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A few minutes with Grace Steinkraus

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Grace Steinkraus was born in Boyd, Minn., to Adolph and Adda Hillig. When she was born is not one of the things you need to know. Her father was a farmer. From Boyd, they moved to Tinta and then to Wadena.

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Grace was a good housekeeper so she always had a job. She kept house for the Alfred Anderson and Bernie Birch families in Wadena among many others.

Grace and Robert Steinkraus were married in 1941 and they have two boys and one girl. Robert was a carpenter for Merickels. Grace kept busy with her big house and garden. She did many things instead of hiring them done. She even cut hair. She is an accomplished seamstress.

Grace has firm ideas about things that are important. For instance, television has all but ruined children. It should not be used as a babysitter. There is too much violence. And that old devil is to blame. He is right in there working in a million places where he can make trouble. The Steinkraus kids were not led astray by television. They did not have one.

There was a time Wadena was a quiet town. Nobody had to even lock the door. The tune has sure changed -- now padlocks can be sawed off in a minute.

Stuff really hit the fan when World War II started. That's when women went to work, had their own money for the first time in history, and kids were left to their own devices.

There was the year Robert decided they should learn to dance. It looked fun and he liked the music. They took lessons in Wadena from a teacher who came from Moorhead. They danced, sometimes twice a week, from then on. Grace has to admit that Robert was a good dancer. The two-step was Grace's favorite.

Grace didn't dance for a while after Robert died. Then, blame it all anyhow, she felt like dancing again. Her new partner is a fellow from Hewitt named Jerry. He is also a good dancer, even when a waltz ends with him doing a two-step.

Right now the poor fellow is in a nursing home. She fears his dancing days are over. Their favorite bands were Jerry's Band in Wadena and the Eckert boys band.

Grace is on a walker, but when she gets rid of it you will find her back on a dance floor somewhere, providing her guy is up to it.

Graces's house is proof positive of her belief that pretty things should be put up and enjoyed, not stuffed away. The walls in her house, in the windows and hanging from the lights, are pretty things she likes to look at. Many things have been picked up at garage sales after somebody else got tired of dusting them.

Grace paints a vivid picture of the storm. She was smack dab in the middle of it. In fact, a big picture window was blown in on her. The window that blew in on her was the only one that didn't shatter, which would have been worse.

Grace was taken via a Fergus Falls ambulance, along with several other survivors, to a shelter. She has only been back a few days. Grace is satisfied by the way her insurance company handled her loss and is enjoying her new furniture.

Grace has never been bored in her life. How could she, what with all the stuff around to remind her of many happy times?

She is also thankful the storm hit the south side of her house and only took some of her furniture instead of the north side when it would have blown her clothes all over town. She would hate to have to replace her long skirts.

Now, while we have talked of many things we haven't even touched on Grace's passion. Newborn babies are Grace's passion. She has a special way with them they seem to respond to. She said they know when they are loved.

Grace had room for three newborns. She had one little fellow from newborn until he was 5 years old.

Grace has been a great story teller about everything but her age, and we still don't have to know that.

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