John and Mary (Storandt) family
(Donald's paternal uncle and aunt)
Top left: John and Mary (Storandt) Johnson (wedding photo, no date). John and Mary's children: Percey Frank, born 1906; Malinda Helen, born 1910.
Top right and bottom left: Percey and Malinda Johnson [Gunderson].
Bottom right: Feeding the chickens on George and Mary Johnson's farm, near Mindoro, Wisconsin. From left, Malinda, Percey and Aunt Mary. The strawberry bed here grew on a cliff so steep they could pick berries standing up.
Ardelle Johnson Blazeski remembered that her "Aunt Mary always had lots of chickens. She always baked a coffee cake and a layer cake on Saturday for any company that dropped in." Mary spoke German and Ardelle's mother, Nina, spoke Norwegian and "they had the best conversations!" Uncle John, she recalls, wouldn't change overalls for company, but he had new ones and would show them to people so they would know he wasn't so poor. He had pen knives and liked to trade with men and tried to get the best of the deal."
"John Johnson...worked for a big farmer in the Mindoro district. Salem is a town seven miles [east of] LaCrosse, and Mindoro is about 12 miles north of that. John married the farmer's daughter." (Excerpt from Carl Borreson's recollection of Lars and Inga Johnson Borreson's history.)
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"John married a German girl and lived in a valley near Mindoro, Wisconsin. The valley was narrow with a creek running through it and the road went between the barn and the house." [2.3-6]
"The place I liked best [when Donald visited Wisconsin in 1921] was Uncle John's in Wisconsin. My cousin Percey, who was nearly grown, lived there. He ... would let me go along to do chores, feeding the pigs out of the slop barrel, etc.
"They had a strawberry bed about 50 feet from the back of the house and the hill to get to it was so steep that the chickens wouldn't even walk up there (probably didn't even know about it). They had chickens and ducks and turkeys and things that came right up to the kitchen door. [2.62-7]
"We had been there once before, when I was too young to remember it. One of the kids' diversions was to take a stick and tie a string to it and tie the other end to a kernel of corn. They would stand on the steps and 'fish' for ducks and chickens. They said the cousins let me try it and I got so excited I hit a duck on the head with the stick and killed it." [2.63-1]