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Days at the Sebeka Cafe

Today I met Helen Torkkala who was born in Meadow Township near Sebeka in 1912 to Andrew and Jenny. She attended high school in Sebeka.

Helen married Edwin Johnson. He died of rheumatic fever three days after their daughter was born. Those were dark days for Helen.

Several years later, Helen married Norman Arlidsen, a plumber and driller of wells. Norman and his brother had big well-drilling equipment. They provided people in a wide area around Sebeka with a plentiful water supply.

While Norman dug wells, Helen had no problem keeping busy. They had five children and she worked for the Chippewa National Forest, setting out seedlings.

Norman and Helen bought the Sebeka Cafe, where Helen had worked as a waitress. They sold it in 1950. Helen also was employed by the Town and Country Restaurant and several other places.

Somehow, Helen found time to serve as site person for community issues when they came up, along with actively serving in her church.

The First National Bank in Sebeka, under the guidance of banker Ted Tebbins, was the only bank in a wide area that was not forced to close its doors in the big depression.

The Arildsens enjoyed travel, which took them to Germany, Finland, and Norway. On another trip they toured the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Helen even visited the North Pole.

Each one of Helen's children and grandchildren have a beautiful afghan along with other items of her handiwork. She also liked to crochet.

Now, Helen is decked for a time. However, her mind soars back to the many trips she took with Norman to happier places in a better clime.

I have no problem relating to the girl in the news a week ago who sneezed most of one day. A number of years ago I sneezed twice each minute from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. that evening. Not little sniffs, but hard, wrenching sneezes that twisted my middle in knots each time.

By that evening, my eyes were nearly puffed shut, I was exhausted, and almost in tears. None of the home remedies helped.

Finally, in the doctor's office, I was given a shot that stopped the sneezing. When the doctor wanted to know what I had eaten the meal before I started to sneeze, I named potato salad, cheese sandwiches, bologna ...

He said, "Stop. How was the bologna fixed?"

It was cut in chunks and put on the table cold, right out of the delicatessen. At our house, the few times we ate bologna, we fried or broiled the daylights out of it, but I was eating at a friend's house and they all chomped several pieces down.

None of them sneezed even once, wouldn't you know it?