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Christmas memories shared by Lloyd Berends

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY— While sitting in his cozy room at Havenwood as his daughter Sharon decorated the place with Christmas cheer, Lloyd reminisced about the Christmas holiday over the past 91 years.

Lloyd was born and raised on the outskirts of Glenwood City until he was six years old. He moved away for some time before returning to the area just two short months ago.

Lloyd is the second oldest child to Bill and Mary Berends with three sisters and two brothers.

The Berends’ grew up on a farm north of the Catholic Cemetery until moving to the New Richmond and Stanton Township area.

Shortly after that, Lloyd grew up on a farm on County Trunk A, which put him in the New Richmond School District and that is where he attended school and graduated.

Being a farm kid meant Lloyd celebrated Christmas around chore time and milking of the cows.

Lloyd remembers that on Christmas Eve, his father took him and his siblings to church and while they were away, his mom played Santa.

The family attended Midnight Mass and when they returned, Santa had been to the house and delivered the presents.

The children would gather around the tree, which was lit by real candles at that time and either had paper chains or popcorn strings strung around it.

The children would open presents and then it was off to bed so the cows could be milked in the morning.

Christmas Day was spent cutting wood and gathering water by the pale full. They did not travel anywhere, but instead stayed together as a family.

Lloyd remembers his mother’s wonderful cooking. She would prepare a meal with dressing and cranberries and either their own home grown turkey or a neighbors was cooked.

It was a saddle that Lloyd remembers getting as a present from his uncle one year. That sticks out clearly in his mind as it was something special for him and his brother.

The family had Percheron horses, but one special Bay Horse named Lady was Lloyds.

He and his brother got a toboggan for Christmas a different year, which they strapped onto Lady so they could be pulled around.

This was entertainment in those days and kept the kids busy throughout the long winter months.

The weather then was a little different Lloyd remembered. Winters seemed to have more snow, but weren’t as cold as they are today.

As the years went by and Lloyd grew to be an adult, he still celebrated Christmas inside his parent’s home.

Returning home with Lloyd then was his wife Jane. They celebrated 29 years of marriage and holidays together along with their eight children before Jane passed away of cancer.

Lloyd being the man of the house, did not necessarily take part in the Christmas holiday as that was something the mother did more actively; so he remembers.

Usually the mother and her children would cook, bake, decorate, and do the shopping, but fathers were definitely a part in certain things like finding the right tree or attending school and church programs.

They lived on a farm at the time so milking cows and chores had to be done.

After high school the three oldest boys went off to the service, which left no farm help for Lloyd so he had to sell the farm and eventually began work at Doboy.

The three boys would come back home during the Christmas holiday and the family would have dinner together again.

After Jane’s passing, Lloyd had to take over both roles as mother and father during the holiday season as there were still three children living at home between the ages of 17 and 10.

This carried on for two years until Lloyd met and married Norma Rasmussen. His family of eight grew to one of 12 as Norma had four children of her own.

Christmas continued inside the home until Lloyd and Norma made the decision to start traveling to Arizona for the cold winter months since the kids were grown up and had families of their own.

Together they spent 14 winters down there with the majority of their children along side them during the holiday season.

Those years Lloyd and Norma were able to sit back and enjoy their children laughing and story telling while they did the cooking and decorating for their parents.

Lloyd laughed as he thought of Christmas in Arizona and how different it is to Wisconsin.

“Well there was no snow and you could put up Christmas lights without freezing to death,” said Lloyd.

After those 14 years, Lloyd and Norma moved back to Wisconsin after selling everything in Arizona in 2003.

They were together until Norma passed away in 2012 while they were living in River Falls. It was just in the last two months that Lloyd moved back to Glenwood City.

Lloyd will now celebrate his first Christmas back in his home town this month.