Our Neighbors....June Lind

June Lind is all about old things made new again. Whether it's recreating the age-old art of quilting, filling her historic Atkinson farmhouse with family heirlooms, or reviving the taste-tempting tradition of making home-made doughnuts, this bus...

June Lind is all about old things made new again. Whether it's recreating the age-old art of quilting, filling her historic Atkinson farmhouse with family heirlooms, or reviving the taste-tempting tradition of making home-made doughnuts, this busy and active senior has a respect - and talent - for the finer things in life....

Lind grew up in the rural area outside Lake Mills, Wis., the second oldest of eight children. Her dad and mother used to contract with Libby's, raising peas and lima beans for the food industry giant, and the children worked in the garden and fields right alongside their parents.

"We were good hired hands!" Lind grinned.

Lind was also in 4-H when she was a little girl, where she learned to sew.

"In fact," she said, "I still have the pattern for the first dress I ever made. It cost 15 cents, and they weren't printed patterns back then, either. They were just drawings with dots on them. People don't realize how nice the patterns are now!"


She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade and then went on to Lake Mills High School for four years, graduating in 1950.

While in school, she worked in the hot lunch program.

"If you worked there, you got your meals for free," she explained.

In fact, Lind said she learned much of the considerable amount she knows about cooking while in high school.

"We had two 45-minute periods of home economics every week, and we'd make full meals," she related. "Most of the kids would turn their noses up at it, but I thought it was delicious. We had a home ec teacher who was a stickler for doing everything just right. She always said every homemaker should know how to make biscuits and muffins - because learning how to make bread is an art in itself and a lot of people never learn how."

When Lind was still in high school, she also started working at Libby's, along with her mother and older sister, where they helped can peas and beans, placing the empty cans on the conveyor belt on its way to the canners and sterilizers. The women also had to unload cans off boxcars with long, fork-like devices.

"There were times when we would empty a boxcar in eight hours, and that was going very steady," she said.

Following high school, Lind continued to work in the school hot lunch program for a time, but when she was in her early 20s, she decided to shoot for bigger things.


"In 1956, I decided I'd go on to business college," she said. "I took bookkeeping, because I never could master shorthand."

She went to school in Madison, staying with two other girls in a private home and walking to classes.

She met her future husband, Bob, that same year.

"I met him in a little, bitty town about the size of Atkinson, with a little dance hall," related Lind. "There's a lot of those down there because there's such a big German population. There's always a bar and a place for you to get a little something to eat. I went with a bunch of gals for the Friday night fish fry and we decided to go to one of the places that had live music. That's where I met Bob. He asked me to dance."

That was in August, and the two were married the following May 1957.

"We'll be celebrating our 50th anniversary on May 4!" Lind beamed.

Bob was a Chicago native before his family moved to be near relatives in Minnesota during the height of the Depression. He was working as a journeyman bricklayer on a project nearby when he and June met in the little dance hall in Wisconsin. The two were married in her home of Lake Mills in a little country church that's still standing.

Following their marriage, the two moved into an upstairs apartment over a bowling alley.


"We got so we didn't even hear it," said Lind. "When we first moved to the farm, I kept thinking, 'Why did we ever move out here? It's so quiet!' Now, I wouldn't ever live anyplace unless it was this quiet."

"The farm" was a 160-acre property in Atkinson.

"Someone told us that a farmer in Atkinson was going to sell out and suggested we go to see it," related Lind. "We went over there and I fell in love with the place as soon as I saw it!"

The farm dates back to the late 1800s, the result of a land grant to the original owner and signed by President William McKinley. The Linds have been living there since they purchased it in 1958.

"We have a very nice place to live," Lind commented. "It's at the end of the road, and we have county land north of us. We started out with 160 acres of land, then we added 80 here, 80 there, 80 there and 80 there. We raised five kids here, and they still live close by."

The Linds moved in on Feb. 22, and the following Saturday the neighbors held a farewell party for the people who were moving out.

"Folks had farewell parties and housewarming parties back then," said Lind. "Everybody also helped everybody out because there were a lot of what we called 'lunch bucket farmers.' Everyone burned wood back then, also, and if someone needed some wood sawed, everyone would go to their house and help saw wood. We always had coffee and things to eat and it turned into kind of a social event as well."

The Linds' first son, Rodney, was born that same November, followed by daughter Margaret in 1960, John in 1962, Barb in 1963 and Jim in 1968.


The Linds farmed for the first two years after they moved to the farm but eventually decided to call it quits.

"It was a turning point in the dairy industry," explained Bob, "when they went from milk cans to bulk. I just could not see going in debt to enlarge the herd, and the barn wasn't big enough, anyway, so we sold off the milk cows and only held on to the young stock."

Bob tried cutting pulp wood for a few months before applying for work at Northwest Paper Company. He was hired after only three or four weeks because he was a skilled laborer, and he stayed there for 32 years.

"If it wasn't for the mill, along with June's job with the Sheriff's Department," Bob reflected, "I'm sure we'd never have what we do today. Everything sort of came together."

When the Linds' youngest son was two years old, June was hired as a part-time dispatcher with the Carlton County Sheriff's Department and became the first part-time female dispatcher hired, just four days earlier than when co-worker Karen Grover came on board.

"We would work six hours a day for four days and then have four days off," Lind explained. "We worked from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the rest of the day the night jailer would double up as the dispatcher. We also ended up being jailers at times and even got to the point where we had to cook meals lots of times."

