Hardison Ranch - Flume Gulch, Montana
1940-1949
(Where I grew up)

Mom dug out some old pictures May 21, 1999, before we went over to Butte for the 90th birthday the 22nd of one of our down the gulch ranch neighbors, Edna Casagranda. Edna made sure that this youngster and my sisters Tinka and Nancy had enough peanut butter, honey, homemade bread and cookies after school, 55 or so years ago, fuel enough to make the 4 mile slog up the gulch, sometimes through 2-3 feet of snow and -40 degree temperatures, to our ranch. Many times she tended us until Dad or someone came for us. The Casagranda Ranch was just a 1/4 mile up from the one room Meadow Gulch School. Edna is still as sharp and active and loving today as she was then..

Montana Standard Newspaper Clipping, May 22, 1999

Babe Bazzanella, the next neighbor up the road was at the party, she too is in her high 80s. On the coldest days we would stop at Babe's too, to warm up and listen to her canaries.. and on hot days we could count on Babe for cold lemonade... After Babe's it was a 3 mile slog up Flume Gulch to the ranch. Flume Gulch was just wide enough for the creek and the one lane road, and sometimes only wide enough for the creek. Strangest thing, a gal was at the party, and I knew I knew her, but she was at least 30 years too young. She was Babe's granddaughter and looks just like Babe did when I was a kid.

I found that of the 12 ranch kids that went to Meadow Gulch School, 11 of us are still alive and doing well. Louetta Pene, Sharon Pene, Ray Casagranda, and I were at the party, and we are still as handsome and beautiful now as we were then. Louetta was my flame in the 3rd grade, but of course at the age of 9, I couldn't tell her that, because she was an older woman, 3 or 4 months older than me..

While Mom was traipsing around town prior to the party, having a grand time talking with all her old friends, I stayed out at my grandniece Hosanna and her husband John's ranch south of Butte, helping John unload 120 tons of hay. It was terrible hard work, leaning on the gate supervising. We stayed Friday night with John's parents on the ranch. John fed the cattle for the last time this spring the day before we arrived. It has been a cold spring and the grass has not grown much.

Hardison Ranch - Flume Gulch, Montana,
May, 1941

Hardison Ranch - Flume Gulch, Montana,
In the center of an ancient caldera.
The Knoll, the central cinder cone, my special place, is on the right.
Winter, 1941

My cousin Jimmy Stalnaker and me on top of the old haywagon
Sisters Tinka and Nancy and pooch under slide
Spring, 1942

Myself and cousin Ray Kruger and Midnight
In my sulky, Summer 1944
I got the sailor hat from my first "hero", Nick Semanchick.
Dad had helped him out on his way from Minersvile, PA
to San Francisco for Navy Frog-Man training. Nick was on his way
back to report to the Pacific Fleet when he gave the hat to me.
It was my pride and joy for about two more years, inseparable,
wearing it to a a frazzle.
[Note: May 8, 2000 -- Mom located Nick's phone number, called him
and they had a good talk. He is still in Minersville, 84 and doing well.]
[Note: Dec 16,2006 I received word from Nick's son Bart
that Nick has passed on at age 89.]

My first calf, Josephine,
Spring, 1941

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Created May 23, 1999

Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and Growing up