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Norma fell in love with family

Photo provided With her family: shown are (back, l-r) David, Linda, Anthony; (front) Mary Jo, Norma and Barbara, in a photo taken Oct. 9, 2010. Michael, from California, could not be in attendance for the photo.

Now, are you ready to hear about a young woman who traded a career she enjoyed to marry a widower with 6 children between the ages of 2 and 10? Stay tuned.

Norma Johnson was born in Sycamore, Ill., in 1921, to Albert William (A. W.) and Hazel Johnson. She graduated from high school there and worked at her first employment.

After a time Norma gravitated to Wadena where she worked as a secretary to Gus Peterson of Peterson & Biddick for the next many years, until she met and married Andrew Tigges in 1958. Andrew drove a truck for Swift & Company and also for Huber Motors. She also worked 10 years for Roger Folkestad. Norma recalled, "my bosses were all nice men."

As Norma looked back, she recalled falling into step with this young family as the most natural thing in the world. We sort of fell in love with each other and never got back out, Norma said. What with birthdays, confirmations and graduations all duly celebrated, the years piled up fast. Andrew died in 2003.

Norma sewed for her family. One year she had a picture of their mother enlarged and framed for each one. She parceled out jobs that had to be done and everyone helped. Since everyone was healthy, staying well was no problem. While there were no long vacations, there were many short ones.

We spoke of the time a new car could be bought from four different dealers, and good dresses from four shops. Norma is glad she could raise her family in times when jobs could be found.

Six loving and supportive families are proof positive that Norma made the right choices. She has every intention of hanging in there until her 90th birthday in a few months, plus a whole lot longer.

I am pleased to claim Norma as my neighbor here at Fair Oaks Apartments.

This was an interesting week at Fair Oaks Lodge, with the luau party on Friday a grand success. At 10 a.m. Lisa and her crew set the stage by putting up wall-sized sheets of decorations depicting beaches in exotic settings. There were larger-than-life plastic sea creatures, shells and plants along with an 8-foot-tall balloon palm tree and garlands of flowers everywhere. Some of the decorations were donated, and Lisa thanks them.

The smooth music of the Motley Vagabonds, playing to an audience sporting leis and in a party mode, along with a lunch of cheesecake and fresh strawberries, and all the components that made it a great party were there.