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Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society: Stories of Pequot and a doll named Susan

Kathleen McAllister Tusa, Pequot Lakes, has had this doll, Susan, since winning it in the mid-1950s. Submitted Photo

My parents lived in Pine River in 1944 and I was born in the Brainerd hospital. Then there was a period when we lived in Nebraska. It wasn't until 1949-50 that we moved to Pequot.

My mom worked for Arvig Telephone Company as a switchboard operator and my dad worked for Oscar Gravdahl at the gas station and then he too worked for Arvig as a lineman/installer.

We lived in the basement apartment in the phone company building. After a few years my folks bought the Derksen house and my life as a former kid began.

At our 50-year class reunion we were asked to write up memories of our school days and childhood, and I said growing up in Pequot was like growing up in a Norman Rockwell painting, and I stick with that analogy. The '50s was a great time to be a kid.

One special winter afternoon in about 1954 or '55, the Commercial Club sponsored some races at the skating rink by the old fire station. What a great place. The warming house had a barrel stove where you could dry your mittens and warm your frozen toes, and all the kids in town skated there.

Races were set up in age groups, and I don't remember a thing about any race except the one I was in.

There were three little girls participating - Jane Ann Knutson, Glenda Gravdahl and me, Kathleen McAllister. Jane Ann was a year younger. She skated well but not fast. My friend Glenda skated very well and fast. I skated OK and sort of fast.

We left Jane Ann far behind. I skated as hard and fast as I could and wasn't too far behind Glenda. We were approaching the finish line ... I was going to lose again. And then, she fell. Glenda, the best skater, fell!

I managed to stay upright and cross the finish line first. I was so excited because the prize was going to be a beautiful red-haired doll! I wanted her so badly because my mom had been hinting that I was getting a little too old for dolls. I named her Susan and she still lives with me.

I'm thinking one of these days she should move to the Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society Museum in the Cole Memorial Building, but she's only 65 years old, so maybe not quite yet.

To the community of Pequot Lakes - thanks for the memories.