
Perhaps it’s a combination of all those years she and Duane worked a dairy farm, that frugal Norwegian ethic that hangs thick in the northern Minnesota air and the influence of the Great Depression that makes Nodsle such a saver.
“If I had my way, there would never be anything thrown away that was worth keeping,” she said
“I jokingly say I was born in the Depression, and everything means something to me,” she said.
She does a good job keeping up with the work and getting the clips in the albums. But at one time, while working at an area turkey plant and on the farm, she got four years behind and “considered throwing it all.”
But in November 1990, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I took it upon myself with the strength I had to get caught up on my clippings,” Nodsle said. “And the good Lord saw me through a mess of clippings, and here I stand 17 years later cancer-free.”
She said the work gave her something to think about besides cancer.
“It gave me a reason to keep going,” she said.
Along with “Duane’s shelf,” pictures – old and new – of her two children and her grandchildren grace the living room of Nodsle’s home. She sometimes sits there and leafs through the books she’s made.
Nodsle said she loves to hang on to the past.
Maybe, in part, what she means is she loves to hang on to people.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734 Reminiscing on a lifetime J. Shane Mercer 20071214