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Bob Lind, Published November 18 2013

Neighbors: Trip downtown helps couple make big decision

It was a Forum story about downtown Fargo that led this woman to write Neighbors about why Broadway, one day some years ago, became important to her.

The date: Aug. 9, 1945.

The people involved: Carl and Gladys Turmo of Walcott, N.D.

The impending event: The birth of the Turmos’ fourth child.

What was going on: The Turmos were in Fargo to check Gladys into St. Luke’s Hospital (now Sanford), where she would have her baby.

It was while they were driving down Broadway, headed for the hospital, that they got into a discussion about what they should name the baby.

In those days, parents didn’t know the gender of their unborn child. So they had to have names in mind for either a boy or a girl.

The Turmos hadn’t decided on a boy’s name, but the leading choice for a girl was Dorcas.

In the midst of the discussion, Gladys looked out the window on her side of the car, saw a store named “Mary Elizabeth Shop,” and thought that was a great name. “If it’s a girl, let’s name her Mary Elizabeth,” she exclaimed to her husband.

They got to the hospital. Gladys was checked in. The baby arrived. And it was a girl.

“And that’s how I got my name,” writes Mary Elizabeth (Turmo) Thompson who, with her husband, Bob Thompson, lives in Page, N.D.

Well, her namesake store is gone; the Hotel Donaldson is now located on that site. But Mary Elizabeth says she’ll never forget the name of the store that provided her name.

And she’s grateful for one other thing. She’s glad her father didn’t look out the window on his side of the car and see the store across the street from the Mary Elizabeth Shop.

It was The Store Without a Name.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com