Growing up in a small town where 'everyone knew you back then'

In today's "Neighbors" column, a reader fondly recalls growing up in Edgeley, N.D.

(From left) Karen Hird, Kathy Kipp and Susan Diemert. Special to The Forum

This picture is of three cute girls when they were growing up in Edgeley, N.D.

Left to right, they are Karen Hird, Kathy Kipp and Susan Diemert.

Kathy now is Kathy (Mrs. Jerry) Schroeder, of Horace, N.D. It was she who, after seeing a Neighbors column about growing up in a small town, sent in her memories of growing up in Edgeley, south of Jamestown, N.D.

“Saturday night during the summer, the main street in Edgeley would come alive,” Kathy writes.

“Businesses were open for as long as there were customers. All the farm families would come to town.


“Sometimes the school band would play, and then there was the popcorn machine on the sidewalk where everyone had fresh popcorn.

“My dad, Clay Kipp, who with his brother Bud owned Kipp Chevrolet, was always excited for Saturday night because he had an opportunity to talk to the farmers and usually made some good sales.

“The picture is from 1957 when I was 8 years old,” Kathy writes. “We’re dressed up in our blue dotted Swiss dresses to go to town for a great evening.

“We would walk up and down Main Street and then stop in my dad’s place and put a nickel in the peanut machine and twist the crank to get a handful of peanuts.

“My Uncle Bud had a dog named Zipper that came to the dealership every day, and the whole town loved greeting him when they came to Kipp Chevrolet. Zipper could balance a treat on his nose until you said ‘go.’ He got lots of treats from Edgeley people.

“I don’t remember how much the popcorn was, but I remember going to the movie for 25 cents and then going to the cafe for mashed potatoes and gravy for 10 cents. Everyone else would have french fries, but I loved mashed potatoes and gravy.

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“Yes, everyone knew you back then. When my mom would drive downtown (five blocks) and then forget she had driven down and walked home, someone would see her car downtown and bring it home for her.


“We bought all our gas, groceries and as much as we could in town. Dad would say that we business owners support each other to keep our town thriving.

“There was lots of pride in our town.

“Any one of us kids could go to the store and just say charge it to ‘us,’ and they would know who to charge it to. We didn’t have to sign anything; things were on your honor system.

“My grandmother lived two blocks from us, and I always had a set of pajamas there in case I ended up staying overnight. I ended up getting the mumps at her house, and grandma took care of me until I was over them, because my dad never had the mumps. Oh, she was so good to me!

“What fond memories I have of growing up in Edgeley, North Dakota,” Kathy concludes her letter. “It was such a blessing, where everyone cared for each other.”

And there you have another story about growing up in a small town. Neighbors believes there are many such stories out there.

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


Bob Lind
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist. The Forum

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