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Boreal Community Media

February News at North Shore Living

Feb 07, 2022 10:09AM ● By Editor
Photos submitted by Lisa Bloomquist

February 7, 2022


“Old Age Ain’t For Sissies.”

We’ve lived through wars, through the depression and through having to walk to school uphill both ways without shoes. We’ve had enough Covid related protocols, and this past month we’ve had enough snow and lack of sunshine yet we are still here. We wouldn’t have made it to this respectable age if we couldn’t take it that’s for sure. Like the sweatshirt says, “Old Age Ain’t For Sissies.”

January Happenings

We drank a lot of coffee, had a lot of gatherings, and enjoyed music by Ruth Lovaas, Doug Sanders and Lavona Czaplicki. We played Dominoes, Uno, Lucky 7, Give Me 10, That Stupid Dice Game (named by a resident), Card Bingo, and Hangman, watched movies and drank coffee. We had a birthday celebration for Jean Roberts and Irene Peterson, who happens to be our 101 year old and you wouldn’t think she was a day over 80. Last year Irene received a jump rope for her birthday. I reminded her the other day that last year she said she would jump at 101. Perhaps the jump rope will be in our Winter Olympics coming up in February?  

According to the Perk it was National Cheese Day on Friday, January 21rst. We had a fun afternoon eating cheese on crackers and sausage. We played Hangman which related to cheese of course. We got hung on this word _ _ _ _ _.  The residents kept asking me if this word was in English. I assured them it was. This past month we also made and ate bread, baked a cake for our birthday party and drank coffee. Also according to the Perk we learned there is no legal definition in marketing hot chocolate or hot cocoa, but typically the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate is hot cocoa is thin, less rich and sweeter made with cocoa powder, sugar and milk while hot chocolate is made with actual chocolate shaved into fine pieces and added to hot water or milk. Hot chocolate is using less sweet. We enjoyed a cup of homemade hot cocoa complete with marshmallows and a peppermint spoon stir stick. It was pretty sweet and tasty. All the while we reminisced of sliding down hills, making snowmen and the good ol’ days. We did build snowmen, but they were the paper kind we hung on our doors. They turned out pretty cute. Did I mention we also drank coffee? 

Speaking of sweets………..

Our resident spotlight of the month is our sweet as hot cocoa Mrs. Ethel Walsh.

Ethel was born in Grenora, ND and lived there until she was three. Ethel, her parents and five siblings then moved to Minneapolis, MN. Ethel said something hard growing up was her mother and father getting divorced. Playing in mud puddles, playing with dolls and sewing clothes for them was fun and jumping rope used to be a big deal. She graduated from Central high school with honors in 1944.  

Ethel met Gary, but he shipped off to war so he was the one that got away. She then met Bill Allen while they both were working at the Hasty Tasty on 36th and Lindale South don’t ya remember? Those sure were the days!  Bill pumped gas and I was a waitress. I took a train down and we got married in Clovis, New Mexico just before he shipped out to serve in the Korean War where Bill served as a navigator in the Air Force. We had 3 children Deanne, Tom and Robbie. 

Bill died during the war. Ethel was introduced to Bob Walsh at a party held by mutual friends. They got married in 1961 in Minneapolis. While on their honeymoon the watched the movie Psycho. You know the one where there is a murder in the shower. Well on their honeymoon Bob scared Ethel while she was taking a shower. They ended up having to move to another hotel. 

Ethel and Bob have two children. Anne Marie, who lives in Grand Marais and Kevin. Ethel and Bob were involved in multiple bridge clubs. Ethel and Bob enjoyed bowling and were on the South Town Bowling League. Ethel has a lot of trophies for bowling 300 point games. She enjoyed photography, entertaining, volunteering, and was a member of the St Francis Unit taking care of the library. Ethel has 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren with one on the way.

Ethel was an excellent cook, a great seamstress, and an awesome interior decorator. She was featured in A Walk Around the Block in the MSP Star for her interior designs. Ethel lived in Bermuda while her husband Bill was stationed in the Air Force. She also traveled to Tunisia, Africa to visit a daughter while she was in the Peace Corps, to Germany and all around the United States.

