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Five generations celebrate Mother's Day

Photo provided The Crocker family of Verndale now has five living generations, and they got together on their matriarch's farm toward the end of April. From left, son John Crocker Sr., formerly of Frazee; grandson John Crocker Jr., formerly of Becker; great-great-grandson Trevor Tasa, of Clearwater, Minn.; great-granddaughter Sarah (Crocker) Tasa, of Clearwater, Minn. and 96-year-old Emily Crocker. Emily has been in the area all her life and still lives on the farm on her own.

Emily Crocker of Verndale is the matriarch of five generations this Mother's Day.

When Sarah (Crocker) Tasa's son Trevor was born several months ago, Emily became a great-great-grandmother.

And John Crocker, Sr. knows what it is like to be 77 years old and still receiving birthday cards and phone calls from his mom.

Emily is 96 years old and has eight children, 25 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren in addition to the new great-great-grandson.

She still sends birthday cards to her descendants and their spouses.

John Crocker, Sr. said they plan to take Emily out for dinner on Mother's Day.

He said she is pretty active, going to her Bible study every Tuesday morning and getting her hair done in Wadena on Fridays. She also enjoys going to Boondocks Cafe.

Emily is still living independently on the same farm where her children were raised.

"I came over about 8 a.m. and she already had her load of clothes in the washer. She takes care of herself," John said.

Another of Emily's children, Jeannine (Crocker) Gordon, said "amazing" is one word that describes her mother.

"I love the fact that we do honor our mothers in general, and that there is a day set aside for that honor," Jeannine said.

She said Emily has been a great example as not only a mom, but as a grandmother, great-grandmother and now great-grandmother.

"Most that I learned in life stems from those early years. Those were good years, well taught," Jeannine said. "Learned to be a mom by watching her and her example."

Jeannine is the geographically closest of the eight siblings, as she and her husband currently live a couple miles away from Emily and check in on her.

Emily has lived in Wadena County her entire life, although she has traveled to faraway destinations like Alaska and Israel.

Emily's parents were John and Katie Erickson. She is a first generation born in the United States; her father was from Sweden and her mother was from Bohemia.

Emily grew up in Leaf River Township north of Wadena and graduated from eighth grade at country school in District 11. Being able to go to high school was not a given thing in those days, so in order to attend ninth grade at Wadena High School, she had to walk a mile to a neighbor's place and pay ten cents a day for a ride.

She was the youngest of twelve children, and is the only one still alive.

Her husband passed away in 1981.

Emily learned to sew, crochet and knit, skills she kept up until recently when her eyesight declined.

"She said it would take her about two weeks to make an afghan," John said. "She worked at it pretty steady."

Most children knew how to make their own clothes during World War I.

"She told me, 'People don't have time to do that anymore. They gotta play on the computers,'" John said. "She doesn't have anything to do with computers, and I made my living working with computers. So you can see how life changed from her generation to my generation."

Emily also enjoys the KTIG radio station out of Pequot Lakes, and her family sponsored a day for her.