Merry Mixers Show & Tell: Hidden Talents

Contributed by Susan Hill

COLFAX — Who knew what hidden talents they all possessed?

The regular September meeting of the Colfax Merry Mixers senior citizens group was followed by a program featuring “Show and Tell.”

Attending members were asked to bring special items and share their individual talents, collections and hobbies with the rest of the group.

Teddy bears

Mona Thorson started by showing 25 of her delightful teddy bears, which is just a small portion of her collection of more than 200. Mona’s bears come in all sizes and are made of various materials and range from new to very old.

One of her favorites is a tattered and well-loved “fair” bear she received many years ago from a family friend who had won the bear at the Colfax Free Fair.

Another great bear was a medium-sized black and white motion-activated panda bear that moves and makes sounds.

Mona has been collecting and acquiring the bears since she was a child and showed a picture of her with a teddy bear from the 1950s.


Donna Cook brought samples of her 1200 salt and pepper shakers.

The colorful examples included Pillsbury Doughboys, tractors, silos, fish, snowmen, watermelon, moonshine jugs, footballs and a great pair of “I Love Lucy” high heels.

Donna has been collecting and receiving unique salt and pepper shakers as gifts since she was a teenager, and they fill several china cabinets in her home.


Inez Christianson shared examples of the many beautiful embroidered baby and youth quilts she has made over the years for friends and family members.

Her typical quilts are white with colorful patterns hand embroidered or cross stitched tops.

Inez estimates she has made 75 of these lovely quilts.


Juverna Hilson shared her display of porcelain and metal miniature bells. She has collected them on vacations, and several vintage bells were from right here in Colfax.

In her collection there was also a rare milk glass “Colfax” toothpick holder that a couple of Colfax memorabilia collectors in the group coveted.


Gary Thorson, our own local potter, shared a variety of beautiful hand-thrown pots, mugs and vases he has made over the years.

Gary took the group through the process of creating a piece of earthenware from clay types and designs, to construction methods, glazing and stages of firing.

Gary has an arts background and has been making and selling his works of art for 40 years. Currently, he has a display of his work at the Colfax Public Library.


Did you know Gladys Tandberg is a poet? She shared her book of poems she has written for special family occasions and the funerals of friends in the past.

They are very heartfelt and beautiful.

Gladys has also kept a very detailed scrapbook containing many photos, stories and newspaper clippings telling her very interesting “life story.”

Gladys related memories of a Czechoslovakian grandmother, who lived to be quite elderly, and told Gladys many stories of the old country. She showed two colorful crocheted table toppers her grandma had made.


Vonnie Flesberg showed an example of her fine crocheted work.

Vonnie has a talent of incorporating letters into her work, and finished items are backed with fabric to make wall hangings or attached to accent pillows. She has made many for family and friends.

This summer she donated an attractive vertical “WELCOME” hanger to the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group for their raffle at the Colfax Free Fair.

Class ring

Susan Hill, a collector of many things, said it was difficult to decide what to bring to Show and Tell.

She ended up with two rather unique items to share with the group.

The first was a 1917 Colfax High School class ring. The 100 year old gold ring was owned by Miss Nan Tolefson, who graduated from CHS, and after attending Eau Claire Teachers’ College, she returned to the area and was a teacher at the Running Valley country school.

The ring was given to Sue by a co-worker at the Girl Scout office in Eau Claire, Coly Florin (Mrs. Norman Florin), a friend of Nan’s.

The second item Sue shared was a family treasure, a small tattered “Autograph” book that had belonged to her great-grandmother, Jennie Gulbrandson Rosenberg. Jennie had emigrated to the U.S. from Norway in the 1880s and was employed by the famous J.P. Morgan as a “child tender” to his two daughters, Anne and Julia.

The highlight in the signature book is that of Mr. J.P. Morgan.

Sue encouraged Merry Mixer members to share the gift of their genealogy with their families, if they had not already done so. She gave them each copies of pedigree charts to get started.


The final Show and Tell was the beautiful Rosemaling and paintings done by Merry Mixer President Vicki Hendricks.

Vicki started painting after her interest in older Rosemaled items lead her to take special painting classes. She has been painting for a number of years.

Vicki paints on a variety of mediums, including wood, matt board and canvas.

She has painted a variety of items, including decorative plates, trays, gnome candle holders, picture frames, a beautiful Norsk lunch box and even a canvas rug.

When her kids were young, Vicki painted pictures for their rooms.

Merry Mixers

The Merry Mixers group really enjoyed their Show and Tell and vowed to do it again in the future.

The Merry Mixers meet on the first Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Grapevine Senior Center on Main Street in Colfax.

Everyone is welcome to attend.  

The Merry Mixers sponsor an annual fall craft and lefse sale, which will be November 18 this year.