Ethel had dogs named Cookie, Corkey, and Christa.  Ethel’s daughter Anne Marie was helping her with this interview and Anne Marie said, “I was always stealing the neighbor’s cats and bringing them home. My dad was forever setting them free. On a particular day the neighbor brought a cat over and gave it to me. Ever since then our family had cats.” One day Ethel was entertaining women and she told Anne Marie to go get her school pet to show the ladies. Well Anne Marie came down with a pet rat and there sat Ethel nonchalantly drinking coffee while the rest of the ladies were in a pandemonium. Knowing Ethel a little bit I can just see this all happening and have to belly laugh while typing.

When asked what Ethel would trade a roll of toilet paper for she replied, “Nothing. I am going to keep it. I have everything I want.” What is something you have always wanted to do? Ethel replied, “Retire”. What is something you enjoy about being at North Shore Living to which Ethel replied, “This interview and all of the games.” Words of advice Ethel has to offer younger people are “We’re working on it. Things will get better!”


Our dear friend Eleanor Sjoberg passed away peacefully January 6th. Eleanor deeply loved and enjoyed being with her family both in person and on her FaceBook Portal. She especially loved spending time with her husband Ray until his passing in 2020.  Eleanor enjoyed puppy visits, music, game shows, Cheetos, Root Beer, and treats of all kinds. In her younger years she and Ray owned a restaurant, the ElRay Café, they both loved playing play golf. Eleanor played the organ at her home, and played in a family band. 

Our sweet Fern Lovaas passed away Friday evening, January 14th. She loved to play spiritual music on the piano and even played by ear. If you could sing it, she could find the key and play right along with you. Fern had a soft, sweet personality, loved giving hugs and eating chocolate. She was a quilter, a knitter and a baker. Her simple daily pleasure was a good cup of coffee. She enjoyed spending time with others, and when at home she always made sure there was food and goodies for all her Sunday guests. She was the Baptist church organist and played every Sunday for many years and worked in both Doc Sande’s and Grand Marais Dentistry’s dental offices. Fern’s son Bill works with us at North Shore Health.

Other Happenings

We enjoyed lunch brought to us by the Hub on the 31rst. Lavona Czaplicki stopped by to share her art talents with us. Our Golden Looks beautician Meghan Gustafson was here at the end of the month and we sure are looking fine. Bethlehem Lutheran Church comes up to visit, share scripture and communion with us every Tuesday morning.  We have great Essential Caregivers and volunteers that help us out so wonderfully. 

A bicycle built for two

Bryann Bockovich went down to her grandmother Fern Norgard’s birthday party this past summer. Family was wondering how the Care Center Fern where lived was going to get her to her party which was being held at a nearby park. Well low and behold here came Fern riding in style on a bicycle built for two. Fern loved the bicycle ride so much. When the party was over Fern left with a wave and a huge smile on her face. Bryann brought the idea of a bicycle built for two to me and we are looking at purchasing one for our residents to get fresh air, a change of scenery and to have a little fun. We are looking at purchasing a motorized bicycle that is more of a sidecar style. We have started a cookbook fundraiser at North Shore Health to help us purchase this bike. If you have any recipes you would like to contribute, especially recipes you have gotten passed down from residents present or past at North Shore Living we will gladly publish them. You can also send donations to go towards this bike to: North Shore Health 515 5th Ave W. Grand Marais, MN 55604. Please put Activities/bike in the memo line.


Ways you can volunteer 

IF you are fully vaccinated: On your schedule you could take care of the bird aviary once or twice a week. You could water flowers, read to residents or take a stroll with them. Maybe you would like to come serve coffee and a treat at 10 AM almost any week day, come share musical talents at 12, 1, 2, or 3 pm depending on the day, help with exercise at 2 pm on Wednesdays or come help with happy hour or current events on Friday’s from 2-3:30 pm. There is always decorating for the seasons or holidays at the beginning of each month. If you are interested in volunteering please call me at 218-387-3518. 

Remember….Old Age Ain’t For Sissies, things will get better and think of us while you enjoy your coffee.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here