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Karen Horsley, Fargo, Published April 23 2013

Letter: Weather column appreciated

I enjoyed Daryl Ritchison’s Weather Talk (April 19) comparing our long winter to the one in 1880 described in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “The Long Winter.”

My mother’s grandparents came to the United States from Sweden in 1880 and experienced that winter on a farm about 100 miles west of Minneapolis.

In a 1980 family centennial book, I learned they had left Varmland, Sweden, early that spring, “arriving in the port of New York on May 4 on the steamer Republic.” From there they traveled to Minnesota by train. “The first thing to do when they arrived from Sweden was to build a house. You can imagine the amount of room a family of at least eight or 10 people needed.

“When a stable was to be built, neighbors told them there was no big rush ... but they dug out a basement for the stable, and a cow, chickens and a few other animals were kept there.

“Then came Oct. 6 and with it a snowstorm, and in the morning the poor animals were almost buried in that dugout. So the animals were brought into the house and kept in the smallest bedroom.”

And so began my great-grandparents’ first winter in America, a very long winter with few of the comforts and conveniences we have had to help us cope.