It was some kind of thrill when electricity first arrived in rural areas, as many of you know.

Some time ago, the Cass County Electric Cooperative asked its customers for testimonials concerning that big event.

One of those responding was Arnold Jordheim, Walcott, N.D. He also sent what he wrote to Neighbors.

“In the fall of 1949, I remember when the lights came on at our farm west of Walcott,” Arnold wrote.

“My parents were Ole and Olga Jordheim.

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“At that time I was 13 years old.

“My grandmother’s brother, Thorvald Eckre, who was an electrician in Minneapolis, came out and wired up our farm: the house, barn, pig house and chicken coop, and he put a yard light on the tall post where the lines came into our yard from the road.

“My brother, Orland, and I put up a basketball hoop on the post so we could play after dark.

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“Pa put an electric motor on the cream separator, so no more hand cranking there, and he put an electric motor on the well pump at the windmill, so when the wind didn’t blow, we could still have water. And Pa put a head-bolt heater on the car so it would start OK in much-below temperatures.

“Ma got an International Harvester refrigerator and freezer, so we didn’t need to keep our meat at the locker plant in town anymore.

“Milking time on dark winter days went much better with electric lights in the barn,” Arnold wrote, “although we never did get a milking machine for our dozen or so cows. But feeding the pigs and chickens and doing other chores went much better without having to carry around a kerosene lantern.

“Ma also got an electric washing machine to replace the old Maytag motor one, which I remember was so noisy and smelly on washdays.

“We did get running water in the house, although we didn’t get an indoor bathroom until 1959, I suppose because that would have been too much modernizing all at once!

“Now it’s hard to visualize just how comparatively primitive life on the farm was up until only a little more than a half century ago,” Arnold concludes.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email