Superior author, 87, keeps up gardening, teaching and helping people.
At age 87, Imelda Dickinson is on a mission to contribute
her talents and to help people for as long as she is able.
The Superior woman works in health care and spends
what time she can on a variety of hobbies, including
sewing, gardening and writing. She retired at 65, but missed
working, so she spends 35 hours a week in home health
care, taking care of family members.
She began sewing lap quilts for disabled veterans and gets them to people in need through local groups. And you can even find her online at ImeldaDickinson.com.
Dickinson enjoys sharing stories and last year published
“Personolly Yours,” a collection of poetry and prose that tells
stories through the eyes of a doll.
“It’s a collection of 44 stories that I started writing 25 years ago. I would dress up a doll for a story I wanted to tell. The first one was Emily Dickinson. My father was related to her.”
What Dickinson shares includes some fantasy, but is in large part true stories from her interesting life.
Dickinson is originally of Saint Cloud, Minn., one of 13 siblings who lived in a 14- room house. She speaks fondly of her family — particularly her parents. As a girl, she spent time climbing trees and listening to her parents play music. Her mother could play eight instruments, and music was valued in the family. The children would trade chickens for music lessons. “In earlier years, Mom and Dad started a western band,” Dickinson said. “It was in the depression years.”
Dickinson’s father was a hardworking man who loved his family. He was educated only through the fourth grade and helped raise his nine siblings. He grew up to build a family farm of his own and work full time. Dickinson’s mother was born on a farm.
When they had their own kids, farming continued to be an important part of their lives. Dickinson’s family lived on a 250-acre farm. They raised cows and tended a one-acre garden by the house. One of Dickinson’s chores was to clean the machine used to milk the cows. In the summer, she plucked potato buds and pulled weeds. She helped clean canning jars since her hands
were just the right size. The girls often helped their mother cook meals for the family and do laundry.
The family would play card games and listen to the radio. Some of their favorite programs were “The Lone Ranger,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Inner Sanctum.” Once they got a television, they would watch the “Lawrence Welk Show.”
When the circus arrived in town, Dickinson’s father would take them to see the show.
The children would go skating at a field near their house in the winter and check out books from the library.
As they grew, their parents allowed them to go to the Coliseum Dance Hall for dances — on the condition that one of the brothers would make sure they got home. Every Sunday, Dickinson’s family would attend church. The family needed two pews to sit together.
Dickinson grew to have her own family: three daughters, five grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and eight great great- grandchildren.
She was the first in her family to earn a high school education. She earned a master’s degree in natural health — the lessons her parents taught Dickinson on the farm took root and grew with her over the years. She loves fresh vegetables and sharing her knowledge with others. Healthy living is something she’s passionate about teaching. She has taught classes on vegetarian eating and handling stress.
Even today, when the weather allows, Dickinson can
be found growing peas, carrots and other vegetables, and tending her flowers. She continues to haul wood, rake leaves and shovel snow. “Be kind to one another and value friendships,” she advised. “Appreciate small things; they happen more often. I go to bed and thank God for another day of life.”
With an eye on the future, there is a second edition in the works titled “Personolly Yours, Too.” Dickinson is still working on it and looks forward to sharing more stories and adventures.