Eventually, the department got to the point where the dispatchers worked afternoon and evening shifts, from 3-11 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Even then, Lind always made a point of having dinner on the table for her family. She maintained a big garden as well, and made all of her family's clothes - including men's suits and tailor-made suits ("everything but underclothes and socks!" she laughed).


"When the kids got off to school in the morning," she recalled, "I'd make bread and rolls, and when the yeast was rising, I'd make cake and cookies. By 1 p.m., everything was done!"

While still working as a dispatcher, Lind also started doing some quilting for fun.

"I started working on a Maple Leaf quilt in 1977 from a pattern I found in a Woman's Day magazine," Lind explained, "but I just couldn't seem to get it done. It used to be the big joke at work! I'd work on it during the midnight shift because it was easier to keep my mind occupied."

When she finally got the quilt done, she entered it in the county fair - the first of a long line of quilts she's entered at the fair that have earned her considerable distinction.

After Lind retired in 1998 after 28 years as a dispatcher, she got into quilting in a big way, and since then she's made literally dozens of them - including 40 in the Log Cabin pattern alone!

"I've made Log Cabin quilts in everything from twin to king size and even a crib size one," she attested. "I've given them away as wedding presents and as gifts to our mothers, kids and my sister-in-law. I have learned a lot since I started making them."

Lind said in the winter time she prefers to stitch on her quilts while Bob is upstairs watching TV.

"She's even got more than one sewing machine now," chuckled Bob. "When one gets too hot, she just switches to the other!"


One of the quilts she's currently working on involves a bevy of flowers, called the "Garden Bouquet" pattern, which also involves the intricate art of stippling (a meandering pattern of stitching). She has also been working on candlewicking, an elaborate design of French knots.

Among the "crowning glories" of Lind's quilt collection are two Lewis & Clark quilts, detailing the well-noted exploits of the early adventurers.

"Every block has a meaning," said Lind, " - the evening ceremony which was used to guide them on their way out west, a goat they saw in the mountains, a plower, a prickly pear cactus, the bitterroot the Indians told them they could eat if they ran out of rations, a peace block with the names of all the Indian tribes that helped them along the way, crossed canoes for when they started going on the water, a water and fish symbol for when they started going on the ocean, a bird, and the Indian trails they followed on the way back, which were much shorter than the way they had come."

Lind also added the silhouette of the black lab who traveled with Lewis and Clark from the time they left St. Louis, all the way out and back, as well as an eagle.

The back of the quilt has elaborate quilting stitches in the shapes of birds and animals, such as a cardinal, woodpecker, wild turkey, elk, moose, bear, deer, dragonflies. The first quilt took Lind about a year from the time she started to the time she got done.

The second one was created with a pattern of birch trees on the back side and a flannel front.

Each of Lind's quilts bears an identifying label showing where it was made, the name of the pattern, when it was completed and the name of the person who made it.

Lind received a purple grand champion ribbon on her "Sunbonnet Sue" quilt at the Carlton County Fair one year and earned the right to take it on to the Minnesota State Fair.

"We made a special trip to take it down there," she said. "Out of 100 possible points, I got 75. I figure if I was competing against 87 counties, I was doing pretty well just to be there!"

Not one to rest on her laurels, Lind is currently working on a quilt completely made of bird designs as well as one that will be all full of butterflies for her oldest granddaughter.

"I always try to make one block of a pattern first to see how I like it," she said.

Just as her sewing skills have taken center stage in retirement, so, also, have Lind's culinary skills.

"I really like making pies," she stated. "I've never used anything but lard in my piecrust," she added, giving away one of her "insider" secrets. "As a kid, though, I can remember when my mother used to render lard on top of the cook stove, and oh, how I used to hate that! It was awful smelling."

Lind said all along she's done "a little doughnut making" with a home doughnut maker that only made about a dozen at a time.

One day her son John (owner of B&B Market in Cloquet) suggested to her, "Why don't you come to the store and make some and we'll see how they go over?"

Now, most Thursday mornings, she goes in to B & B at 5:30 a.m. and turns out 24 dozen doughnuts, usually by 8 a.m.

"I mix them all by hand and I make them one batch at a time," she said. "You can go pretty much anywhere and buy a doughnut that's been premade and they all taste the same, because they all use mixes that are basically the same."

Somehow in Lind's busy schedule, she's also found time to travel several times to Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland.

In 2000, she took her oldest granddaughter to Sweden and stayed with Bob's cousin for three weeks for the Midsummer's Night celebration, and she plans to go to Tuscany with a friend next November.

"If I could afford it, I'd probably travel more, but I go when I can," she admitted.

Above all, Lind savors her role as wife, mother and grandmother - and the important role that family plays in a lifetime of triumphs, tragedies and a great deal of happiness.

Though, sadly, the Linds' daughter Margaret died of complications following a life-long struggle with Turner's Syndrome, diabetes and an eventual kidney transplant from her sister, Barb, they have glorious memories of her time with them and all of the friends she made along the way.

Their farmhouse is joyfully filled with treasured belongings that were handed down from their parents - along with an oak dining room table made by their son Jim in school.

"He drew the plans up from a Montgomery Ward catalog and made it in shop class in Carlton," Lind explained. "They had an excellent shop teacher there named Leonard Jokinen, who still lives west of Sawyer. Most of the wood in it is from our farm."

And so, surrounded by family, cherished belongings and her own beautiful creations, June Lind's story has truly been all about things old - made new again.

Pine Journal Publisher Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: .

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