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Childhood friends have lifetime of memories and more to come

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BAXTER — Three childhood friends have gone nearly the full circle of life with each other and their mothers.

The three daughters — Bev Ganske, Carol Blowers and Lonnie Knutson — have known each other for 52 years. Ganske and Knutson met in sixth grade in the Pequot Lakes School District, and Blowers met them in seventh grade.

The three childhood friends, now in their late 60s, have kept in contact their entire lives — sometimes more than other times — and now they have another arrangement that will make their friendship even stronger.

Their mothers live at Excelsior Place in Baxter. Blower’s mother, Mabel Halvorson, 91, has lived at Excelsior for five years; Ganske’s mother, Helen Heino, 89, has lived there for a year; and Knutson’s mother, Rosellyn Knutson, 92, moved to Excelsior in October.

Rosellyn said a big part of her decision to move to Excelsior Place was because of Helen and Mabel.

“It was nice to come here knowing I had friends here,” said Rosellyn. “We’ve known each other for a long time.”

Rosellyn and Helen — back in the

day — worked at the hardware store in Pequot Lakes. Rosellyn’s husband also worked there.

Ganske said when Blower’s mother moved to Excelsior she’d take her mother to Excelsior and the four would have lunch or tea and cookies together. Ganske said besides Excelsior being a nice place to live, her mother decided to live there too because of the friendships.

“I love it that all our moms live here,” said Ganske. “When I come here I get to visit all three moms. It’s nice. We’ll make lunch reservations with our moms and it feels nice that Carol’s and Lonnie’s moms both are so happy to see me when I come. They haven’t gotten sick of me yet.”

Ganske said that the three friends are lucky to still have their mothers, as they have friends who do not have their mothers around anymore.

The childhood friends’ fathers have since passed away.

“It’s just us girls,” said Blowers. “Our moms all worked hard all their lives and now they can just sit here and look pretty and socialize.

“Family is so important to us and we’re lucky to all have each other.”

The childhood friends have many fond memories of their past. Ganske and Knutson recall going into town for a 10 cent coke floats at the drug store in Pequot Lakes.

Knutson and Blowers attended Sunday School together.

The daughters said that they often times did their homework together and they spent a lot of time at the ice rink.

“One time we were all at the hardware store and they gave us a Charmin toilet paper cardboard box,” said Ganske. “We took turns pushing each other in the box. We went from the hardware store to across the street to the ice rink.”

They also remember going out to buy fabric for $1 to create a new skirt for the school dances.

“We always had a new skirt for the dances,” said Ganske. “Everyone also

always thought that we all had so many clothes. But we just always borrowed each others’ clothes. It was so fun.”

Ganske also said, “Carol and I did crazy things together.”

Ganske didn’t share what crazy things they did, but did share a story that in her opinion was the worst thing she did as a child.

“One time in choir I had a cough drop in my mouth and I wasn’t supposed to,” said Ganske. “I had to stay in school for two weeks because of that.”

Helen and the other two moms said their daughters all were, “Good kids.”

Blowers said, “We laughed a lot. When we were at Bev’s house we had to be quiet because her dad worked nights.”

Ganske said, “My dad would take a broom stick and bump it against the register where my room was and tell us to quiet it down.”

Now the three daughters are all at the point in their lives where they are taking care of their mothers.

They’re all busy running their mothers to medical appointment and making sure they have everything they need.

And through it all, the daughters will continue to be friends.

“We’ve never lost our friendship through the years,” said Ganske.

Blowers said, “When we’re together it seems like time has never passed, no matter if it was a long time since we’ve seen each other of a short time.”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889