Interview/Intro by Janelle (Holty) Halverson • Originally published in the Winter 2014-15 Inspire(d) Magazine
Dorothy Seegmiller, 80, loves phone calls, visits with friends, and a fun, social life!
Dorothy and her family (four children: Rodney, Mark, Daryl and Donna Kay) are dear friends of our family. You can count on her for a cheerful phone call and a chat that will leave you smiling. One of my favorite memories of a “Dorothy-call” is after she and Horace (her late husband), moved to town. Their house is located near the Lutheran Cemetery where my husband’s brother, Scott, is buried. Every time she would call, she always mentioned that she would chat with Scott while she was doing dishes because she could see where he was buried from her kitchen window. You never have to wonder if she is thinking about you or caring about what is happening in your life. She is a gregarious person who loves her new home at the Aase Haugen Home in Decorah. She says she never misses a chance to get out and socialize.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
My grandmother told me “It’s your daily life that counts.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I wanted to join the military, but I never did. Instead I got married. I had a boyfriend at home, you know, and I couldn’t leave him (Horace). We got together when I was 14 and then we got married when I was 18, just about 19. I never thought I wanted to be a farm wife. I wanted to live in town. My grandparents lived in town and I just thought it was so much fun to live close to the activities and everything. But, I became a farm wife, 60 years. I enjoyed it but I don’t really miss the farm. I did that thing but I was happy to move to town.
If you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you want with you?
Definitely a good meat sandwich, a bottle of water, and my sunglasses.
Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
Oh, I don’t even dare say it (chuckles): Fat and Sassy.
If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh meat, I love meat. I’m from the farm. On the farm we had meat morning, noon, and night.
Tell us about your wedding day.
We eloped. I was in Decorah visiting my grandparents during the fair. Before we left that day I had to take all of my grandmother’s quilts out to be aired and put away. Then we left that afternoon to be married. We got our marriage license in Caledonia and got married and La Crescent at a little Methodist Church. The minister called the lady next door to the church to be our witness. We had a wonderful honeymoon through the West, about a week, week and a half. Through the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Montana, North Dakota, down through Minnesota and home to the farm.
What was your first job?
Babysitting for friends, relatives, and neighbors. The first thing I bought was a nice Easter Outfit and a purse and pair of shoes. Babysitting didn’t pay very well back then and it took quite a bit of change to buy a nice outfit.
What is your favorite memory?
My grandmother. We lived together on a farm on Locust Road, right across from where Horace and I lived – that was my home farm.