Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

My mom was a dude!

click to enlarge

Did you ever try to take a decent photo of 70-year-old jodhpurs? There's just no way to make those old pants look good!

My dad's basement flooded last spring, and we had to take a lot of stuff out to the patio to sort through. One of the items was a canvas drawstring sack from Dad's Coast Guard days. Along with some uniform items, much to my surprise, was this pair of jodhpurs that belonged to my mom when she was in her teens. I took the whole damp lot back to the basement and ran them through the washer and dryer, then laid claim to the jodhpurs.

Mom spoke many times of a vacation she'd had at a dude ranch. She must have had a great time, because she really enjoyed her memories of that experience. I was sure the jodhpurs were from that period of time in her life. The other day I found a little snapshot of her wearing them. It was taken in front of the house on Roxbury, where the Kerr family lived from 1942-1946.

Postcard: "Race" Jack and Jill Ranch
(click to enlarge)

My mom saved some postcards from the Jack and Jill Ranch, which opened in 1937 and still exists today, now expanded and called the Double JJ Ranch and Golf Resort. I'll let you read about some of her memories in her own words.

The following was written in 1993 by Mary KERR Krentz:

It was in the summer of 1940 that I took my first vacation alone. I went across the state to Jack and Jill Ranch near Holland, Michigan. It was a "dude" ranch for people 17 to 35 years old.

Postcard: Archery, Jack and Jill Ranch, Montague, Mich.

There were many activities planned throughout the day and evening--scavenger hunts, and square dances; I learned to use a bow and arrow, and how to handle a rifle at the rifle range.

Postcard: Archery, Jack and Jill Ranch, Montague, Mich.

We went on a hayride, and went horseback riding every morning. One morning ten of us left at 5:00 a.m. with our guide and rode for miles up hill and down and through a beautiful forest where the trees met overhead. There was a thick carpet of leaves on the forest floor and a holy stillness in the air with only the far away sound of birds twittering back and forth to each other. We lingered there for a few moments before going on.

my mom on horseback
(That was definitely before my time!)

On the far side of the forest we dismounted and our guide cooked breakfast for us there in the wilderness. He gave each of us a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, then built a fire and cooked bacon and pancakes and steaming cups of coffee. Nothing ever tasted so good after riding for two hours through the countryside.

Postcard: Canoeing, Jack and Jill Ranch, Montague, Mich.


Claudia's thoughts said...

Jodpurs...I can't imagine any one wearing them today, they really would make your butt look huge.

Your posting was an excellent tribute.

Lori E said...

What great memories. It is nice to know what our parents were like before we came along. To know that they really did have a life.

GrannyPam said...

A dude ranch in Michigan? Never heard about this before. Thanks for the interesting view, which must have been way, way before my time!

kinfolknews said...

Excellent post! Made me smile from ear to ear.


T.K. said...

Claudia, your comment cracked me up. I was kind of thinking the same thing, but in my mind it wasn't phrased quite so eloquently! ;-)

Lori, my mom talked about her dude ranch adventure many times. I think it was a real highlight in her life. I don't think I ever saw the postcards until after she died, though. And who knew the jodhpurs were still around! It was fun to find those things and put them together with what she wrote.

Ya know, Pam, as often as I heard her tales of the dude ranch, I don't think I ever knew it was in Michigan! I guess I was picturing Colorado or something. And I was really surprised to find out it's still in business.

Thanks, Regina, this one made me smile too, and I thought it would be a great way to honor Mom on Mother's Day.

Thanks for stopping by, all!

MAT said...

My parents met at the Jack & Jill Ranch. They have been married for over 50 years and to this day still have a close group of J&J friends. I love to hear their stories and see the pictures of their summers up at the J&J!! Thanks for sharing the memories of you mom!!

T.K. said...

Many thanks for sharing your J&J story, MAT! Dude ranch romance! That sweet thought makes me smile!

Carol Clark said...

My mother went to J&J and met a cowboy there she married. She lived at the ranch for awhile, but unfortunately, the marriage did not work out. She remained in contact with the cowboy until he died. She passed away a few years ago, and I found information on J&J because I think my mother wanted to go back there but never did. I read somewhere that the original owner intended to attract young women from the Detroit area and hired clean cut cowboys to keep them interested. I'm just curious whether Mat's dad was a cowboy too. Pretty cool they've been married more than 50 years. Thanks for the memories! Carol

TK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carol. I hope MAT sees your comment and replies... it would be interesting to know the answer to that question.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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