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Published July 25 2013

Ninety-nine years of stories, memories

If you go

What: Book signing for “My Admissions: the First 99 Years”

When: 1 to 4 p.m. today

Where: Casselton Drug, 622 Front St., Casselton, N.D.

Info: Purchase the book at Casselton Drug or online at Amazon.

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ABSARAKA, N.D. – Anyone who has lived 99 years is bound to have a few stories to tell.

Roy Faught Jr. has a whole book’s worth.

His autobiography, “My Admissions: The First 99 Years,” came out this month. Faught wrote the book with Dawn Faught, his grandson’s wife.

Dawn recorded Roy’s stories, wrote them down, and they edited the work together.

In the book, Faught shares memories of rural life, making a living in the Depression years, his community work and people he’s known.

“People are what makes your life,” Faught said. “I could never be a hermit.”

You can’t talk about the people in Faught’s life without talking about his late wife Dacotah. In his book, Faught describes seeing her in 1932 or 1933 at the Page, N.D., school gym, where both of their teams were playing basketball.

“There, in one of the dormers, was Dacotah lying with a nose bleed … She had gotten hit in the nose,” he writes.

Despite the injury, Dacotah made an impression.

“Upon seeing her, I immediately thought, ‘I’d like to get to know this gal,’ ” Faught writes.

And he did. They began their life together in 1936 and were married for 73 years. They have three children.

“We were happy all through married life,” Faught said. “We had fun. That was the thing. We enjoyed one another.”

In his book, Faught also writes about riding horseback with friends when he was young and about his dog, Carlo. He writesabout when WDAY radio hit the airwaves and taking his winter baths in a galvanized tub in the kitchen.

Faught also recalls his trip to the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. It was the first time he saw a diesel engine.

Tough reflections

Not all of the memories Faught shares are light-hearted ones. He reflects on the death of Dacotah in 2009. He also shares events surrounding the death of his father when Roy was only 12.

“It was kind of a devastating blow, you know, at that age,” he said.

“I grew up quick.”

He fought his way through the difficulty of the 1930s. He writes that in the spring of 1934, the “wind blew every day; it blew, blew and blew. We’d get up in the morning and everything was covered with dust. It was so dark from the dust in the air, you couldn’t see the sun.”

Rural blood

Roy and Dacotah farmed and owned a store in Absaraka. They eventually moved to Montana, and then to Minneapolis where they owned a grocery business and Roy worked for the Minneapolis-Moline company.

But rural life was in their blood.

“When we left Minneapolis, my wife and I, we decided definitely that we wanted to farm, wanted to live in the country,” he said. “On a farm, you have a feeling of ownership. It’s mine.”

In 1944, he moved a home from the Golden Ridge area in Fargo all the way to Absaraka. Roy farmed and also got involved in insurance. In fact, he writes that he is “the second number in the book of agents issued in North Dakota of Nodak Mutual.”

Faught was involved in the Soil Conservation District and became involved with the Red River Valley Fair in the 1950s. Through that affiliation, he met a number of famous entertainers and can tell stories of carrying Crystal Gayle’s famously long hair to give her relief from its weight and taking Alabama’s Jeff Cook to fish.

Roy still lives on his own in the same house he moved from Fargo in 1944. He even has a book signing in Casselton today. Dawn sees the book as a way to preserve history about the family and the area. And she’s happy to share some of the wisdom of “Grandpa.”

“I mean, there’s just so many good philosophies,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734