Laura Priscilla Lundorff - 1934

Laura and Kirk.

Laura Priscilla Lundorff was born February 20. 1934 in Sandstone, as the youngest of Nels Lundorffs children. She graduated from Sandstone High School as salutatorian of her small class of 33 students. She then attended Gustavus Adolphus College, a college of Lutheran background founded by Minnesotans of Swedish Lutheran origins, majoring in English and social work. After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts, she had one year of graduate work in social work at the University of Chicago. This was followed by three years of employment with Lutheran Family Welfare in the Chicago area. While at the Univ. of Chicago she met her future husband, a graduate student in organic chemistry who received his doctorate there in 1960. They were married June 21, 1958 in Sandstone, Minnesota.

The picture of Kirk and me was taken on the deck of our friends' on Bainbridge Island, right across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Kirk undertook two years of post-doctoral research in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, WI. While there Laura took design and pottery classes at the University. Then followed a move to Pullman in September, 1962, where Kirk was hired as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Washington State University and had a research lab. Kirk gained a reputation here as an outstanding teacher, and retired from teaching as Associate Professor in 2000. Laura, in the meantime, was the traditional housewife at home with their two children: Robert Dugald McMichael b. March 23, 1963 in Pullman, WA nad Anne Jean McMichael ; b. July 18, 1968 in Seattle, WA.

While at home Laura continued with her strong interest in ceramics, throwing and firing from a home workshop. For twenty-five years an annual Christmas show and sale was quite popular. She and a group of several artisans formed an arts and craft cooperative which sold their hand-crafted items for 15 years in Pullman. Time and effort also went into test baking and sales for Flourgirls Whole W heat Milling Company, a small local mill, in which she held shares. Kirk’s many interests include bagpiping, where he has been the pipe major of the local bag pipe band. He also enjoys model railroading, history, reading, the computer and singing in the church choir and the Idaho-Washington Concert Chorale. Laura has also sung in the same choral groups and has been the piano accompanist for the church choir for many years, as well as gaining some capabilities on the pipe organ recently. She also enjoys skiing, swimming, knitting, gardening, reading, friends, and a certain amount of cooking, baking and entertaining.

The purchase of a float house in 1989 on Lake Pend Oreille has given them much enjoyment with family and friends during the summer months.

More about my Lundorff family in Minnesota (by Laura the 19. feb. 2010):
Life had a regularity and schedule in our family, which was in accord with how my father wanted or needed to have it. Meals were always on time. The big meal was dinner at noon, which always included potatoes, because my dad had to have potatoes every day. (He also had to have prunes every morning.) My mother always made gravy from the meat drippings to pour over the potatoes. After the main part of the meal, my dad always had a slice of my mothers home made white bread with butter. With the last bite of bread in his hand, he would wipe his plate clean before eating the bread. I would joke when washing the dishes that it was so clean we hardly had to wash it. I always wondered why he did that and, later, concluded that perhaps it was the fact that he could now have white bread and butter, something that signified that he had made it. From what he told us, it was dark rye bread and goose grease for him in Denmark. In a letter to me, in response to some questions I had written to him, he said that after he got to America he was never hungry again. After dinner he always took a nap, and no one disturbed him or dared to disturb him for that half an hour, even though he was right in the middle of where there would normally be activity.

We never said grace before meals, although we kids were always told at Sunday School that we were supposed to give thanks. (We were all confirmed in the Lutheran Church.) My father had little time for the church, because of the teachings of hell fire and damnation that he had been given in the old country. I remember he was angry at our pastor who tried to tell my dad that World War II was Gods will. Pop could not accept that reasoning -- with my brothers going off to war! My mother wished that he would go to church. That used to bother me when I was young, but now I respect his independent thinking.

How hard that must have been on my parents to have five of their children in the service all at one time; but in their usual stoic manner, they did not show their emotions. One exception was my dad’s scolding when the four of us kids at home during the war were very excited and eager to get at the Christmas presents. He said we should remember our brothers, who were in the service. As for my mother, I never saw her cry until the day my brother, Irvin, came home, the last to return from the war; and luckily, they all did.

Pop was a self made man, good-looking, a fast learner and a very hard worker. My mother, in a serious tone, commented how my dad "just tore into his work. My sister-in-law knew some old Danes nearby, one of whom said that Nels did the work of ten men. Pop bragged, that he had never been out of work in this country, and was often one to be chosen out of a group of laborers, but then he said he dressed a little better than most.

This is the house my dad built in 1956 in Sandstone, MN where he and Mom lived after most of us kids had left home. I know my brother Bob helped build and lay the oak floors. Ed may have helped, too. I did much of the painting inside. Sister Martha lived here after my father died. Pop planted all of the pine trees. He planted pine trees over most all of his land that had formerly been used for cow pasture. He was very agile, quick and well coordinated. I remember he astounded me by doing a back flip when he was in is 50's. Somehow we credited this kind of ability to his schooling in Denmark where gymnastics classics were common. He told how he, at a very young age, with his mother had almost won a contest in stacking peat bricks to dry for fuel. Being athletic and achieving some athletic capability was something we kids accepted as an enjoyment. We would all race as fast as we could from the school bus to the house to see who could be first or we would line up in a row and race just to see who could run the fastest.

Nels knew his own mind and said what he thought. I don’t think he was fooled by anyone. He knew the figures, and had little forgiveness for dishonesty in anyone. My dad was the authority and what he said went. As an old man he thought he may have been too hard on the boys. I think he was bragging a bit when he told me that he hadn't spanked any of his kids, except Mike, the oldest. Although his intentions were good, I believe his sons lacked the kindness and recognition they wanted from him. He didn't spend much time with his children except in relation to work, and as old men the boys seemed to search their memories for times that he showed them warmth or appreciation. We all learned to work hard, respect authority, and do what was expected.

My brother, Nels, also known as Bob, laughingly told that when he was in boot camp in the navy, one of his buddies wondered how he cold be so happy in spite of all the strenuous physical training they were having to endure. Bob said that boot camp was nothing compared to working on the farm for his dad. One wintry night, when several of inches of snow had fallen, my brother went to see how my dad was doing. Pop must have been in his late 80’s or early 90’s living as a widower. He said that he had been up on the roof of the house shoveling off the snow, but he had fallen from the roof. My brother was concerned and asked him what he had done. Pop said, I went back up on the roof to shovel some more snow. When he had to be cared for, he insisted that he was not going to be in the nursing home, because there was a good chance, patients would get their food cold there. Although he didn't need hospital care, he got the administration to let him remain in the hospital, where he paid the higher hospital rates. He was there for 4 or 5 months before passing away. Brother Ed visited him everyday, and the other children visited him there often, too. I believe that he was very pleased, that the American dream had come true for him.