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Arvilla Brill and the cabinet maker

Photo provided Arvilla and Curtis Brill.

Arvilla Brill is my neighbor in the Fair Oaks Apartments when she is not taking a rest in Fair Oaks Lodge. She was born in 1929 to Thomas (Tom) and Alice Warner in Clarissa. She had one sister and one brother.

The family was advised by a doctor to move to a drier, warmer climate for Alice's health. They moved to Phoenix, Ariz. Arvilla intended to be a teacher, then the requirements changed and instead of going to two years of normal school, teachers had to have four years. Her mother needed more care and Arvilla stayed home until her mother died. Tom had found work as a night watchman.

After her mother's death, Arvilla returned to this area, where she met and married Curtis Brill who worked for Delbert Crooker, a cattle buyer. Curt soon bought a farm of his own the area. They have one daughter.

Although he never went to school to learn cabinet making, Curt proved to be a pro at cabinetry. He partitioned off part of the milk room in the barn for his shop. All Curt needed to make an item was a picture of it.

Curt made children's toys, many stands, cupboards of different sizes, doll furniture for his daughter and much more. He made custom pieces when someone asked for something special. Arvilla's favorite piece was a clever spice cabinet.

The Brills weren't one of the families who let farming deny them of short vacations and fishing trips several times each summer. He thinks crops can be planned to give a break between seasons. He admits raising beef cattle instead of dairy stock was a step in the right direction.

Interesting sidelights might be the time a violent little summer storm came over the lake, chasing them to shore on the Canadian side in a hurry.

A million farmers or more can attest that the first time juice came through wires to light up farm buildings to provide power was a memorable happening never forgotten by those who lived it, thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Rural Electrification Administration Act in 1935.

At the Brills the occasion was recognized by watching a new toaster light up. At our house, having been informed the power would be thrown at a certain time, we turned all the light switches in the house to on, then joining hands, the five of us stood in a circle under what we considered to be a fancy kitchen fixture. When it lit up we all screamed and the dog barked. We had moved a year earlier from a place with electricity.

Arvilla tells me that she is ready to come back to her apartment as soon as she gets the word and we are also looking forward to that time.

Have I told you how prettily Fair Oaks Lodge, the Loft Apartments, and Fair Oaks Apartments are decorated?